Ashley Cole has snubbed Jose Mourinho when selecting his favourite Chelsea boss, with Carlo Ancelotti considered to have been the “number one”.
The Blues were transformed into a dominant force domestically and serious contenders on the European stage by the legendary Portuguese coach.
Cole, though, was to move to Stamford Bridge as Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea began to unravel.
Ancelotti, as part of a double triumph, delivered that and Cole believes the Italian is the finest manager he worked with in west London.
An iconic left-back who spent eight years with Chelsea, told the club’s official website when reflecting on his career: “I think the managers who suited my style were more attacking, which is how I had played at Arsenal.
“When [Luiz Felipe] Scolari came in I felt at my best. I felt I blossomed under him and got back to playing with confidence.
“Ancelotti was my number one. We played with tactics, obviously, but he gave you a freedom and I was able to attack. That double season in 2009-10 was probably my best season.
“It was the most I scored in a season, I felt I was unbeatable in defence and was linking up with others well.
“I had a great relationship with Florent Malouda on the left wing, JT [John Terry] next to me and Frank [Lampard] on that left side of the midfield three. I was able to make runs in behind and was always in dangerous spots inside the box.”
Cole, who was a product of Arsenal’s academy system, swapped one London giant for another in the summer of 2006 in a now infamous move.
His decision to leave the Gunners was justified as he went on to collect an impressive trophy haul with the Blues, including a Champions League crown, and a man who has now slipped into retirement is happy with his choice.
“I felt nerves,” Cole added on joining Chelsea.
“I knew a lot of the players, but it was nerve-wracking coming to a new team with a new manager.
“I was excited. It was a tough decision to make at the time, but I was eager to get going. I came to the club a little bit angry inside. I wanted to prove what I was worth, that I was good enough to play at the top and I wanted to keep on winning.
“The Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ team was a team of winners with big personalities. But over time, the big players were leaving - Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp was finishing, Thierry Henry - and I wanted to be around a team that had that will and desire to win.
“I’d played with Frank and John Terry with England, Joe Cole, Wayne Bridge, Shaun Wright-Phillips too, and I liked that mentality. They had won the league back to back and I wanted to be part of it. I was ready for it.”