Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to Steven Gerrard, and believes he may yet come face-to-face with the Liverpool legend again in the future.
If selected, the Reds captain will form part of the guard of honour to welcome Chelsea’s champions on to the Stamford Bridge pitch when the two clubs meet on Sunday afternoon. This is likely to be a painful experience for the visitors who narrowly lost out on the title last season, and particularly so for Gerrard who has spent his entire career at Anfield yet has never won the crown.
Had Mourinho had his way, the midfielder would have joined his Blues side during his first spell in the capital, when the player considered a transfer before deciding to remain with his boyhood club. Indeed, the Portuguese coach is such a fan of the 34-year-old, he has also revealed that he also tried to sign him whilst in charge of Internazionale and Real Madrid, only to be rejected.
Gerrard will leave Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the current season, having already decided to join LA Galaxy in the MLS. Mourinho has used Sunday’s match as an opportunity to pay tribute to the Reds legend, but he has also suggested that he could yet come face-to-face with him again in the future should the player decide to take the route into management.
“Steven Gerrard is for sure one of my favourite enemies – an enemy with all the good feeling I can express with that word in football,” said Mourinho. “For sure, in England he is my dear enemy. To stop him or try and stop him has been very, very difficult. I tried to bring him to Chelsea, I tried to bring him to Inter, I tried to bring him to Real Madrid but he was always a dear enemy.
“For sure, he is the one who has made me a better manager. In the end I think he had an amazing career and (such) an amazing feeling with his people that he refused to play for other big clubs – he refused to play in other big leagues to play only for Liverpool. I think this is a feeling that stays forever. Who knows, (maybe) I will play against Steven as a Liverpool manager one day.”
Chelsea sealed the title by beating Crystal Palace last weekend, and now Liverpool will be hoping the Eagles bounce back when they take on Manchester United on Saturday night. A win for Louis van Gaal’s side at Selhurst Park would mean Brendan Rodgers’ side would realistically need to beat the champions to stand a chance of overtaking the men from Old Trafford for a top-four finish.
Although he will always maintain he has no regrets, do you think Steven Gerrard privately rues not joining Jose Mourinho and Chelsea a decade ago?