Jose Mourinho says failure to sign Steven Gerrard for Chelsea in 2005 is one of his greatest transfer disappointments.
Mourinho was close to taking Gerrard to Stamford Bridge during his first spell in charge but the former England captain chose to stay at Anfield.
The 34-year-old will leave Liverpool this summer, when he ends a 17-year career in red by joining Los Angeles Galaxy, and ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Anfield in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final, Mourinho spoke of how he wanted Gerrard as part of a ‘dream’ midfield at the Blues.
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"He (Gerrard) is a historical player for Liverpool, a historical player for the Premier League and an opponent I have always admired and respected," Mourinho said.
"We did everything to try (to sign him) and it was almost there. I was dreaming of (Claude) Makelele, Gerrard and (Frank) Lampard in midfield.
"We were playing in a proper triangle without a number 10 and playing Maka in front of the defenders. Me, Mr Abramovich and (former Chelsea chief executive) Peter Kenyon at that time, we dreamed of that.
"His people were open to him joining a top side like Chelsea. But to me personally he never said he would come. Never.
"He (Gerrard) was always a red and I think the decision was right."
Asked if Gerrrard's decision to stay at Liverpool was his biggest disappointment in the transfer market, Mourinho said: "Yes, but I have another one when I was trying Lampard to Inter.
"I was almost there and it didn't happen too. I had a couple of disappointments and that's normal in football."
Gerrard's slip against Chelsea at Anfield last season proved decisive in the title race as it led to Demba Ba’s goal in a 2-0 win for Mourinho's men which paved the way for Manchester City to seize the initiative in the title race.
The error has since become the subject of a song regularly belted out at Stamford Bridge but Mourinho says he wishes the Chelsea fans would not sing it as it shows a clear lack of respect to one of the finest players in Premier League history.
"The song that my fans have I don't like at all," Mourinho said.
"A couple of times it is good fun but to go and go and go, especially with a player like him who deserves respect, I don't think you don't need that.
"We have so many other songs, you don't need that one. I love this quote when he was saying in his life he would never score a goal against Liverpool. I love these words.
"I understand why he was - almost, almost, almost - coming to Chelsea. But he didn't and I respect that a lot."