50 Things We Love About Jose Mourinho

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2013

50 Things We Love About Jose Mourinho

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    He is arrogant. He is controversial. He can be disrespectful. He is often unpopular with referees. He is sometimes unpopular with his own players.

    Yet despite these perceived faults, it's incredibly difficult to dislike José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix.

    Known better as Jose Mourinho, or "The Special One", the Portuguese manager brings charm, humor, compassion and entertainment to a game that so often takes itself too seriously.

    What's more, he's one of the greatest coaches of our time, with an enviable list of record-breaking accomplishments that justify his hubris.

    Here are 50 reasons to love him...

He Is "The Special One" by Self-Appointment

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    In one of his first press conferences at Chelsea, Mourinho said, "Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one."

    From that day on, he was "The Special One."

He Is the "Best in the World"

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    Few managers have received as much praise from contemporaries and players as Mourinho. Cristiano Ronaldo, Wesley Sneijder and Maradona have all labelled him the "world's best coach" at some point.

    Even Pep Guardiola admitted Mou was the greatest before Barcelona faced faced his Inter side win the 2009/10 Champions League.

    The Portuguese coach duly proved Pep right by knocking him out of the competition and winning the big prize.

He Once Escaped from Stamford Bridge in a Laundry Basket

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    The Special One was banned from both legs of Chelsea's 2004/05 Champions League quarter-final tie with Bayern Munich.

    During the home tie, it is alleged he was actually in the dressing room to give pre-match and half-time team talks. He is also said to have fed messages to the bench via an earpiece and written messages.

    Apparently, he then made his escape from Stamford Bridge ten minutes before the end of the game hidden in a large laundry basket.

    Chelsea won the match 4-2.

He Was Bobby Robson's Interpreter at Barcelona

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    At age 33, Mourinho joined Bobby Robson's staff at Barcelona as an interpreter.

    He wrote his own scouting reports, often shared dinner with Robson (they lived near one another) and is said to have given his own unique "slant" while interpreting for one of the most admired coaches in the game.

    After working with Louis van Gaal, Mourinho went to coach in Portugal in 2000. In 2004, "El Traductor" became a Champions League winner.

    In 2010, he returned to Spain to manage Barcelona's fiercest rivals...

He Knows How to Ruin a Good Suit

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    Mourinho is known for his animated presence on the bench, particularly when his team scores.

    His most famous celebration is probably the knee slide, which he exhibited with aplomb after Madrid's dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester City in the Champions League.

    Every time he takes a slide, a tailor somewhere in Europe smiles, knowing he's just earned another commission.

He Went Nine Years Without Losing a Home Game

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    After his nine-man Porto side lost to Beira-Mar in February 2002, Mourinho went more than nine years without losing another home game.

    He went undefeated with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid for 151 games at home until April 2011, when Los Blancos somehow lost to lowly Sporting Gijón, a side that hadn't won at the Bernabeu in 16 years.

He Broke Records in Portugal

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    In his first full season with Porto (2002/03), Mourinho won the league with a record-breaking points tally (86 from a possible 102).

    The following season, Porto won the title with five weeks to spare.

He Broke Records in England

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    In his first Premier League season (2004-05), Mou led Chelsea to their first league title since 1955.

    In that season, his Blues side accrued the highest ever Premier League points tally (95) and the fewest goals conceded (15).

He Broke Records in Italy

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    In his second and final season at the helm of Internazionale (2009/10), The Special One guided the Nerazzurri to a feat that no manager or club had ever achieved: the Italian treble.

    After winning the unprecedented combination of Champions League, Scudetto and Coppa Italia, Mou felt his work in Italy was done and accepted a contract with Real Madrid.

He Broke Records in Spain

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    Mourinho failed to stop Pep Guardiola winning his third straight league title in 2010/11, but won the league in emphatic record-breaking style the following season.

    In 2011/12, his Los Blancos broke the record for most points gained in a European league season (100), most La Liga wins (32), most away wins (16), most goals scored (121) and the highest goal difference (+89).

He Is on Course to Make Champions League History

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    With Champions League titles at Porto and Internazionale, Mou is only one of three managers to win the European Cup with two teams.

    If he wins with Madrid this year, he'll join Bob Paisley with three European Cup trophies, and will be the first to win with three different teams.

