Thomas Tuchel was a Tom Cruise wannabe when he quit as a player to work as a barman.
And even though he barely drinks these days, the Chelsea boss will allow himself a few gin and tonics if his side beat Manchester City on Saturday night.
It was back in 1998, ten years after Cruise starred in the blockbuster movie Cocktail, that a knee injury forced Tuchel to hang up his boots.
He claims he learned his most valuable life lesson during that time, scraping money together serving drinks as a 25-year-old student in Stuttgart.
And Tuchel is now on the verge of a Hollywood ending to his first season as Chelsea boss that any big film star would be proud of.
He said: “I made cocktails. Maybe not like Tom Cruise – but I felt like him.
“I did not have a good insurance policy for my injury. It was not big money and I spent it all on rehab trying to come back, but it was impossible.
“I was disappointed and started to study economics. I wanted to earn some extra money so I worked in a bar like a normal student.
“I had to work my way up. When I started, I had to learn to carry this huge tray of glasses above my head.
“So first of all I was a glass collector, collecting empties. Then I could serve because I was safe enough with the tray.
“I was just the guy to receive them from the bar and then take them to people’s tables, either for free or double the price depending on my mood.
“Later, maybe after two years or so, I was behind the bar. I felt like Tom Cruise!”
From being a famous rising star in German football, Tuchel was suddenly a nobody serving drinks to punters above a skateboard shop.
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But he loved every minute, saying: “It taught me a lot. Until then I was a little bit famous and I got a lot of attention.
“But falling out of this bubble taught me a tough lesson. There was some pride to swallow. But it was good. They did not know I played football.
“And I was more self-confident because I was absolutely sure they liked me because of who I am. It was a good life.”
Now, just four months into his new job at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel is on the verge of helping Chelsea win only their second Champions League crown.
And he admits he’ll relax his own rules on drinking if the Blues go all the way against City in Porto – even if he is a bit of a lightweight.
Tuchel said: “Maybe I’m not the guy to dance on the table, but I will be so super-happy if we win.
“I love it when other people are happy. It means more to me around Christmas that I have good presents for other people. This is huge for me.
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“We will have fun if we go out. I’ll not drink a still water all night. It’s easy to say: ‘Yeah I will get drunk’ – two gin and tonic and that’s it.
“I can take a third and fourth one, and feel pretty normal. Then the fifth one makes me, again, drunk.”
If Chelsea return to London with the European Cup, Tuchel would never have to buy a drink again on the Blue side of the city.
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TUCHEL WANTS NEW DEAL AT 'PERFECT' CHELSEA
Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea are the perfect club for him and he would love to sign a new long-term contract.
The Blues boss joined the club on an 18-month deal in January after the sacking of Frank Lampard.
Since then, he has led them to a top-four finish, an FA Cup Final, and is hoping to help them win the Champions League tonight.
Contract talks have yet to take place but the former Paris St-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss claims it is no secret he wants to stay.
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Tuchel said: “This is very easy. I’m just so happy to be here. I never felt so good since I was in my first job in Mainz.
“This feels like the perfect place and the perfect moment for the perfect place.
“I’m so happy to be here, so whatever will come will come. We cannot force things, but, of course, this is my point of view and this is very clear.”
Chelsea are set to open contract talks with Tuchel after facing City.
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