I had signed for Chelsea because of Vialli.
Also, in a way, because of Louis Van Gaal. I left Barcelona after he arrived. In his first season with Barcelona, the manager told me that he wasn’t really considering me. Even so, I decided to stay at the club. In the end, I played the second half of the season in the starting line-up.
That made me think that I’d stay, but the manager didn’t change his view. He wanted me out, and I was declared transferable.
I got some calls, and one of them was from Vialli. In those days, it was customary in England that the managers would call you on the phone.
Vialli had played alongside former Barcelona player Víctor Muñoz at Sampdoria. Chelsea needed a right-back, and he asked Víctor about me.
Among all the offers I had, I decided to go to Chelsea because it was the Premier League and because it was London. Maybe, had it been anywhere else in England, I wouldn’t have accepted. But I was newlywed, had no children, and London was a very cool place to be for the two of us.
“I said sorry to the player, but he said: ‘Next time, I’ll do that to you.’ And he did”
My relationship with Vialli was very good. Sometimes I’d joke with him.
“Do you remember the final?” I would ask him, referring to the 1992 European Cup final at Wembley. I was in the Barcelona team that had beaten the Sampdoria team he played in.
He never got angry about it.
Overall, during those three years with Vialli, the team achieved a great standard. We won the FA Cup and we were close to winning the Premier League. It was a club with great European and English players.
Among the home players was John Terry. A guy with a lot of personality.
I’m sure he’ll do well in his new guise as a coach. Terry has worked for a long time and he has two very well-integrated philosophies. One, of English football – hard work and high energy – but also one developed from his work with foreign managers.
It’s a tendency we’re seeing now, with former players who are now managers. Terry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard. They have experienced both aspects, and have a lot to give as managers.