“I saw the qualities that he has now.”
Jose Mourinho has opened up on his opinion of Kevin De Bruyne and explained why the Belgian midfielder was allowed to leave Chelsea as a 22-year-old.
Criticism has been aimed at Chelsea for allowing a number of promising players; such as De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku, to move away from Stamford Bridge when all three went on to become top talents.
Mourinho, who was in charge of Chelsea when De Bruyne made his switch to Wolfsburg, has provided some insight into the circumstances surrounding the Belgian’s exit.
“Kevin is an amazing player, in this moment he is one of the best players in the world, no doubt about it,” Mourinho told talkSPORT.
“My story with Kevin was fun and in the end it worked out very well for him, of course.
“I arrived at my second spell at Chelsea and we went to Asia to play some matches and to train, and Kevin was supposed to come with us in a little group of players that were supposed to leave on loan after the tour.
“He impressed me so much that I made the decision, ‘I don’t want this kid to go on loan, I want him to stay’, and in our first match of the season, he started at home against Hull City.
“In the second match we went to Old Trafford and after that, he came to me and said, ‘I want to play every match, I want to play every minute’ and the kid that was supposed to go on loan was not not even happy to stay and to grow up there.
“He put a lot of pressure on himself to leave, he wanted to go to Germany where he was previously on loan and he was so happy developing in the Bundesliga and his decision was to go. He put huge pressure on that, which worked very well for him. In the end Chelsea sold him and the story is there.
“The quality of the player is absolutely amazing, he is in the top five in the world.”
Jose Mourinho on Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne has since developed into one of the most prolific playmakers in world football and he has won three Premier League titles with Manchester City since leaving Chelsea in 2014.
De Bruyne’s Belgium side remain the top-ranked team in world football according to Fifa and they are one of the favourites for Euro 2020 after an impressive group stage.
“When he was supposed to leave on loan and I made the decision for him to stay, I saw the qualities that he has now with, of course, different levels of maturity and efficiency but his two feet and vision were already there,” Mourinho continued.
“But he was not an easy kid, in the sense it was not so easy to communicate with him, he was very clear and it was very difficult to change [his mind].
“He knew very well what he wanted and he was not ready to have that season at Chelsea where a lot of good players were in the same team. He didn’t have that patience to work, to develop, to play, not to play, to start, not to start, to be on the bench, to not be on the bench.
“He was not ready for that, he was coming from a season in Germany where he played basically every minute of every match, and he was not so happy to accept a situation like that.
“Sometimes us coaches make mistakes, and we don’t consider that this player has the potential to do this in the future, but that was not the case.
“I saw he had the potential to do it but he was just a kid who was very clear in his mind. He knew perfectly what he wanted.”