Wayne Bridge has lifted the lid on what Roman Abramovich is really like, saying “he would have loved to have been one of the lads”.
Bridge, 40, donned the colours of Chelsea between 2003 and 2009, winning all three of English football’s major domestic trophies in that time, but the former England international struggled to hold down a consistent first-team berth.
In five years at Stamford Bridge, the Southampton-born left-back featured just 87 times in the Premier League, subsequently securing a move to Manchester City in 2009, a period in which the club were experiencing the formative stages of Sheikh Mansour’s buyout.
Star-studded names from far and wide have relocated to the Etihad in the 10 or so years since Abu Dhabi royalty pitched up in the North West of England, but Bridge was among the first wave of new recruits to mark the start of that power-shifting takeover.
Bridge has since revealed what Abramovich really thought of the full-back switching allegiances, suggesting he joked that the only reason he joined City was for the money.
On Abramovich’s reaction, Bridge told Goal: “We met shortly after the transfer. He joked that I only moved to City because of the money!”
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“He enjoyed being in the dressing room with us players”
Delving a little further into the character of Chelsea’s owner, Bridge also revealed that Abramovich relishes the camaraderie among players in the dressing room.
He said: “Roman loves Chelsea. He enjoyed being in the dressing room with us players.
“He would have loved to have been one of the lads. When he didn’t have time because of other obligations and we hadn’t seen him in a long time, we were always worried about him.
“He is very nice and down to earth despite all his money. In public, Roman likes to pretend he doesn’t speak English but he is actually good to talk to.
“When the players were on vacation back then and he happened to be in the area, he always contacted us. Once I was in the south of France at the same time as him so he invited me in to eat with him.”