Kevin De Bruyne
has revealed he only spoke to Jose Mourinho
twice during his two-year spell at Chelsea
The Belgian described the move as a 'dream come true' after signing a five-and-a-half-year deal in January 2012, only to see the doomed spell at Stamford Bridge end after just nine appearances.
Signed then for just £6.5million, De Bruyne has since gone on to establish himself as one of Europe's best players and his rise was clear when he returned to England with Manchester City in a £54m deal in 2016.
'When I was at Chelsea, there was so much in the press about my relationship with Jose Mourinho,' De Bruyne told 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.'
De Bruyne, then a 20-year-old, found himself competing with Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Brazilian international Oscar for a spot in the attacking triumvirate behind the striker in Mourinho's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
With opportunities limited upon arrival in west London, De Bruyne was sent to Germany on loan where he began to impress for Werder Bremen.
Ten goals and 10 assists for Bremen after 34 matches had seen his stock rise, particularly in the Bundesliga, and despite returning to Chelsea, there was interest in him making a return to Germany if chances under Mourinho were to be limited.
'(Jurgen) Klopp wanted me to come to Borussia Dortmund, and they played the kind of football that I enjoy,' the Belgian added.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE'S TIME AT CHELSEA
: 425 minutes
'So I thought maybe Chelsea would let me go. But then Mourinho texted me, "You are staying. I want you to be part of this team." So I thought, O.K., great. I'm in his plans.'
De Bruyne describes how the atmosphere felt good for him returning having impressed out on loan and he went on to start two of the first four Premier League games in 2013-14.
But he would soon follow a familiar path of feeling ostracised and opportunities severely limited and Mourinho called him into his office in the December of that year.
He revealed: '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?"
'It was so strange. We had a bit of a conversation about me going back out on loan. And (Juan) Mata was also out of favour at the time, so Jose said, "Well, you know, if Mata leaves, then you will be the fifth choice instead of sixth."'
De Bruyne, two years after signing a five-year contract with the Blues, was sold back to Germany for £17m to Wolfsburg.
He continued to develop as he was trusted to be a regular starter and his stock accelerated to the point where he was sold for £54m to Manchester City where he has continued to enhance his reputation.
A key cog in Pep Guardiola's side, De Bruyne now has 40 goals and 62 assists in a City shirt with Chelsea now left to rue an expensive mistake in letting him leave.