January 23, 1963. A baby was born. But this was to be no ordinary newborn. This toddler would soon become one of football’s most talked about figures in the last decade. He was destined for greatness, destined to become one of the football’s most enigmatic geniuses to ever grace the earth. This diminutive little specimen would be named Jose. Jose Mourinho, after his father. And so the tale begins.
Mourinho is not your average manager, in fact, he’s far from it. He is a showman, a performer. Something that can seldom be said about a manager. I don’t think anyone could argue that it’s not a refreshing sight to see him celebrate with his squad as if he was one of the players, sprinting emphatically down the sideline pumping his arms in disbelief that his team have just scored. His epic knee-slide celebration at the Etihad earlier this year typified this sort of persona, much to the bemusement of football fans worldwide. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has been one of football’s most controversial figures of the last decade. You either love him or hate him. Simples.
Upon Mourinho’s arrival in England, he felt he had something to say. Something that would instill a winning mentality in his London side. During his first Chelsea press conference he made the media fully aware that ‘The Special One’ was in town. “Please, do not call me arrogant. But I do think I am a special one. We can easily win the Premier League. We have a top team, and also a top manager.” It is this self-belief that makes Mourinho one of football’s most iconic figures in recent years. Well-thought out comments like this played a huge role in his highly successful residence as Chelsea manager. Jose always loved playing mind-games, mainly because he came out the victor more often than not. He is as unpredictable a manager you will ever get, which is what makes him so unique.
His current mission is to help Real Madrid claim their 10th European title, something that has been evading their trophy cabinet since 2002. And it is looking less likely as the days go by. Madrid have been, at least by their standards, nothing short of shambolic this season in Spain. The reigning Spanish Champions have been defeated 3 times on the road already this season in the league. They are currently lying 3rd in the table, 11 points off league leaders Barcelona. Most critics would be inclined to think that the title chase is already over, as Barcelona have been unflappable so far this season, winning 14 of their 15 games, recording their best ever start in La Liga history. To add insult to injury,the Spanish club’s hierarchy have been bombarded by 1 question not-stop this year. A question that could spell the end of what’s been a scintillating ride for the reigning Spanish champions. The footballing world has been itching to receive an answer to the query ever since doubts were raised over the future of the two Portuguese personalities in the summer of 2012. Will Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese compatriat Jose Mourinho jump ship from La Liga come summer 2013?
The Special One has always had fire in his belly, a never-wavering passion for the beautiful game. He took up football during his early childhood, and has never once looked back. His hunger to win is imperative to his success. This admirable hunger is highlighted when asked in an interview the following question. Interviewer: “This is the 10th season since you arrived in European football. How much has changed in your life since then? How much have you changed? Mou: “I have more titles, I have more money, I have even more desire to win than I had before.” It is evident that the hunger in Mourinho has never died. There is quite simply no one like him, and most likely, there never will be again. The world is witnessing a manager who will do anything to avert defeat, even gouging opposition staff members in the eye, Tito Vilanova being the victim of Mou’s antics in this particular incident. Usually it would be the players involved in such ludicrous squabbles, but not in this case. Defeat tastes bitter to Mourinho, much more so than to other top managers. It brings out the worst in him. After a defeat against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, he began to lash out. He claimed that Barca had some sort of agreement with UEFA, insisting it was pre-determined that Barca were to win the tournament, right from the first match. Much fuss has also been made of the manner in which Mourinho’s team used to approach ‘El Classico’. He used to send his players in to these huge games with only one thing on their minds. To hurt Barcelona. Pepe was sometimes even used in a midfield role as a battering ram, just so he could rough up Barca’s most coveted possession, Messi. In the last 18 months, he has nurtured Madrid into a team that are capable of beating the Catalan club with their fluid, counter-attacking style of football. For the most part of The Special One’s tenure in Spain, his team have not been able to emulate Barcelona. This was largely due to the fact that Barcelona, in their prime, were, and still are, regarded as one of the best teams to ever grace a football pitch. Had the Catalan club not been in their peek around the time of Mourinho at Madrid, the 2-time former Champions League winner surely would have added to that collection.