From special one to happy one
"I'm the happy one. It looks like... it was a couple of days ago, but it was nine years ago. Since then, a lot of things have happened in my professional life and I have the same nature. I'm the same person. I have the same heart and the same kind of emotions related to my passion for football and my job. But I'm, of course, a different person. In this moment, if I have to describe myself, I describe myself as a very happy person. You know, it's the first time I arrive in a club where I already love the club because, before, I was arriving and I had to do the emotional relation. I only came to love the club in time. This is a new feeling, arriving at a club where I love it already."
Denying claims that he was sacked by Roman Abramovich in 2007
"That's not true, as a start. That's not true. I read and I kept listening I was fired, I was sacked, we had a complete break of relationships. That was not true. Many people didn't believe in that, but it was mutual agreement. At the time we thought it was best for both of us, me and the club. It was a sad moment.
"Of course it was a sad moment, but I don't regret that decision. I went to Inter where I had probably the best moment of my career. After that I went to Madrid where we had, still, the record of the best team in Spanish history. For Chelsea, things went well too. After that, Chelsea was for the first time European champions. So it was a difficult decision at that time for both of us, but a decision made by mutual agreement.
"Only because there was never a break of a relation, it's possible I'm here today. It wouldn't be possible being here if we'd had real problems, no relations. I'm back because we feel we are in a moment of my professional life – and in the case of the owner also a moment of his career as an owner – where we are probably in the best moment of our careers, and ready to work together again and with much better conditions this time to succeed and have what this club wants: which is stability."
On wanting more stability
"Yes, and now I'm prepared for that. Before I wasn't. I had always this kind of mentality. Today's the 10th June, Portuguese Day, a day of Portugal. I am Portuguese. I always love adventure, like Portuguese ones in the past. I was always a bit of a navigator, but I did always what I wanted to do. I needed a special family, which I have.
"They gave me the stability to go around Europe, to live in Italy, Spain, England, Portugal, to change, to pack, to change again, to do what I was doing as a professional. I wanted to do that in the three most important leagues and clubs. I wanted the experience … people who don't do that have other good things, but the culture in football is very important for a manager. I wanted to experience that. For seven or eight months, I wanted to go where I really like it very, very much.
"And I was in a position to say which one was the league, the club, the mentality I prefer. I can't say which press I prefer, but you're not the worst. Now it's up to me to show I deserve to be here for a long time. I have a contract for four years. I hope to go the last day of that contract. If the club then wants me to stay, I'll be more than happy."
Priorities the second time around
"Chelsea have to focus in every competition. We cannot say this one is more important than another. Everything is important. By having, I think, 108 Champions League matches and so many consecutive seasons in CL competition, I learned that not just the details make the difference, but also that sometimes it's not when your team is in the best moment that you win. Sometimes you win and you don't know really why you do, and sometimes you play well and you lose and don't know why.
"Champions League cannot be an obsession for me. I've won it twice, and would be happy to win it again, but Chelsea have won it too. So it's not an obsession. Let's work, with quality and work hard, and we'll be there fighting for that objective. One day it will happen. Sooner than later is better. The Premier League is different, a competition the best team wins. Let's try to be the best, but you know that another five teams also want to be the best."
On winning more trophies than the first time round
"In football you never know, but I want to believe it's possible. I always trust my work. In this case, I know many of the people that belong to the club, and I know the kind of mentality and ambition people have. My career was built and based on success, and I was able to reach success and to win trophies, and to leave different kinds of legacies. So I have to believe in that. That's a normal message I want to go with my players, which is work hard, work with quality. The club is much more important than ourselves. We are nobody compared to the club. Working well, success normally arrives."
On making Chelsea champions again
"I think I came in two different periods. When I came, Chelsea needed that. Chelsea needed the last push in the direction of the trophies, in the direction of success. A new owner, big investment, the age of the players was perfect for that jump of quality, and I felt in my first approach that the squad and the club needed that direction.
"And I think we did it well by winning. Probably, I don't know as I'm not the best person to judge, even after my departure that base stayed in the club and probably helped them to reach more success in the future. If that happened, I'm more than happy.
"It's the job of the manager not just to focus on what you do when you're here, but on the legacy and contribution you leave for the future. This time I arrive and victory and silverware is nothing new in the club. The club is a Champions League winner. The club won the Premier League again after my time, won more FA Cups, I'm not sure about League Cups ... but the club was in the top and getting trophies. In this moment, it's a moment for a different approach. Not losing my nature, which is the nature of the club too – trying to win is not just my nature, but that of the club too – and Mr Abramovich too.
