My topic for this week is Jose Mourinho. He is the current manager of Chelsea Football Club in London, England. He is one of the most talked about people in the world, and is currently making all the back pages around the world for all the wrong reasons. His Chelsea side is off to a historically bad start and Mourinho is under fire. But for those of you who don’t who he is, Jose Mourinho a winner. He has always been a winner and has won everywhere he goes. That, of course, does not mean he is always well liked, or that he cares if you like him because in the end he wins. But let’s take a look at his career and why he is equal parts infamous and famous.
It all began when he became the translator for Bobby Robson at Sporting CP in his home country of Portugal in 1992. In 1993, the pair moved to FC Porto where Mourinho became more and more of a coach rather than a translator. In 1996, Mourinho’s life changed as Robson became the manager of FC Barcelona. Here is where Mourinho really got his chance to shine. Robson focused on the attacking style while he let Jose worry about the defense. He became a prominent figure of the staff and would be seen translating press conferences and working with the players at training and during the games. When Robson left the club 1997, Mourinho did not follow him. Instead, he joined Louis Van Gaal’s coaching staff. He really learned his trade with Van Gaal and even took charge of the first team some times. All of this led to his first chance to be a first team manager. The one thing that has been interesting throughout his career is the names he worked under at the start.
His first job was with Benfica, where he was promoted from assistant manager when they replaced manager Jupp Heynckes. He did not last long, as he had some difficulties with the board. He found a new job as manager of at Uniao de Leiria and his success there led to a job with FC Porto. He started in January of 2002. From then until the end of the 2004 season, he would go on to win 6 trophies. In his first full season, Jose Mourinho won his first treble. He won the Primeira Liga with a record number of points, the Taca de Portugal (Portuguese Cup), and the UEFA Cup (Now the Europa League). In his next season, he would take Porto to new heights. In his second season, he would win the Portuguese Super Cup, the league again, and the UEFA Champions League over Monaco 3-0. His Porto side was on top of the world, and Jose left that summer to join Chelsea.
“Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m a European champion and I think I’m a special one.” These are the famous words that dubbed Jose “the Special One.” In the summer he was the big signing for Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who wanted to take his Chelsea side to a new level in Europe and he felt he had found the man to do it. Before Jose arrived in London, Chelsea had managed only one First Division title and that was in 1955. The success was immediate, as he won the League Cup first and then the Premier League in just his first season. He would go on to win his fourth league title in a row the next season. But in his third season, friction between Mourinho and Abramovich started to grow over the signing of Andriy Shevchenko. This tension would not stop the winning, as Chelsea won the League Cup and the FA Cup that season. However, it was the beginning of the end. Shevchenko was left off the squad for the semi-final at Anfield, which Liverpool would go on to win. In 2007, Mourinho would leave the club by mutual consent. The only thing that Mourinho had failed to do was win the Champions League, but he would not have to wait long before he would do that again.
His next stop was Inter Milan. He coached there for 725 days. During his time there, he won the league in his first year and his second treble in his second year as he won the Serie A, Coppa Italia, and his second Champions League trophy. This was Inter’s first European Cup since 1965. He became the third manager at the time to win the trophy with two other clubs. So far, Jose’s career had been a rocket ship of success. The day after winning the Champions League, Jose hinted that the end was near as the biggest job in the world came calling.
In May of 2010, Jose Mourinho took charge of his 6th different club since he first started at Benfica in 2000. However, he brought with him a history of winning, as he had won 6 league titles in those 10 years, 6 different Cups, 2 Champions League trophies and 1 UEFA Cup. Real Madrid wanted two things from him, to knock off Barcelona and win La Decima. In his first season, he was able to defeat Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, but they were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Champions League by their Catalan rivals. In his second season, Mourinho was able to knock Barcelona off their perch of the league and win the league title. During the third season, Mourinho was able to win the Supercopa de Espana over Barcelona. This meant that he was the first coach to win the League, Cup, and super cup in four different countries, doing it at every stop along the way. That would be the only trophy he would win that season.
“Call Me The Happy One.” The following summer Jose would return home as he returned to London to manage Chelsea. In his first season, he would not win a trophy of any kind for the first time since he managed Uniao de Leiria. In his second season, he won his 5th double and fourth with Chelsea as they would win the League Cup and the League, just as he did in his first year with the club 10 years prior.
But the reason I am writing about him is not to remind you that he is a winner, because he is. His winning percentage is 66.23 as a manager. I am writing this because at times, and my friend Buzz will attest that it is most times if not all, I cannot stand his antics. He has a way about him that to me is not what I would want the manager of my club to say. I mentioned that he was equal parts infamous and famous. So far it seems like it should be all famous, but Jose had his controversies. He had touchline bans, fines, and disagreements with the board, referees, and the media throughout his career. In 2011, during the Supercopa de Espana, Mourinho poked Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye during a brawl between the benches. Mourinho claimed to not know who “Pito” Vilanova was after the match. If you are curious, pito is a Spanish slang for parts of the male anatomy. This season, Jose has repeatedly taken on the officials and the media on multiple occasions and his press conferences have become almost more entertaining than his team’s play. Jose has always been like this with the media so I am not surprised that this season, is nothing different. Or is it? While he lost the dressing room at Madrid, is he really losing it at Chelsea with “his” players? Is it really just the three year rule in which after three years he has to leave because his message wears out or he needs a new challenge? Whatever it is, Jose needs to stop blaming the referees or the media and start looking in the mirror. He needs to remember his history and that he is a winner. He can turn it around, but only once he stops with the madness. Sometimes the breaks don’t go your way, but that is soccer and that is life. Chelsea has the right man for the job right now. The only remaining question is will Roman Abramovich let him have a chance?