Although they never got the pleasure of working together, Steven Gerrard and Jose Mourinho have formed a surprisingly close relationship over the years.
It was the Portuguese who came ever so close to coaxing the midfielder away from Liverpool in 2005 in what would have surely been a career-defining transfer to Chelsea. The England international had handed in a transfer request and a £32m bid had been accepted.
Gerrard eventually opted to stay at Anfield, but a friendship with the Portuguese had been set in stone and they retained that close bond to this day. But just how strong is it? The LA Galaxy star has just told us.
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Speaking on the Clare Balding Show, Gerrard described the moment he received a heartfelt letter from the Chelsea manager and revealed that same letter now has 'pride of place' on the wall in his home.
The letter had been handed to him by John Terry after a charity match, but it wasn't until he got home that he opened it and realised it was from the very man he had turned down.
"It was a very touching message," Gerrard said. "The letter is now in a frame, in pride of place in my house, that's what it means to me - and it was a nice touch which shows what he gives to players off the pitch - even players who have been a rival and who have turned him down on two or three occasions!
"He's still humble enough and a gentleman to take the time to write me a letter."
Third time's a charm
Unfortunately for Mourinho, Gerrard's time at the top of the game is over and it is virtually impossible to see the pair ever working together – at least in a player/manager combination.
But it was not through lack of trying as Mourinho admitted earlier this year. The Special One revealed earlier this year that he had approached the former Liverpool captain on three separate occasions while managing Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
"I tried to bring him to Chelsea, I tried to bring him to Inter (Milan), I tried to bring him to Real Madrid but he was always a dear enemy," Mourinho said in May.
The Clare Balding Show airs on BT Sport 1 on Thursday, 8pm
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