"I think we are all prepared for a different era with a different profile of team. As I was saying, I'm more than happy. My fingerprint has to be … a football team without the fingerprint of its manager is never a football team, even if it looks like it is. We want an identity even more present."
Old boys verses new boys
"There are still a few boys from my time, which is always good to go back and see these people who gave absolutely everything to me when I was here. But it's important to tell you – not them, because they know – that no privilege for them. They know my nature. They don't have an advantage in relation to the other people. After that, Chelsea did very well to get these young boys with great potential, great ability and a great future, and I look forward to trying to improve them. We have ambitions to add a couple of new players to improve the squad, increase the competitiveness, but my biggest job at the moment is the round improvement of the boys. Big potential. I have ambitions as a manager and as a leader to improve the boys. I'm more than happy to help them."
"One of my good qualities – I have some bad ones – is that I don't speak about a club when I leave it, and when I arrive at one I don't like to comment on what happened before me. For me, not one word about Benítez's decisions, either on John [Terry]or another player. What I can say is about the future, and the future is to meet John in the first week of July, try to get the best out of him. I know what he can give. I try to get the best, let's try to make him again a very important player that he couldn't be last season. But Benítez's decisions are Benítez's decisions."
Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku
"First of all, I want to meet them. I think it's fair that the players are the first ones to know about their future, and to know about their future by their manager, by their club, and not by the media. I'm not just speaking in relation to Kevin or Romelu. I'm speaking generally. I've had the chance to speak with some of them. Others I didn't. I need to speak with them, meet them, we need to feel and make a decision that's the best for me as a manager, the players, and most importantly for Chelsea.
"Chelsea are more important than me and the players. But, as you are Belgian and I don't want you to go home without a little answer, they are the type of players Chelsea have invested a lot into in the past, and it's my work to extract the best from those investments. Both of them are ready to come and be ready for my squad."
Regret at not being able to face Sir Alex Ferguson again
"I'm still a big disappointed to be back and going to Old Trafford and Sir Alex isn't there. As a manager, I'm a bit disappointed. But David [Moyes] has experience and protection by the club to do his job and do it well. Arsène Wenger is there and I'm happy he is. And the three boys ... not boys any more ... Brendan [Rodgers], Steve [Clarke] and André [Villas-Boas], I'm more than happy not to play against them – Chelsea plays against Liverpool, Tottenham and West Brom, not me – but I'm more than happy to be in the same league as them and to wish them all the best.
"Manuel Pellegrini is also a manager with great experience, many years in the same league. It's the first time he moves here, but he has maturity and experience to do a good job. I look forward to what the Premier League is. I was, in the last three years, playing in a two-horse race. Now I move to a league where you lose more times, lose more points, but the competition is open. It's not just the two."
Defending relationship with Iker Casillas
"What happened last season? I'm sorry, I play the players I think are the best for the team. Of course I want good relations with everybody, but the most important is having good relations with myself. As a manager, I have to be honest with myself. If I think somebody deserves to play, he has to play. If someone has big stature, profile and career, I cannot give him a privilege. It was simply a pure footballing decision. I decided for one player and not the other, and it's up for the players to accept it or not, and the media and supporters to accept it or not. But, as a manager, all my decisions are based on meritocracy. Is that an English word? After that, I can sleep well."
Refusing to believe he "damaged Spanish football"
"I damaged Spanish football by being the manager that broke Barcelona's dominance. They were dominant, dominant and dominant, and it looked like a dominance without an end. Then Real Madrid won the Super Cup against Barcelona, we won in Barcelona and the championship, which is the historic championship of 100 points and 121 goals. I hurt them, I hurt them. It was a fantastic time for me, reaching what I wanted to reach: the three domestic titles I didn't have in my career. We couldn't get the Champions League, which was our ambition, but it's very difficult to do that. You never know when you can do that. It was so difficult at Madrid: when I arrived they'd not even been to a quarter-final for six years, but we got into the semis. We couldn't win it. Other teams did. I'm happy Chelsea and Bayern [Munich] did it. And I can say, with pride, that I managed a big club like Real."
His own weaknesses
"If I speak of them, I have to say I'm trying to improve them. You don't speak about weaknesses with your enemy, and my enemy will read the papers and watch television. We hide our weaknesses. Every player, manager has weaknesses. You have to try to hide them. So I'm not giving that chance for the enemy … with respect because, in sports, an enemy is not really an enemy. I know my weaknesses, not much … not many … but I try to improve and hide them."