Cesc Fabregas has admitted he never would have dreamed of working under Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho five years ago.
The Spanish international joined the Blues over the summer from Barcelona for a fee of around £30 million, putting pen to paper on a five-year deal worth a reported £200,000-per-week.
The move came as something of a surprise given Fabregas' at-times fractious relationship with Mourinho. The midfielder told his future boss to "shut up' after he had criticised Barcelona's performances in the Champions League last term before telling him to 'mind his own business'.
The Special One's brand of win-at-all-cost football also seemed to be at odds with Fabregas' tiki-taka upbringing at Barcelona, however after Arsenal failed to make their move he arrived at Chelsea in June.
Speaking in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Fabregas admitted that he never would have envisaged a time where he would be linking up with Mourinho at Chelsea.
[If you’d told me five years ago that I would play for Chelsea and Mourinho] I would not have believed you," he said. "but life changes.
"I started to think about [leaving Barca] after the Copa del Rey final. It was when I started to think that it had finished, that there was a change or that I didn’t want to continue."
Before his move to Chelsea it had been suggested that he could be on his way to Manchester United, while Arsenal had a first-refusal clause put in his contract when he left the Gunners to join Barcelona in 2011.
Despite the perceived animosity between Fabregas and Mourinho, the former Arsenal man says a conversation with the manager was enough to convince him to head to Stamford Bridge.
"I told the club the week after losing the title [to Atletico Madrid], from London, in the week off before the World Cup. I called Zubizarreta – and, from the response, I felt that I had done them a favour, that it was good for them and for me.
"I spoke with my agent and told him to find me a team. Chelsea’s offer arrived and for me it was about returning to London, the place where I did best. There was no better exit. I spoke with Mourinho and he told me things that I needed to hear, I felt valued, felt that I was going to be part of something important."
Fabregas was one of four new summer arrivals at Stamford Bridge over the summer, with Filipe Luis and Diego Costa following him from Spain and Loic Remy arriving from QPR on deadline day.
So far Chelsea have enjoyed a strong start to the season, winning all three of their Premier League encounters to put them top of the table.