Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas says he owes Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho a debt of gratitude for handing him a second chance in English football.
But the Spain international is hoping to help spoil Mourinho’s day on Saturday, when the Blues take on United in the FA Cup final, according to Sky Sports.
Win or lose at Wembley, Fabregas says he is full of admiration for the man who signed him for Chelsea in 2014, bringing him back to England from Barcelona, after an earlier spell with Arsenal.
The pair went on enjoy title success that season – with Fabregas registering a league-leading 18 assists.
And, ahead of his reunion with Mourinho, the 31-year-old said: “I love him, I always say that.
“I owe him a lot because he brought me here, I will always remember that.
“My first year here, (former Arsenal manager) Arsene (Wenger) had always treated me like a son. But the closest anyone has been to him was Jose.
“The way he treated me, the way he made me feel, how he let me be a leader of the team from day one.
“This was fantastic and, in all the four years since I joined Chelsea now, they will always stay with me.
“This experience is thanks to him.”
Fabregas has spent a large part of his career in opposition to Mourinho – the early years of his stint at Arsenal coincided with Mourinho’s arrival as manager of Chelsea, while he was also part of a Barcelona side which battled for Spanish supremacy with Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
“We have our history between us,” Fabregas added. “I played for Arsenal and him at Chelsea. Barcelona, with him Real Madrid.
“We were confronting each other, but then we humbled ourselves and started a good relationship.
“This is very nice but hopefully it will not be his day (on Saturday) and Chelsea can win.
“Anything can happen really. Last year everyone was saying Chelsea will win it and we played one of our worst games of last season (and lost to Arsenal).
“Mourinho prepares finals very well and I am sure Antonio (Conte) will do the same.”