It’s no secret that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is a firm admirer of ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
But then again, which manager isn’t?
It’s also no secret that Mourinho tried to recruit Gerrard during his first stint as Chelsea boss. But as the former player puts it, there were several other attempts.
Speaking at an event in Belfast called ‘Steven Gerrard Live’ (via the Mirror), the new Reds academy coach was asked how close he came to signing for the Blues 13 years ago.
“It depends how close, close is!” he replied. “Of course there was a lot of speculation around 2004/2005.
“He tried to sign me probably about five or six times during my career. Twice at Chelsea, he tried to sign me at Inter Milan and for Real Madrid as well.
“I could have gone and played for him at different teams but I never did.”
Back then, it was reported that Gerard wasn’t far from or averse to the Chelsea move. However, he managed to stay put, only leaving the Reds in 2015 for the L.A Galaxy when his career was almost over.
He has since returned to coach the club’s Under-18s and is working closely with Jurgen Klopp, whom he describes as the most demanding manager in world football.
“He is a very demanding manager,” Gerrard added. “I think he is different to all the other managers.
“What struck me first about Jurgen was the demands. He is a manager who won’t do it any other way except his way. I think the players are playing for the most demanding manager in world football.
“There’s no negotiables when it comes down to hard work and running and winning your own individual battles.
“If you aren’t prepared to go in where it hurts for this manager you won’t be around for very long.”