He Is Real Madrid's Most Successful Manager

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    Mourinho may be subject to the whistles and jeers of the Madridistas right now, but his current win percentage rate of 72.9 percent is the highest of any trophy-winning Real Madrid manager.

    It's also the highest win percentage rate Mou has enjoyed at any club.

He Was Arrested for Protecting His Dog

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    In 2007, Mourinho was arrested when he obstructed animal welfare officials from putting his Yorkshire Terrier in quarantine.

    The dog—name Gullit after the Dutch Chelsea legend—was sent back to Portugal and The Special One escaped with just a police caution.

He Has an Eye for Bad Behavior

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    At the conclusion of the 2011 Supercopa de España, Mourinho gouged the eye of Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova during a touchline brawl.

    When asked about the incident, Mou said he did not know who "Pito" Vilanova was ("pito" is Spanish slang for "penis").

    The gouging was nothing to be proud of, and Mourinho later apologized, but it has become the stuff of legend.

    How many other touchline assaults have inspired an
    iPhone app and a paper mache falla?



He Constantly Mocks Rafa Benitez

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    When Mou was at Chelsea and Rafa Benitez was coaching Liverpool, they weren't exactly the best of friends.

    Before Real Madrid's visit to Manchester City, Maicon informed Mourinho of the Spaniard's appointment at Chelsea. "The fat one?" laughed Mourinho. "Well then Materazzi should be his assistant!"

    Marco Materazzi had previously revealed how Benitez made him tear newspaper cuttings of Mourinho out of his locker at Inter Milan, and how the former Liverpool boss insisted all pictures of The Special One were taken down.

    This week, Benitez vehemently insisted Matrix was a "liar" for revealing such things.

He Is a King

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    Before the 2010 Champions League Final, a journalist gave Mou a crown in a press conference. He gratefully accepted and gave the scribe his jacket in exchange.

    The following day, he earned that crown with victory over Bayern Munich to earn his second Champions League title.

He Upset Liverpool Fans

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    Enraging a set of fans isn't a loveable quality in itself, but Mourinho's "shhh" gesture to Liverpool fans when his Chelsea side scored against them in the 2005 League Cup Final epitomised his arrogance and fearlessness.

    Suffice to say, Mourinho's relationship with Rafa Benitez was not helped by this incident.

He's Been on the Cover of Rolling Stone

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    Despite having little known musical talent, Mou was voted "Rockstar of the Year" by the Spanish version of Rolling Stone in 2011.

He Kickstarted Mario Balotelli's Career

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    Mou says he could write a book about the antics of Mario Balotelli, the player he gave a chance as a teenager at Internazionale.

    He admits that he generally finds the trouble-making players the most entertaining.

He Speaks Six Languages

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    Having worked at Barca as an interpreter, it is little surprise that Jose speaks Spanish and Catalan. But he is also fluent in English, Italian, French and his native Portuguese.

He Has a PHD

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    Mr Mourinho is technically Dr Mourinho, as he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Lisbon Technical University in 2009.

    "I'm not sure I deserve this accolade," he said in a speech at the school from which he had graduated 20 years earlier. This is probably the only time Mou has ever been self-effacing.

He Is Authoritative

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    Real Madrid fans may not approve of Mou dropping Iker Casillas from recent matches, but it was Mourinho's way of letting the club know who is in control.

    Dropping one of the world's best goalkeepers days after club president Florentino Perez hailed him as "a legendary captain" was about a pretty strong power play. In terms of standing up to club politics, Mou must be respected.

He Started out as a PE Teacher

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    Mourinho was sent to a business school by his mother, but dropped out after one day to study sport science in Lisbon instead.

    He taught physical education at schools for five years until he took some coaching courses in England and Scotland. The rest, as they say, is history...

He Is Extremely Knowledgeable

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    Mourinho is famous for fastidiously researching his opposition, a habit that may have been borne from the detailed scouting reports he would write for Bobby Robson.

    Few an boast a better knowledge of world football and training techniques. Before his first full season as Porto coach, Mou published extremely detailed training reports on the club's website, which won praise for their innovative and scientific approach.

He Inspires Cancer-Surviving Referees

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    Mourinho has had his fair share of clashes with officials, but he certainly won the admiration of referee Mark Hasley.

    When the Premier League official's wife was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2008, Mou paid for the family to stay at a five-star Portuguese hotel. Hasley then had a cancer battle of his own, throughout which the manager regularly kept in touch with him.

