You might expect Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho to be one of the last Premier League bosses to embrace the Christmas spirit but, according to full-back Sergio Reguilon, nothing could be further from the truth.
The 24-year-old Spain international has revealed how a surprise Christmas Day gift from Mourinho made up for having to spend the festive season alone in London, away from his family.
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“I’d like you to know him the way I know him,” Reguilon told Diario AS. “I could tell a thousand great stories.
“On Christmas Day, for example. He knows I’m on my own here. We arrived for training on the 25th at 3 p.m. and there’s a box in my place. I open it up and it’s a roast suckling pig, already cooked. He said to me ‘I know you’re alone at Christmas and that way you don’t have to cook dinner and you’ll eat well.’
“They’re little things that people don’t know about in the day-to-day. For a footballer, it’s really important that he keeps an eye on how you are, away from football.”
It’s not the first time that Mourinho has helped Reguilon, who joined Spurs from Real Madrid in September, settle in north London with some home comforts. Last month the Spurs boss revealed that he’d given Reguilon a £500 ($650) leg of jamon Iberico, reportedly for keeping Riyad Mahrez quiet during the team’s 2-0 win over Manchester City.
“A promise is a promise,” Mourinho wrote in a post on Instagram along with a picture of him and Reguilon with the jamon. “It cost me £500 but I keep my promises.”
It’s also not even the first time in 2020 that a footballer has been given a suckling pig. Brazil great Ronaldinho reportedly received such a prize for winning a football tournament during his spell in a Paraguayan prison earlier this year.
Both gourmet pork dishes will have been gratefully received by Reguilon. While his on-the-field adaptation to the Premier League has been smooth, he admitted to AS that he’s yet to warm to London’s culinary offerings.
“I haven’t got a taste for English food,” he said. “They’re always sending me ham and other things from Spain. The other day they even sent me a crate of fabada [bean stew], imagine…”
Mourinho’s man-management has certainly done the trick so far, with Reguilon praising him as a “top” coach.
“I look at him, I see the self-confidence he has and I say ‘we’ll win something, whatever happens,’” he said. “With that mentality, you get things done.”