Kevin De Bruyne admits to having endured a “distant” relationship with Jose Mourinho during a forgettable stint at Chelsea, with the pair only speaking on two occasions.
The Belgian midfielder was taken to Stamford Bridge in 2012 after making the breakthrough in his homeland with Genk.
He was considered to be an exciting talent, but was restricted to just nine appearances for the Blues before leaving to rebuild his career in Germany with Wolfsburg.
De Bruyne is now back in England and leading Manchester City’s Premier League title charge, with the 26-year-old having offered the perfect response to Mourinho and those who doubted him.
He told The Premier League Show when asked to describe his relationship with a former boss in west London: “I would say, distant.
“I’m not really somebody who speaks a lot with coaches. I think if the coach wants to speak with you, then you just do it. He’s the boss, you can be good with each other but there’s still a distance between a coach and a player.
“I only spoke with him twice, that’s when I wanted to leave to Dortmund at the beginning of the summer and the second meeting I just said: ‘For me it’s better to go, I want to play football’.”
De Bruyne was eventually granted that wish, with one-and-a-half seasons at Wolfsburg seeing him offer enough to tempt City into a £55 million move.
A second spell in England has proved to be far more productive than his first, with nobody able to match his top tier assist haul since 2015.
He has created another 15 Premier League goals this term, along with seven efforts of his own, and is a leading contender for the PFA Player of the Year award alongside Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.
De Bruyne added on the consistency he has found in his game: “I feel very happy about it.
“My feeling is that I’ve constantly been playing good. In my feeling, this year there’s not been a lot of games where I’ve been a little bit down.
“It’s always been a seven out of 10 or sometimes a little bit better.
“It helps when you win that many games with a team and you only lose one.”
City and De Bruyne can wrap up the Premier League title this weekend with a derby victory over arch-rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.