José Mourinho: Champions League Or Bust

Derek ViveirosContributor IApril 11, 2010

FLORENCE, ITALY - APRIL 10:  FC Internazionale Milano Head Coach Jose Mourinho during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Artemio Franchi on April 10, 2010 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

His record should speak for itself. Seven league cups, five league titles, a UEFA Cup and a Champions League crown. Fourteen trophies in eight years. An unbeaten home record of 150 games.

But as we all know, José speaks for José.

“I’m not a defender of old or new football managers. I believe in good ones and bad ones, those that achieve success and those that don’t. Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”—José Mourinho
Dubbed "The Special One" by the English media after that first of many memorable press conferences during his Chelsea tenure, José Mário dos Santos Félix Mourinho now faces his toughest challenge to date—de-throning arguably the best team of the decade, while stopping football's most feared player.

He is arguably the most technically prepared coach of the modern football era, and will without a doubt have his team ready for the challenge which lies ahead. 

When the whistle blows for the Champions League semi-final, Barcelona can expect to see Inter Milan playing vintage Mourinho football. Combative, physical and high-pressure defensive tactics to derail Barcelona's midfield backbone of Xavi and Iniesta, while Messi will get a high dosage of Lucio and Maicon at every touch.

You would think that being the first manager to ever take three different teams to a Champions League semi-final would be enough to silence his critics. But José Mourinho was brought to Milan for one reason only: Win the Champions League.

“Pressure? What pressure? Pressure is poor people in the world trying to feed their families. There is no pressure in football.”—José Mourinho
To raise club football's most coveted silverware, José will have to take a trip down memory lane. First, he must venture into the Nou Camp and overcome the club in which he worked under his mentor, Sir Bobby Robson. Then, if he succeeds at eliminating the former European Champs, he could possibly be pitted against Louis Van Gaal's Bayern Munich or Olympique Lyonnais of France.

Ironically, Van Gaal was Robson's successor at Barcelona during Mourinho's tenure in Catalonia.

Inter President Massimo Moratti may be hard pressed keeping Mourinho around Stadio Giuseppe Meazza for the remainder of his contract. The Italian media, which he quarrels with on a regular basis, constantly speculates a move to Liverpool one day or Real Madrid the next. As long as he remains to be the outspoken manager who won the heart of the British media, the Italians will not rest until he has vanished from Serie A, or has held a press conference with Europe's most prestigious trophy on the table beside him.

"I enjoy the work, I enjoy every minute of my professional life."—José Mourinho


So do we, José.