All Hail Jose Mourinho, Football's Great Provocateur
Another day, another batch of dynamite sticks set fizzing by the great provocateur, Jose Mourinho. For all the Balotellis, Zlatans and Joey Bartons in this world, there is still no greater entertainer in football than the man who dubbed himself The Special One.
Where would we be without Mourinho? Bored and several miles deeper in clichés, that's where.
For his latest turn, Mourinho served up a delectable triple whammy in an interview with Portuguese outlet RTP. He accused FIFA of rigging their Manager of the Year award (Guardian), claimed Rafa Benitez tried to take down his pictures at Inter Milan (Yahoo!) and his narrowed his next coaching destination down to "Spain, Italy, England and France."
He also said Andre Villas-Boas, his former assistant-cum-protege at Inter and the man who is striving to outgrow his label of mini-me Mourinho, was nothing like him. And he suggested the next generation in Portugal has grown up dreaming about being a coach in his image (Yahoo!).
Mourinho reaches new low questioning probity ofDel Bosque manager of year award— Jimmy Burns (@Jimmy_Burns) March 20, 2013
Priceless. Just priceless. Amidst all the banality—the feigned enthusiasm and generic nothingness spouted by players and coaches on an hourly basis to feed our (deemed) insatiable thirst for soundbites—Mourinho is a rare beacon of charisma and personality.
Were HBO ever to develop a show set in the world of professional football (they really should), a character modeled entirely on Mourinho would be the obvious focus. Just take what you see and you've already got a lead figure as compelling and complicated as Tony Soprano, Nucky Thompson or Will McAvoy.
Mourinho, like all of the above, is many things to many people. To some, he's a ruthless, egotistical bore on an endless quest for our admiration. To others, he's a genius who deserves every second of our attention. There are players at Real Madrid who reportedly can't stand him. Others are behind him all the way.
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"Mourinho" the HBO series already sounds like a winner.
The pilot would open with Mourinho reclined in his Real Madrid office, surveying a bottle of red wine sent by Sir Alex Ferguson and wondering aloud the setting for his next act: "Where shall it be for Mourinho? Who shall inherit thine infinite wisdom and roguish charms? PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City—destiny awaits my fair footballing maidens. Destiny awaits."
Back in the real world, speculation over where Mourinho will coach next season will be at the top of the football agenda until it's resolved. Once it is, the attention will shift to what he has planned and what it means to the team and league he's wearing his designer suits in.
When Mourinho talks, the football world listens.
"I have no agreement with Real Madrid to go. I have signed nothing, that's a nonsense," Mourinho said in the interview with RTP that keeps on giving (as per Fox Soccer).
Wherever Mourinho goes will benefit, that should go without saying. The 50-year-old's credentials as a coach are undeniable—he's proved himself in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain—and he brings with him an allure that can help attract the very best players on the planet.
He's not always right, and there are times his desperate need for supremacy unlocks the spoilt schoolboy beneath, but the football world is a far brighter place for having Mourinho in it.
Like Ferguson, the manager he most admires, we'll miss The Special One more we know when he's gone.
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