Joe Cole has opened up on his first ever meeting with Carlo Ancelotti – which resulted in them drinking brandy together into the early hours.
Ancelotti took charge of Chelsea from interim manager Guus Hiddink in 2009 and led the Blues to a sensational Premier League-FA Cup double in his debut season.
The legendary Italian may have been dismissed after his second campaign having narrowly missed out on another league title, but many consider this to be a harsh decision by Stamford Bridge chiefs.
Cole played an integral role in the doubling-winning season and claims Ancelotti was “loved” universally by the dressing room.
The former Chelsea playmaker also explained how his strong bond with the manager began under amusing circumstances at their very first meeting.
Speaking to his ex-England teammate on Jamie Carragher’s The Greatest Game podcast, Cole said: “When he first arrived we had a team meal and I was late for it and there was only one seat next to the gaffer.
“You walk in and you’re like, ‘Oh s*** I have to sit next to the gaffer’. And I see all the lads not knowing what to do and straight away he’s given me a shot of grappa.
“I thought, well this is a test. So I did the shot, cheers boss, bang. I did it and he just poured another one for me. We were just doing shots of grappa all night me and Carlo.”
Cole has also spoken at length about the hostile atmosphere created by one of Ancelotti’s predecessors at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho.
The 39-year-old claims Ancelotti’s style could not have been more different the the Portuguese’s, adding: “He (Ancelotti) embraced us and the lads loved him.
“Completely the opposite to Jose. Even when he left me out of teams, I still loved him. He had a brilliant way about it.”
The Toffees showed signs of progress during his tenure without tearing up trees, but they were left high and dry as Ancelotti moved back to Real Madrid this summer.
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Los Blancos were in the market for a new manager following Zinedine Zidane’s exit and Ancelotti could not pass up the chance of a second sell at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Italian won the Champions League and Copa del Rey during his two-year stint in the Spanish capital between 2013 and 2015.
He will be desparate to win La Liga in his second term, which would mean he has won league titles as a manager in each of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues.