Bayern Munich attacker Arjen Robben has hailed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal as “important” influences in his career.
The Netherlands international worked under the Portuguese coach during his time at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2007, but was eventually allowed to leave to join Real Madrid.
Robben has since gone on to become one of the best attackers in the world, though, and he has no hard feelings toward his former mentor.
“Mourinho was very fair, very good,” the Bayern star told Daily Mail.
“The only problem was the injuries. He could not count on me. It was frustrating for both of us and it became difficult. But in a football point of view, he was very important. He helped me mentally.
“I think I had a positive development at Chelsea. I was very young when I arrived, only 20, and the problem I had was injuries.
“At the time, you hear people say you are made of glass. I was angry because I felt like I was always having to defend myself. I know now something was wrong with my body.
“I’m a very explosive player and need everything to be right. I started working with an osteopath the last year I was in Madrid and have stayed with him. I have control of my body now and know when I can ‘go’.”
Robben worked with Van Gaal at Bayern and Netherlands’ national team, having played a key role in guiding the Oranje to third place in the 2014 World Cup and has a lot to thank the 63-year-old for.
“From the first day Van Gaal made me feel important. He gave me an important role and I had a great first year. I am very thankful to him.
“He is a coach who makes individual players better. That is rare nowadays.
“I have a lot of confidence he will be a success at United. He needs time to build his team. When he qualifies for the Champions League – and he has a realistic chance of winning the FA Cup – if that happens, he has had a great season.”
The Dutchman then went on to voice his admiration for his current coach at Bayern, Pep Guardiola.
“I’ve had the privilege to work with a lot of great coaches and Guardiola is certainly one of them. I’m 31 but over the last 18 months I feel I’ve made steps forward.
“He is just crazy about football. In my first conversation with him he told me it was important I started to enjoy football. He didn’t want me to relax but to appreciate what was in front of me. He said: ‘Enjoy football, enjoy your life’. Straight away he gave me confidence.”