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José Mourinho - Chelsea: 'Derlei was my most important player'

José Mourinho has managed many star players in his time as a manager but feels the most important of any of these is Brazilian striker Derlei.

Derlei was part of the União de Leiria squad when Mourinho became manager of the club in 2001. Mourinho was so impressed with the striker that he brought the player with him to FC Porto in 2002.

Mourinho would go on to become one of the best managers of all time but would never forget Derlei's contribution.

"A few weeks ago I received in London, the visit of Derlei, and told him I had many important players in my career, but, maybe, he was the most striking, because it was him who jumped from Leiria to Porto."

Derlei scored in the UEFA Cup final in 2003 and also won a Champions League winner medal the year after. Once Mourinho left Porto the player would never capture the same form and gradually drifted into obscurity. But he will always have a place in José's heart.

"They were fantastic times in my career, that pushed me to another dimension. Derlei helped me in that and I will always be thankful."

Derlei e Mourinho se abraçam após conquista de título com o Porto em Portugal


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