Cesc Fabregas gave his first interview as a Chelsea player to the club's in-house TV station and in it he revealed that Jose Mourinho convinced him to join by opting to visit him instead of attending the final match of his son's football season.
"Once I spoke to the boss — to Jose, when he came on a Sunday afternoon, missing his son's final game — came to see me instead of watching him, so I know he made a great effort," Fabregas said with the hint of a smile. "He told me exactly what he wanted from me. He gave me a lift, he made me believe that he wanted me in a very good way, so all of the things together, I became sure that that was the best option for me."
Mourinho and his son, Jose Jr., are very close. The Chelsea manager even included a special thanks to his 14-year-old, who was a regular at Stamford Bridge throughout the season, in his final program notes of the last campaign. So it seems Fabregas took this as a high compliment.
Mourinho told his version of how Chelsea landed the former Arsenal captain a few days earlier. From the Guardian:
“I spoke with him for 20 minutes,” Mourinho said, speaking in his role as a football expert and ambassador for BT Sport. “I think he really wanted to come to us. As you know Arsenal had an option where they could interfere but I think he was not open to that. He was very much in our direction. It was an easy job for me.”
Note that he calls Arsenal's right to first refusal, as stipulated in Fabregas' contract when he first moved from London to Barcelona, "an option where they could interfere."
Mourinho has a history of winning his players' affection through meaningful gestures, though. As former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard tells it, he first gained the extra confidence necessary to become a champion when Mourinho told him he was the best player in the world while he was in the shower.
From the Daily Mail:
‘I have never had a manager who, while I’m standing in the shower cleaning my balls, tells me I’m the best player in the world. He did that. I’ll never forget it. So casual. “You’re the best player in the world, but you need to win titles”.
‘From that moment the extra confidence was in me. Not that I thought I was the best player in the world, but the manager who had just won the Champions League thought it. So I went out a different player.’
And that's what Cesc Fabregas now has to look forward to.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Cesc Fabregas
- Jose Mourinho