Schurrle relishes return to the Bridge – three years after poisoned farewell
Salmonella caused Fulham playmaker’s Chelsea exit Manager Ranieri will also be back at his former club
Andre Schurrle has revealed that his Chelsea career was bizarrely ended by a bout of salmonella poisoning picked up while eating chicken on international duty.
The Fulham playmaker will make his first return to Stamford Bridge today since being sold by Jose Mourinho to VfL Wolfsburg for £22 million in early 2015.
The German has now made public the reason he left Chelsea – and it was all down to food poisoning in Poland in October 2014.
Schurrle suggested he lost nearly a stone in weight after being laid low and never recovered his strength during his time playing under Mourinho.
“In my first year, I was really happy. I started half the games or a little bit more,” he said. “I had quite good stats, I had goals, important goals for the team. That confidence from the manager, too. I knew he wanted a lot from me, but I knew I could handle it. It was amazing being there.
“Then the second year was just very difficult. I had really bad salmonella. I was getting really weak. I was out for maybe three weeks and, coming back, I never really got the chance to prove myself being back 100 per cent. That was when I got the opportunity to go back to Germany, and he let me go.
“I got ill with the national team. You see how skinny I am, so to lose three, four, five kilos, it took me a really long time to get the strength back. It was a bit of chicken, and I’ve never eaten chicken since.”
Schurrle has now gone vegetarian and is on close to a vegan diet.
“We didn’t find out for a week that it was salmonella, so I was just at home being sick and really feeling like I can’t get out of bed,” he said. “We then found out it was salmonella and treated it. So, for me, the most crucial thing was, as skinny as I am, I lose more weight and didn’t have any strength in my body.
“Coming back from that it took me a really long time.”
Schurrle made only five Premier League starts that season but still picked up a surprise winners’ medal. “It is at home in Germany, at my parents’, in the safe there,” he said. “That is where all the medals are. It is weird. I didn’t think I would get one. They said you have to play four or five games. Not being there, then getting the medal, you feel like part of the team but not the biggest part because you left at half-time, and the team did the rest.
“It was a nice gesture being invited and getting the medal. Obviously, I probably don’t have the same feeling as the guys that were there the whole season. Jose texted me the day after the League Cup: ‘Congratulations, League Cup winner!’ and then he texted me after they won the title: ‘Congratulations, champion of England! Please come to the ceremony, we are having a party with all the guys’.
“It was a nice gesture and if I would have had the time, I would have come. I’ve not gone back to Stamford Bridge since, although I’ve walked past it a few times.”
Schurrle, on a two-year loan from Borussia Dortmund, is not the only person involved with Fulham returning to his old club as new manager Claudio Ranieri is back after 14 years.
The 28-year-old believes that the Italian, who succeeded Slavisa Jokanovic last month, has given his side a new lease of life and believes they will build on last week’s 3-2 win over Southampton. “That got the smile back on your face,” said Schurrle.
“It was huge for us. Claudio has been a little bit more strict and more serious which is what you need. He is a decent man, really nice to speak to. He always has a smile on his face and wants to work and speak to the players and get close to the players. The new manager came in and everyone became more focused and wanted to give more.”
Happy to be back: Andre Schurrle believes the smile is returning to Fulham faces