“Why bring me here not to play?”
Filipe Luis is known to most for his time as an Atletico Madrid player. With almost 350 appearances across two spells, the Brazilian full-back Luis established himself as one of the most important players in Atleti’s recent history.
In the Spanish capital, he won a La Liga title, two Europa Leagues and helped Diego Simeone’s side to two Champions League finals.
Inbetween his two stints at Atletico, however, was a solitary season at Chelsea.
Signed by Jose Mourinho in 2014, on the back of his performances in Atletico’s title-winning season, Luis was recruited as a replacement for Ashley Cole.
A year later, though, Luis was gone, returning to Atletico after failing to hold down a place in Mourinho’s side.
And, as Atletico and Chelsea prepare to meet in the Champions League last-16, Luis has opened up about his struggles under Mourinho during a disappointing campaign at Stamford Bridge.
“I haven’t told anyone this but the first game I knocked on [José] Mourinho’s door,” Luis told The Guardian.
“‘Can I talk to you?’ ‘Come in.’ ‘Why did you bring me here? You took me from a place I was happy, where I played every week. You signed me to play. And the first day against Burnley I’m on the bench.
“‘Why not leave me at Atlético? Why bring me here not to play?’ He said he didn’t think I was playing well and [Cesar] Azpilicueta was, that he didn’t feel as secure with me.
“I had to win my place; I couldn’t expect to be first choice on reputation. And looking back, he was right.”
Luis felt that after a slow start to life at Chelsea, his form began to pick up around the festive period. However, despite having played in both of the Blues’ League Cup semi-finals against Liverpool, he was benched for the final against Tottenham.
After that, the South American decided he’d had enough of Chelsea.
“I decided I wanted to leave,” added the 35-year-old, who now plays for Brazilian side Flamengo after leaving Atleti in 2019.
Really, really enjoyed talking to the fascinating @filipeluis about … well, about everything really. Chelsea, Atlético, Simeone, Mourinho, Hazard, Salah and Michael Caine. Here’s the interview. https://t.co/fUb1KOLTuk
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) February 22, 2021
“I played every game: against all the smaller teams, the two semis, and when I didn’t play the final, I felt …” He does air quotes. “…‘betrayed’, for want of a better word.”
While Luis felt as though he deserved to play in the final, he admits that Mourinho did not ‘abandon’ him and that he admires the Portuguese coach’s competitiveness.
“No [Mourinho didn’t apologise], we won.
“Out of respect, I thought I should have played but he picked a team to win and we won. So I have no right to say anything and he has no need to say anything.
“Mourinho’s tremendously competitive, which is what makes him great. The team fit together without me. And he didn’t abandon me: he always sent Rui Faria to talk to me and I never went 10 games without playing.
“It might look like we fell out but I admire him. I won the league with him. But he didn’t get the best out of me, just as he didn’t with [Mohamed] Salah.”