Nemanja Matic was out in London when his little son, Filip, thought he’d spotted Benfica’s “big red bus” which used to take his dad to work in Portugal.
That’s the trouble with big red buses in London – they all look the same as Benfica’s team coach.
Matic was impressed with his three-year-old lad’s powers of observation, but there is no mistaking the Routemaster in Chelsea’s drive towards a fourth Premier League title in nine years.
Since the Serbian midfield anchorman rejoined the Blues for £21million in January, Chelsea have taken 20 points from a possible 24 and have the look of champions.
When Matic went head-to-head with Yaya Toure at Manchester City six weeks ago, everyone agreed who was the bus conductor and who got his ticket clipped.
Matic, who left Stamford Bridge for Lisbon in 2011 as a makeweight in the deal which brought David Luiz to Chelsea, could be the signing of the season. And the Blues’ surge to the top partly explains why it took him only a MINUTE to jump at the chance of working with Jose Mourinho when the Special One came calling.
Matic, originally signed by Carlo Ancelotti, said: “I had no doubts about coming back to Chelsea. I spoke with my agent for one minute, and that was it. I didn’t need any longer to think about it. I didn’t know what my contract was going to be. I just said, ‘OK, I’m going back to Chelsea, and we will worry about the details later’.
“We made a deal, I am very happy. If you ask me about money, I say it is more important to improve as a player, and to play good football in a good league.
“The first time I was here, I was only 21, and there were some big players in my position – Ballack, Lampard and Essien in the best moment of his career – and I was injured for four months.
“I came from Kosice, a small club in Slovakia, and it was like a dream, a great experience, but to step up to the Premier League was not easy.
“Mourinho is one of the big reasons why I came back because he is probably the best coach in the world. It’s good to work with him and I can improve a lot.”
Written by Steve Milne