    Mourinho wasn't even coaching in England at the time and had only met Hasley once.

    The referee described Mourinho as an "absolute inspiration" and gave a touching insight to the kinder side of his personality.

He's a Valuable Source of Advice

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    If the reports are to be believed, just about everyone in the game is using The Special One as a fountain of advice right now.

    Wesley Sneijder says Mourinho told him to sign for Galatasaray, The Daily Star claims he is an "unofficial consultant" for Roman Abramovich, while La Liga expert Guillem Balague says he advised Mauricio Pochettino to take away Nigel Adkins' job at Southampton.

His Players Love Him

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    Granted, he may not be feeling the warmth from his Real Madrid squad right now, but Mou tends to make a lasting impression on his players.

    The aforementioned Wesley Sneijder once said he was "prepared to kill and die for him," while his farewell to Marce Materazzi after the 2010 Champions League Final was a tearful affair.

He Faces the Music from His Critics

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    The Special One has faced plenty of criticism from Madridistas this season for his side's lacklustre domestic performance, but he isn't afraid of accepting the vitriol.

    40 minutes prior to December's Madrid derby, Mou took to the pitch at the Bernabeu so that those who wanted to whistle him could do it without affecting the team.

    It was typical Mourinho self-publicity—and only a small fraction of the capacity crowd was in the stadium at the time—but it was a brave gesture that was rewarded with a surprising amount of cheering.

He Makes Us Want to Buy Things

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    Jose Mourinho isn't the first manager to shill himself for commercial purposes, but he certainly looks the coolest while doing it.

    Over the years, he's made us all want credits cards, razors and various electronics a little bit more.

He Called Barcelona a "Small Team"

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    Following his controversial Tito Vilanova eye gouge, Mou continued to rage by criticizing Barcelona's cynical lack of ballboys (his former side Chelsea certainly wish there were less ballboys right now!), and implied they went over too easy in challenges. The Guardian quotes:

    "What I'm about to say is not a criticism, I'm just stating a fact: there were no ballboys in the second half, which is something typical of small teams when experiencing difficulties.

    "I'm not going to say we're happy because we didn't win the Spanish Super Cup, that would be hypocritical of me. But we intended to play like men and not fall on the ground at the slightest touch."

He's a Family Man

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    Mourinho has two kids, Matilde and Jose Jr. (named after himself and his wife) and has always said that his family is more important than any of his professional concerns.

He's Great with Kids

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    Here's Jose mixing it up with the mascots prior to a Champions League game.

He Rubs His Success in Other Manager's Faces

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    When Mourinho's Chelsea faced Frank Rijkaard's Barcelona, he took little time to remind the Dutchman of his lack of silverware. The Guardian quotes:

    "My history as a manager cannot be compared with Frank Rijkaard's history. He has zero trophies and I have a lot of them."

He Doesn't Take Himself Too Seriously

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    With all the money and big business surrounding football, it's easy to forget that it's just a game.

    Mourinho is only too aware of his trivial role in the grand scheme of things, telling journalists that starving families and bird flu are the real issues.

He Inspired a Puppet-Based TV Show

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    Special 1 TV was a parody of the You're On Sky Sports phone-in program using Spitting Image-style puppets of popular names in football.

    The host, of course, was The Special One.

He Defies Convention in Press Conferences

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    Growing tired of questions during a press conference before his Chelsea side met Barcelona, Mou broke convention by naming his entire side, the likely members of the opposition side and even the referee.

    The gamble paid off, as all his predictions were accurate and Chelsea progressed to the quarter-final stage.

He Has Hip Hop Moves

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    He may be half a century old, but Jose can still keep it real.

He Threw Away Two Premier League Medals

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    Upon beating Manchester Utd 3-0 to clinch the 2005/05 Premier League title, Chelsea were presented with their medals and the trophy at Stamford Bridge.

    Mourinho immediately threw his medal—and his jacket!—into the crowd. He was then given a second medal, which he also threw out to the Blues fans.

    At least one of these medals has since turned up at auction, fetching £21,600 in 2008 and £16,800 in 2010.



