Kolkata, May 18: Ahead of FA Cup final, Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has shown his admiration for his former Blues boss Jose Mourinho and claimed he owes the current Manchester United manager a debt of gratitude for giving him a second chance in English football.
Fabregas initially flourished under Arsene Wenger after the latter poached him from Barcelona in his teenage days.
But after spending eight years with Gunners, Fabregas again went to boyhood side Barcelona. But his Catalan stint lasted just three years as the Spaniard boarded the ship back to England.
But at that time, Arsenal's arch-rival Chelsea and their then manager Jose Mourinho came forward to acquire the player.
And since his arrival, the Spanish international has become a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge. The 31-year-old in his four year's stay at Premier League already has won two league titles and one EFL cup.
And on this Saturday, Fabregas will get another shot at glory when his side will face Manchester United in FA Cup final.
Since leaving Chelsea, Mourinho's love affair with United has not gone down well as it now seems there is little love lost between many Chelsea fans and the Portuguese manager, who is the most successful in Chelsea’s history.
But to Fabregas, his former manager is still a special person as he waxed eloquent on the time he spent under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
"I love him," Fabregas was quoted as saying in the British media. "I owe him a lot because he brought me here and I'll always remember that.
"Arsene always treated me like a son and it was amazing, but the closest anyone else has been to him was Jose.
"The way he treated me, the way he made me feel, how he let me be a leader of the Chelsea team from day one and believed in me, this was fantastic and will always stay with me.
"It (experience at Chelsea) is thanks to him. Our history, what had happened between us before I came, made it even more remarkable.
"When I played for Arsenal, he was with Chelsea. When I was at Barcelona, he was with Real Madrid. We were confronting each other, but then we humbled ourselves and started a good relationship.”
Chelsea finished fifth in Premier League, outside UEFA Champions league spot whereas United finished second in the league. But both the teams failed to win any silverware this season and the FA Cup will be their last chance of earning a trophy this season.
In the last meeting between these two at Old Trafford, United beat Chelsea 2-1, with Lukaku scoring one and assisting another. But the Belgian striker has been sidelined with injury for the last three weeks and is a doubtful starter for the match at Wembley.