Chelsea defender Abdul Rahman Baba has opened up on his loan move away to Schalke 04 in 2016, revealing a fall-out with then manager Antonio Conte forced his exit.
After a first season with the Blues, the left-back was among the casualties as then newly-appointed Chelsea manager Conte hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge.
Baba had joined Chelsea from German fold Augsburg the season earlier.
“I left Chelsea because I didn’t get on well with Conte. When he arrived I had a first meeting with him before the season ended,” Baba told Joy Sports.
“He told me how he wanted to play and how I can be in the team if I decide to stay. So I said okay that’s fine. When we went on vacation and came back, he was at the Euros [with Italy] so we started the pre-season and then he came to join us.
“And during the pre-season I didn’t like the way he was reacting toward me. So I went to speak to the sporting director and I told him my worries.
“I told him this is what is happening in training and I don’t have confidence anymore and if I stay here I will not be confident enough to show my qualities.”
In his first season, Baba made 15 Premier League appearances, having signed for the London-based club during the managerial reign of Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese coach was later fired and temporarily replaced by Guus Hiddink before Conte, then manager of Italy, was announced as new Chelsea manager ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.
“The first meeting, he [Conte] told me to just keep calm and keep working hard so I said that’s fine. This was in London and then we went to Austria and it started getting worse and that’s when I said no, I can’t take it anymore,” Baba added.
“I don’t know, maybe my name was easy on his tongue, like every small thing was like ‘Baba’ ‘Baba’ and most of the players came to ask me what’s going on and I said I don’t know.
“[John] Mikel Obi told me to just stay and shouldn’t bother what [Conte] is doing, but as young as I was , I was not taking it lightly so when we went to Austria I spoke to the Sporting Director and told him [that] it is going overboard and I can’t take it.
“So they told me okay, so what do you want to do? I told them I would prefer to leave and they said no the club doesn’t want to sell me. So I said okay, if that’s so then I would prefer to go on loan from here.”
He joined Schalke on a season-long loan, reuniting with former coach Markus Weinzierl.
The duo had previously worked together at Augsburg.
“The then coach of Schalke 04 was my former coach in Augsburg so he called me and told me, Baba you know if you are not feeling good at Chelsea, you know I’m here to help you. I’m in Schalke now so if you want to come that’s fine,” the full-back added.
Baba is currently back at Chelsea after a short-term deal with Greek side PAOK during the second half of last season.