Chelsea fans will always wonder why Kevin De Bruyne only managed to play in nine matches for them.
The Manchester City ace has been one of the best midfielders in the world for a number of years now and he’s putting together a resume that is approaching – if it’s not already reached – all-time great.
The two-time PFA Player of the Year has been an instrumental figure in City’s rise to true titans under Pep Guardiola, with his goals and assists from midfield helping the club to three Premier League titles since his arrival in 2015.
“What we’ve done when he was fit … he has something unique in the world. We know it. Kevin is an exceptional player.”
De Bruyne shone on Chelsea debut
His performances dating back to his time in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg beg the question: why did Chelsea let him leave?
De Bruyne made just three Premier League appearances for the Blues before he was offloaded to Germany.
The first of those league appearances came in a 2-0 win over Hull City in August 2013. The playmaker produced a fine display, showcasing his attacking threat, and provided an assist for Oscar before coming off.
You can see his highlights from the match here…
Here’s a shorter version of De Bruyne’s performance…
Mourinho: ‘I saw his potential’
It will be hard for any Chelsea fan to watch that footage and understand the decision to let him go.
Jose Mourinho was in charge at the time and the Portuguese coach insists he knew how talented De Bruyne was, but that the Belgium international wanted to leave.
“The story is there and the quality of the player is absolute, he is top five in the world,” Mourinho told talkSPORT in 2021, per City Xtra.
“Sometimes us coaches make mistakes, but that was not the case. I saw he had the potential to do it, but he just knew perfectly well what he wanted.”
However, that desire to leave was seemingly entirely down to De Bruyne’s lack of first-team minutes.
“Jose called me into his office in December, and it was probably the second big life-changing moment for me,” De Bruyne explained to Sky Sports last year, per the Evening Standard.
“He had some papers in front of him, and he said, ‘One assist. Zero goals. Ten recoveries’.
“It took me a minute to understand what he was doing. Then he started reading the stats of the other attacking forwards – Willian, Oscar, [Juan] Mata, [Andre] Schurrle. And it’s like – five goals, 10 assists, whatever.
“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. I was completely honest. I said, ‘I feel like the club doesn’t really want me here. I want to play football. I’d rather you sell me.'”
De Bruyne also admitted he only ever spoke to Mourinho twice.
It certainly seems like most of the blames lies with Mourinho.
Chelsea fans in pain at De Bruyne highlights
Here’s what Chelsea fans had to say about De Bruyne’s debut highlights…