The Portuguese has seen the decision to offload the playmaker in 2014 questioned, but he claims to have always been a big fan
Jose Mourinho has faced plenty of criticism down the years for allowing Kevin De Bruyne to leave Chelsea, but the Portuguese claims he never wanted to sanction a permanent move away from Stamford Bridge for the Belgian.
Back in January 2014, the classy playmaker left west London in an £18 million ($25m) deal with Wolfsburg, having previously caught the eye in Germany during a loan spell at Werder Bremen.
Some 18 months later, De Bruyne was back in England at Manchester City and has gone on to become a Premier League champion, two-time PFA Player of the Year and one of the finest talents in world football during his time in a different shade of blue.
What has been said?
Quizzed on how De Bruyne was allowed to slip Chelsea’s net, Mourinho – who faced accusations of having little faith in players of promise – told talkSPORT: “He impressed me so much 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 Premier League season he started against Hull City.
“In the second match we got to Old Trafford and after this he come to me and said, ‘I want to play every match, I want to play every minute’. He put a lot of pressure on that.
“He wanted to leave, he wanted to go to Germany where he was previously on loan and so happy, and his decision was to go. He put big pressure on that and it worked very well for him.
“The story is there and the quality of the player is absolute, he is top five in the world.”
Mourinho added, with De Bruyne taking in just nine appearances for Chelsea: “When he was supposed to leave on loan and I made the decision for him to stay, I saw those qualities. He did not have the experience and maturity he has now, but his feet and his vision was already there.
“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 the patience.
“He was not ready for that, he was coming from a season in Germany where he was playing every minute of every match.
“Sometimes us coaches make mistakes, but that was not the case. I saw he had the potential to do it, but he just knew perfectly well what he wanted.”
The bigger picture
De Bruyne has become a global superstar during his time with City, much to the annoyance of those in west London that missed an opportunity to benefit from his considerable talent.
He is not the only source of frustration for Chelsea, though, with a number of other proven performers having passed through Stamford Bridge en route to reaching the top.
Mohamed Salah is a fan favourite at Liverpool, but got few opportunities to earn a similar standing at Chelsea.
Romelu Lukaku was also forced to look elsewhere for the opportunities he needed to become one of the best number nines on the planet, with the Belgian now a much sought-after asset at Serie A champions Inter.