Former Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has opened up about his struggles while playing for the Red Devils.
Bailly has admitted that his injury issues left him feeling “helpless” and “worthless” during his time at Old Trafford.
Speaking to The Athletic, Bailly mentioned how when Mourinho first called him to sign for United he thought it was a prank.
He said: “A Portuguese number [rang my phone]. ‘It’s Mourinho’, said the voice at the other end. ‘Do you want to play for me at Manchester United?’
“I felt like I was hallucinating. I thought it was a guy just trying to annoy me, to make a joke. Who believes Mourinho is calling them?
“‘I said he needed to prove it was him by calling on video. This is what he did. It was Mourinho and he said he wanted me to go to Manchester. I did. I signed for the biggest club in the world.”
The defender also opened up about how the 15 separate injuries he suffered when at United destroyed his confidence and ultimately led to United being keen to see the back of him.
“You feel helpless because you can’t change anything when you’re injured.
“You don’t want to feel worthless but that’s exactly what you feel. You want to get back training but at the biggest clubs there’s huge competition.”
Bailly still fondly remembers his time at Manchester United.
He added: “I got on with the boys I played with.
“I saw a lot of Victor Lindelof. He lived one minute from my house and spoke Spanish. Harry Maguire was tranquil. I’m glad he’s playing well now; he’s a strong character and he had a difficult time with the English media.
“Cristiano Ronaldo returned, the legend coming back. He was the best player in the world for me. Even when he returned, Cristiano contributed a lot to the club and a player like Cristiano deserves to feel important. It’s a shame he left in the circumstances he did.”