Andreas Christensen ChelseaGetty Images

How Christensen drew Guardiola's interest and rose to become Chelsea's 'Danish Maldini'

Back in 2017, Chelsea supporters on social media responded in fury as Pep Guardiola walked over to a young Andreas Christensen for a post-match debrief.

The content of the conversation has never fully been understood until now, but these chats with opposition players have become commonplace for a manager who many believe is the best in the world.

Ahead of the Champions League final on Saturday against Manchester City, Christensen discussed that chat and much more.

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"We met when I was in Germany, when I was at Gladbach (Borussia Monchengladbach) and when he was at Bayern Munich, and he asked me then if I was happy or whatever," Christensen said. "I told him I was enjoying my football in the Bundesliga, which was great for me because I was 18 years old at that time.

"Then when we met in the Premier League, he asked, 'what about now, are you still happy?' So it wasn't anything really to it. It was great for me as a young player and obviously, I was happy at the time."

The 25-year-old is fiercely loyal to Chelsea. Despite constant interest from other clubs down the years – including AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona – he hasn't come close to leaving Stamford Bridge.

However, there is a high-stakes game around his future at play with contract talks set for in and around the Euros, with the Denmark international entering the last year of his deal.

Both parties will likely come to an agreement with Christensen already living out his dreams in west London. Appreciation is felt by supporters, many of whom now label him the 'Danish Maldini'.

"I have always been taught to look at Italian defenders like [Fabio] Cannavaro growing up so I was always watching them," he added. "They were the ones I watched out for to learn from so for me it is great [to have that nickname].

"I grew up looking at Daniel Agger as a bit of a role model because he went from Brondby to Liverpool early in his career. That was always a hope for young players watching him come through and he was in a Champions League final too with Liverpool.

Andreas Christensen Chelsea Eden Hazard Real Madrid GFXGetty Images

"All these little things as a young player give you motivation. I joined the club in 2012 when they won it which gave me more hope that we could be there. Now, it feels great that we are in it."

Joining Chelsea in 2012 was a bold decision by a young Christensen, coming into a club where no-one since John Terry had truly made it through the academy. Christensen had rejected a host of Europe's superpowers to come to west London.

Aged just 16, the Danish defender joined from his boyhood club Brondby, where his father Sten had played as a goalkeeper. Alongside his Denmark Under-17 peers, he watched Chelsea's first and only Champions League final win in 2012, knowing that he wanted to achieve the same thing.

"I think I had just signed when it happened," Christensen added. "I remember I was with the Danish national youth team and we watched it. Some of the guys were huge Chelsea fans and were watching it in their room.

"I knew I was going to sign and it gave me hope for the future."

Christensen is a calm individual both on and off the pitch and is growing ever more confident having begun to cement his place as a regular starter in Thomas Tuchel's team.

Sadly, a hamstring injury suffered against City at the Etihad Stadium this month not only allowed his rivals to score but also put him at risk of missing the Champions League final.

"'Oh no, what a time for it to go' – that was my initial thought," Christensen said of the injury. "In the days after when we had the scan, it showed it wasn't too bad. So it was just counting the days."

Though he hasn't played since suffering the injury, Christensen is feeling confident that he'll be able to contribute in the final in Porto. 

"The plan was always to get back this week and maybe get a few minutes before the final," he said. "But fortunately, it didn't take more time than we expected.

"I think after being given more games in a row, I feel more confident. And the timing of the injury was a bit rubbish but I feel great and I have not been out too long, so as soon as I get games, I feel confident and my game picks up again.

"I feel like I am getting close but I still think I can get better than I have been. I play more and get more fit if that makes sense. I've been playing a lot and growing a lot."