Chelsea star Nemanja Matic has paid tribute to three former Blues legends as helping turn him into the player he is today, the Daily Express reports.
The giant Serbian international first made the move to Stamford Bridge in 2009 in a £1.5m move from MFK Kosice, but a long term injury restricted him to making just two Premier League appearances.
He then spent some time on loan with feeder club Vitesse Arnhem before being included in the deal that took David Luiz to west London from Portuguese giants Benfica.
However, Jose Mourinho then paid Benfica £21m to bring him back in 2014, before turning him into an established Premier League heavyweight.
And speaking with the club’s official website, the 26-year-old explained how training with Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Michael Ballack during his first stint with the club helped him on his path to becoming a world class footballer.
“When you come to Chelsea, you are at the top level and, if you are playing here, you know the best players in the world are with you,” he said.
“I learned a lot in my first time here – just to train with midfielders like Lampard, Essien and Ballack, you learn a lot. I was very young when I first came here and I was injured for five months as well, so I think the players here helped me a lot at that time.”
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