José Mourinho – Courting controversy

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After leaving Chelsea, Mourinho joined Internazionale and won the Serie A title

José Mourinho Copyright Якушкин Иван and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 3
José Mourinho

Starting out in football
Porto win Champions League
Chelsea success and struggles
Treble winner with Inter
Real Madrid overcome Barcelona
Football’s Greatest Managers

He often courted controversy in Italy and didn’t make any friends in the Italian media when he called them ‘intellectual prostitutes’. He was referring to their perceived favouritism towards his rivals, Carlo Ancelotti and Luciano Spalletti.

During the summer, Mourinho had a feud with Italy national manager Marcello Lippi. Mourinho had been angered by Lippi’s prediction that Juventus would win the Serie A title. Lippi claimed that Mourinho was no better than his rivals Leonardo and Ciro Ferrara.

He also fell out with Fabio Cannavaro after the Italian captain said that Davide Santon should leave Inter if he wanted to play in the World Cup as he was not getting enough playing time.

Inter’s most successful season

In 2009-10 Inter had another successful league campaign. Mourinho brought in new players, Wesley Sneijder, Thiago Motta and Diego Milito. He also pulled off a remarkable deal which saw him swap Zlatan Ibrahimović for Samuel Eto’o with Barcelona also paying £35m.

They finished top of the table with some memorable victories along the way. None more so than the 4-0 thrashing of rivals AC Milan. Their success in the league didn’t stop Mourinho feeding his hunger for controversy.

Problems with Italian referees

He was highly critical of the standard of refereeing in Italy and was sent off in a match against Derby d’Italia rivals, Juventus, for sarcastically applauding the referee’s decision to award a free kick against his team. Later in the season he was banned for three games after making a ‘handcuffs’ gesture to a TV camera after two of his players were sent off.

This coincided with a slump in form and gave the media more opportunity to criticise Mourinho. Despite the problems, Inter were progressing through the rounds of the Champions League. They beat Chelsea in the second round, CSKA Moscow in the quarter finals and holders, Barcelona in a memorable semi final tie.

Mourinho was named FIFA World Coach of the year in 2010.

Treble winning glory

They won 3-1 in the first leg and lost 1-0 at the Nou Camp. Mourinho called it “the most beautiful defeat of my life.” At the full time whistle he sprinted onto the pitch with is arm pointing to the sky in celebration. It was suggested that this was Mourinho’s way of drawing attention of his achievement to the Real Madrid President.

Inter won the Coppa Italia, beating Roma 1-0 in the final and went on to win the Champions League. They met Bayern Munich, who were managed Louis van Gaal, one of Mourinho’s former mentors, in the final at the Bernabéu, Home of Real Madrid. They won the match 2-0 making Inter the first Italian club to win the treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League.

Joining Real Madrid

At the end of the 2009-10 season, it became clear that Mourinho was heading for Real Madrid. The day after the Champions League final he said: “If you don’t coach Real Madrid then you will always have a gap in your career.”

He joined Real in May 2010 and was faced with the daunting task of getting the club back above their fierce rivals, Barcelona. Over the previous few years, the Catalan side had become an irresistible force under manager Pep Guardiola.

They had a fantastic passing style that centred on quick thinking players such as Xavi and Andres Iniesta. They also had Lionel Messi who was regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time, and were themselves considered by many to be the best team of all time.

The worldwide admiration of Barcelona hurt Real who were traditionally the most glamorous and successful club in world football. When Mourinho knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League with Inter on their way to lifting the trophy it became clear that he would be the man Real would look to appoint to lead their team. Real triumphant against the ‘greatest ever football team’ – Read more

Starting out in football
Porto win Champions League
Chelsea success and struggles
Treble winner with Inter
Real Madrid overcome Barcelona
Football’s Greatest Managers