Jose Mourinho. Love him or hate him, the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has provided, and will continue to deliver, great entertainment, controversy, charisma and passion to football fans around the globe. The current Real Madrid manager’s desire and motivation to add to his already extensive list of trophies is as resilient as ever. As is his compelling character and appeal to lovers of the beautiful game.
On arriving at Real Madrid in 2010 he stated, ‘I am Jose Mourinho and I don't change. I arrive with all my qualities and my defects.’ Indeed there are flaws to this Portuguese master, a tendency for deliberate provocation of his peers to name just one. Yet his many managerial qualities more than outweigh these defects. The success he has achieved in his career so far speaks for itself.
He is no longer just the late Sir Bobby Robson’s translator at Barcelona but a giant among the football managerial hierarchy, matched only by the likes of Guardiola and Ferguson. Since 2002 spells at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and now Real Madrid have seen him win 20 different trophies, winning almost 70% of the games he has managed. Two Champions Leagues, two Premier Leagues, two Seria A’s, two Primeira Liga titles, a La Liga, a UEFA Cup, an FA Cup and a Copa del Ray only covers half of his achievements to date.
Along with his individual honours and other landmark achievements, such as winning 8 managers of the year awards and the 2010 Ballon D’Or Best Coach, it becomes an almost unprecedented success story. Since 2002, Mourinho has not gone a full calendar year without winning a trophy. He is only the fourth coach to have won league titles in at least four different countries and became only the third manager in football history to win the Champions League with two different teams. He provided Chelsea with their first League title in fifty years, whilst at Inter Milan his side became the first Italian club to win the treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League.
Mourinho loves the spotlight and the pressure. He thrives upon it. He channels his passion and utter belief in himself to his players, connecting with them in a way few in sport can. He is a natural leader, a motivator of men. He has a relentless desire to win and to challenge old foes and new. He loves having his back against the wall and proving his critics wrong. He may frustrate some, he may anger others, yet his talent as a manager is unquestionable. He is a serial winner, a trophy assassin.
Mourinho is an entertainer during games and in the media. Never afraid to bluntly state his opinions, he is a confident and bold individual. His outspoken pre or post match interviews and media interaction is almost as enjoyable as the game itself; be it mind-games, praise or surprising honesty. Fans like him because he stands by his side and shows the same desire evident amongst the supporters in the crowd; he wants to win as much as they do.
Mourinho wants to become the greatest manager of all time. It’s why he is constantly seeking new challenges, a new place to demonstrate his managerial prowess; new opponents to beat, new trophies to win. At his current rate of success, such a bold prophecy has a touch of inevitability about it.
Many words can be used to describe Jose Mourinho. Many were shocked, even amused, when he burst into the Premier League claiming, “I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.” However, after his successes to date and those surely to come, can we really argue against him?