Jose Mourinho on Steven Gerrard: 'I tried to sign him three times... he is one of my favourite enemies,' says Chelsea boss

Liverpool captain will face Mourinho for the final time on Sunday

Tom Sheen
Friday 08 May 2015 21:12 BST
(Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho has admitted that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has snubbed him three times.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's match against the Reds on Sunday, Mourinho has revealed that he tried to sign the midfielder while in charge at Chelsea in his first spell, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

The Portuguese, who led Chelsea to their fifth title last weekend, says Gerrard is one of his "favourite enemies" and said that if Liverpool choose to do a 'guard of honour', he will honour Steven Gerrard.

"Liverpool is Liverpool - it is a giant club," the Portuguese said.

"If they want to do that (form a guard of honour), obviously my players are going to accept that with respect.

"But speaking about Liverpool and speaking about honouring the champions, this is my time to honour a champion. It is my time to honour Steve Gerrard.

"It is with opponents like him that I am the manager that I am, because I learn with my players and I learn with my best opponents.

"I learn with my players' problems, my players' doubts, my players' qualities and I learn with my best opponent, with the problems they give me - the way they make me think, the way they make me analyse them and studying the best way to play against them.

"Steven Gerrard is for sure one of my favourite enemies - an enemy with all the good feeling I can express with that word in football.

"For sure, in England he is my dear enemy. For sure, he is the one that made me a better manager. To stop him or try and stop him has been very, very difficult."

Mourinho tried to sign Gerrard while at Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid
Mourinho tried to sign Gerrard while at Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid (Getty Images)

Mourinho spoke in the pre-match press conference about the battles he has had over the years with Gerrard - someone he has tried to sign on more than one occasion.

"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," he said.

"I want to honour him and I hope Stamford Bridge has the same feeling as I have, which is we need people like him as our opponents."

Asked whether not managing Gerrard was one of his biggest regrets, Mourinho immediately responded: "No, no. I am very happy that he didn't (leave).

"In the end I think he had an amazing career and (such) an amazing feeling with his people that he refused to play for other big clubs, he refused to play in other big leagues to play only for Liverpool.

"I think this is a feeling that stays forever. Who knows, (maybe) I will play against Steven as a Liverpool manager one day."

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