The Belgian international has come a long way since his forgettable time at Chelsea where he made only nine appearances over two seasons. Kevin De Bruyne was bought from Genk, his boyhood club, in 2012 where he broke into the first team at the tender age of 17.
However, a severe lack of game time with the Blues forced him to join German outfit Wolfsburg where he could finally showcase his world-class talent. Kevin De Bruyne went onto score 10 goals and provide 20 assists for Wolfsburg in the 2014-15 season before Premier League giants Manchester City came calling.
The current English champions paid a hefty £55 million to land the Belgian in the summer of 2016 making him their then-most expensive transfer. Now under the mentorship of Pep Guardiola, Kevin De Bruyne has become one of the best attacking midfielders on the planet.
But the Belgian insists that his horrid time at Chelsea provided him with important lessons for the remainder of his career. He recalled a strange meeting with Mourinho during his time at Chelsea highlighting his sour relationship with the former Manchester United manager.
“There was so much in the press about my relationship with Jose Mourinho,” Kevin De Bruyne wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “But the truth is that I only ever spoke to him twice. The plan was always for me to go on loan for a bit.”
“Jose called me into his office in December, and it was probably the second big life-changing moment for me. He had some papers in front of him, and he said, ‘One assist. Zero goals. Ten recoveries’.”
“It took me a minute to understand what he was doing,” Kevin De Bruyne continued. “Then he started reading the stats of the other attacking forwards – Willian, Oscar, Mata, Schürrle. And it’s like – five goals, 10 assists, whatever.”
“Jose was just kind of waiting for me to say something, and finally I said, ‘But… some of these guys have played 15, 20 games. I’ve only played three. So it’s going to be different, no?’” Kevin De Bruyne wrote.
“It was so strange. I was completely honest. I said, ‘I feel like the club doesn’t really want me here. I want to play football. I’d rather you sell me.’”
Mourinho froze Kevin De Bruyne out of the first team, and the Belgian was eventually sold to Wolfsburg for £18 million in 2014.
Having won the award for Premier League’s Playmaker of the Season last year, and leading his team to a historic “centurion” season, De Bruyne has definitely put behind his dark Chelsea days under Jose Mourinho.