He Does Plenty for Charity

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    In addition to working with charity initiatives in Israel and Palestine, Mou donated his "lucky" jacket to Tsunami Relief (it raised £545,000) and his 2010 FIFA World Coach of the Year to Breakthrough Breast Cancer and The Sir Bobby Foundation (set up for his former mentor Bobby Robson).

He Uses Culinary Analogies

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    Rather than explain the fact that injuries were preventing him from fielding a Chelsea side that plays the flourishing style of football expected by the oligarch owner, Jose Mourinho used an egg and omelet analogy prior to a Champions League match with Rosenborg:

    "It's all about omelets and eggs. No eggs, no omelet—and it depends on the quality of the eggs."

    Unfortunately for Jose, Roman Abramovich felt that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, and he was sacked a few days after this press conference.

He Comes from a Football Family

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    The Special One yearned to become a professional footballer, just like his father. Felix Mourinho was a goalkeeper for Portuguese sides Vitoria Setubal and Belenenses, and he also earned an international cap for a 1972 match against the Republic of Ireland.

    Mourinho Snr became a manager in the 1970s and coached in his homeland up until 1996.

He Has Style

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    As fashion bible GQ notes, sartorial style in English management didn't extend far beyond tracksuits, ill-fitting blazers and camel coats before Mourinho.

    With his tailored suits and Armani overcoats, The Portuguese made standing on muddy sideline look good.

He Is a Man of Many Hairstyles!

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    While Mourinho doesn't go through as many radical hairstyle changes as David Beckham or Neymar, he certainly has sported many different looks over the years.

    He had a jet-black bouffant in his early days at Barcelona and since becoming a silver fox in management has experimented with slick back, unkempt and unshaven, neatly coiffed, crew cut and I've-had-an-expensive-haircut-for-a-grooming-commercial.

He "Humble Brags" While Mocking Others

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    When asked about Arsenal's sensational 5-4 victory over Tottenham in 2004, Mou simultaneously slighted his London rivals and boasted of his own defensive policies. The BBC quotes:

    "Five-four is a hockey score, not a football score.

    "In a three-against-three training match, if the score reaches 5-4 I send the players back to the dressing rooms as they are not defending properly.

    "So to get a result like that in a game of 11 against 11 is disgraceful."

He Insulted His Chelsea Predecessor's Linguistic Skills

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    Mourinho spoke only Italian when he arrived in Milan, claiming he learned the language in three weeks.

    He later coupled this impressive claim with a cutting jibe at his Chelsea predecessor Claudio Ranieri:

    "I studied Italian five hours a day for many months to ensure I could communicate with the players, media and fans. Ranieri had been in England for five years and still struggled to say 'good morning' and 'good afternoon.'"

    Fortunately, if he was right about Ranieri, the Italian wouldn't have understood the insult anyway.

He Got Overexcited at Old Trafford

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    Before he came to the Premier League, Mourinho made his presence known in the English game when his Porto side knocked Manchester Utd out of the 2003/04 Champions League.

    When Costinha scored in the 90th minute to knock the Red Devils out, he sprinted to celebrate with his team. It's safe to say he left the confines of the technical area for this one.

He Called Arsene Wenger a "Voyeur"

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    Arsene Wenger is just one of the managers to have endured Mourinho's forked tongue.

    In 2005, Mou inferred that the Frenchman should look at his own team's failings rather than obsessing over the Blues. From The Guardian:

    "I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, they have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks and speaks and speaks about Chelsea."

    After Wenger threatened legal action, Jose was forced to apologise of this comments.

He Was Proud of a "Beautiful Defeat" to Barcelona

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    The Special One isn't often magnanimous in defeat, but he described Inter Milan's 1-0 Champions League loss to Barcelona at the Nou Camp as "the most beautiful defeat" of his life.

    It was particularly beautiful as a 3-1 lead from the first leg of the semi-final meant he had booked a place in his second Champions League final.

    Mou was in rude health at the end of the match, where he clashed with Victor Valdes while celebrating.

He Is Passionate

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    When things don't go his way, Mou's passion for victory is often put on display. He felt the pangs of injustice at a recent Copa del Rey match, causing him to vent by nearly taking someone's head off with an unused ball.

He Is a Winner

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    Mourinho is a champion of Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. He is a champion of Europe.

    Wherever he goes, he is a champion.

    For all his jovial antics, controversial quotes and self publicity, Moruinho cares about one thing: winning.

    Above all, this is the best reason to admire him.