As Mohamed Salah prepares to face Jose Mourinho with Liverpool on Saturday, we pick out the best players the Portuguese manager originally deemed not good enough…
Mourinho has enjoyed success across Europe since steering Porto to the Champions League trophy in 2004, winning trophies at Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and now Manchester United, but the Special One has shown the door to a number of top-class players along the way.
Salah is one of them. The Egyptian was given minimal playing time by Mourinho during his spell at Chelsea before being sold permanently to Roma in 2016. At Anfield on Saturday, he will be eager to prove a point to the Manchester United manager.
From Romelu Lukaku to Filipe Luis, here are the top 10 players who went on to shine after being rejected by Mourinho.
Mourinho and Lukaku have been reunited to devastating effect this season, with the £75m striker spearheading Manchester United’s attack and scoring 11 goals in his first 10 appearances.
But it was a very different story three years ago, when Lukaku was forced to leave Mourinho’s Chelsea for Everton in search of regular playing time.
The Belgium was only given two appearances by Mourinho during his time at Stamford Bridge, but went on to score 87 goals in 166 appearances for Everton, persuading the Portuguese to come back in for him in the summer.
Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City needed to part with £54.5m to bring De Bruyne back to the Premier League, just one season after his permanent move to Wolfsburg from Chelsea under Mourinho.
Mourinho labelled De Bruyne “an upset kid” and criticised his efforts in training. Despite playing the midfielder in the first three Premier League games of Chelsea’s 2013-14 season, De Bruyne was sold for £18m to Wolfsburg in the same month.
De Bruyne registered 18 assists in the 2016-17 campaign for Pep Guardiola’s side, more than any other player in the top flight, and he has started the new campaign in similar style.
Juventus centre-back Bonucci was deemed surplus to requirements by Mourinho at Inter Milan before going on to win six Serie A titles with Juve. Mourinho allowed the then 22-year-old to leave the San Siro in 2009 for a meagre £3.4m.
Bonucci, 30, was coveted by a number of top clubs this summer before eventually opting to join Juve’s Serie A rivals AC Milan.
Bertrand, 27, spent much of his early 20s on loan away from Stamford Bridge, but despite starting in Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Bayern Munich in 2012, Mourinho allowed the England left-back to leave permanently for Southampton in 2014.
Chelsea’s two-time Player of the Year, Mata, was soon usurped by Oscar after Mourinho’s return to the club at the end of the season. He then allowed the Spaniard to join rivals Manchester United in the following January transfer window.
Mata became an important figure for United, and that remains the case now that he is working with Mourinho again. The 29-year-old has started six of their first seven Premier League games this season, scoring his first goal of the campaign against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Mourinho allowed David Luiz to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2014 for a £50m fee just a month before a horror show in Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, justifying the then Chelsea manager’s decision.
Luiz has flourished since returning to the club under different management, though, and is now dubbed an Antonio Conte masterstroke following Chelsea’s Premier League title win in May.
Salah was signed by Chelsea under Mourinho’s watch but he was given few opportunities before being loaned out to Fiorentina and Roma.
He shone in Serie A, scoring 15 goals and claiming 11 assists last season at Roma and persuading Liverpool to pay £34m for his signature.
The Egyptian has made an impressive start at Anfield, too, scoring four goals and providing one assist in his first seven Premier League appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Southampton player was just 23 when he was allowed to leave Stamford Bridge for less than £6m under Mourinho in 2015, but has become a dominant midfield force at St Mary’s.
Andre Villas-Boas said Romeu had a “brilliant future” when he was unveiled at Stamford Bridge alongside Lukaku in 2011 after leaving Barcelona, and former Saints boss Claude Puel claimed the 25-year-old is “not far off” the level of PFA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante.
Allowed to leave Real Madrid under Mourinho at the age of 24, Argentina international Garay impressed at Benfica and earned a big-money move back to La Liga with Valencia in 2016.
The centre-back is a key player at the Mestalla and was touted as a possible Chelsea transfer target this summer, according to reports in Italy.
Filipe Luis was signed by Mourinho after his solid displays in Atletico Madrid’s La Liga-winning campaign in 2013-14, but only spent one season at Stamford Bridge before returning to his old side having made just 15 appearances for the Blues.
The Brazilian picked up where he left off at the Vicente Calderon, though, making 48 appearances for the Spanish side in the 2016-17 season as Atleti reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and once again boasted the best defensive record in the Spanish top flight ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid.