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WATCH: Willian’s interview with ESPN Brasil, Re Conte, Costa, Sarri, Mourinho, emojis, Spurs, etc

Willian’s quotes caused a bit of a stir yesterday, but as usual, the translated quotes in full context are nowhere near as sensational

Before finally returning to Chelsea last week, after a five-day delay thanks to purported passport problems, Willian made an appearance on ESPN Brasil’s show ‘Resenha’. As described by Sport Witness, it’s a show where footballers tend to relax and open up, and offer up more honest and more revealing answers than in their everyday interactions with the press.

And that’s exactly what Willian did as well, and those quotes, bit and bit and largely out of context, have now made their way across the Atlantic. But as it so often tends to happen, the full quotes provide some much needed context, and certainly make some of the stuff we’ve seen over the past 24 hours far less sensational than they appear to be. This is still not the whole video, the program is 90 minutes long after all, but it’s better than previous reports.

Take the whole bit about Willian blaming his daughter for the infamous emojis over Conte on the FA Cup picture. Based on the actual video (see above; h/t: /r/chelseafc) and the full quote, he’s clearly joking about that and reveals that it was indeed stemming from some problems he personally had with Conte, both in terms of man management and tactics. That of course doesn’t make Willian’s act any less petulant or unprofessional, but he’s also not hiding behind some silly made-up story.

“My daughter was playing with my cellphone and she ended up putting those emojis over Conte ... (big laugh) ... no no no, I don’t know, sometimes the manager doesn’t like you. I don’t know if any of you have been in that situation before. You just feel that the manager doesn’t like you, but he has to use you sometimes. But you feel that he doesn’t like you at all. You didn’t do anything bad, but he doesn’t like you.”

That wasn’t the only problem between player and coach, as Willian’s Costa story makes it clear once again that the situation was not handled in the best way possible. While Willian’s story ignores the larger context, Conte’s actions certainly did not go down well with the Costa clique.

“He also had problems with David Luiz and Costa. With Diego, I remember it was after the season. I was in Australia with Brazil and Diego texted me. He said, ‘I’m leaving. Conte said he doesn’t need me anymore.’ I said, ‘what do you mean?’ And he said, ‘he texted me saying that he doesn’t need me on the team anymore and I’m not supposed to go back.’

“But you don’t lose a player like Diego Costa. It was a difficult situation.”

-Willian; source: ESPN Brasil

Another set of quotes that was making the rounds was Willian saying that he hopes Sarri isn’t like Conte. Turns out that was a bit of a joke as well, even as Willian then talks about the footballing side of his conflict with Conte. This is also in the video above, though I’m going tow Sport Witness’ translation as another data point.

“I hope he’s not the same as Conte ... (laugh) ... I’m joking, I think Conte was a manager, for me, particularly, very difficult to work with. His philosophy, his logistics, to manage there, is very complicated.

“I’ve had some games that you don’t understand, you’re playing very well and are taken out, you don’t understand, twice I headed out of the game and went straight to the dressing room. So it was a bit difficult working with him. But in life we learn from that too.”

-Willian; source: ESPN Brasil via Sport Witness

Willian then says that staying on the bench for “so many games” for two years was tough but now that’s in the past and he’s happy to stay at Chelsea. They do ask him about the Manchester United interest and other than revealing Mourinho’s tapping up schemes, Willian doesn’t really offer up anything too new in this regard.

“Mourinho is the best manager I’ve ever worked with. We have a good relationship, we are friends. Sometimes we talk, we text, we send messages to each other via WhatsApp. He is a great manager, I really enjoyed working with him. I hope I can work with him again someday (he says with a bit of a smirk).”

“I don’t know if there was any official bid (from Manchester United) but some things have happened. Also, everything comes out on the Internet, too. But Mourinho talks to my agent all the time, he says ‘bring him, bring him’. [Mourinho] has never called me, but he always send me text messages.

“But I am very happy at Chelsea, I want to stay at the club. I also like living in London, it is an amazing city and my family has adapted well. So yeah, I intend to stay at Chelsea.”

-Willian; source: ESPN Brasil

Willian also talks a bit about Mourinho’s bench antics, like admonishing Azpilicueta for not going to ground to win a penalty, but that’s neither here nor there.

But speaking of agents, another part that’s not in the video above is when Willian revisits his legendary arrival, via a flight paid for by Spurs.

“I said oh, I’m going to sign with Tottenham, anyway, there’s no other option. You know my objective was to go to Chelsea, but since Chelsea don’t want, then we’re going to Tottenham.”

“Then we’re going in the van, on the way, get to the training centre, Kia, my agent, is already down there, waiting. I thought it was weird, he was already at the door. Then I got out of the van, he said, ‘we have problems’. I said ‘oh, what happened?’ Then he ‘Chelsea made an offer’. I said, ‘So make do, I’ll get back in the van, you’ll make do and I’ll go to Chelsea, I will not sign with Tottenham.’

“I stayed there for eight hours in the training centre. Tottenham’s director said ‘I’m going to report you to FIFA, this and that, fans here in England will boo you, this and that’. They made up a lot of things. I got stuck there for eight hours. Then I left and I went straight to meet the Chelsea people to sort the details and sign.”

-Willian; source: ESPN Brasil via Sport Witness

LOL, Spurs.

Alas, we’re probably going to have to wait for Conte’s tell-all autobiography to hear his side of these stories.

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