As the new Chelsea manager leaves behind a divided dressing room and disgruntled fans at Real Madrid, Goal celebrates the trademark confrontations that have defined his career
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
It was far from a happy ending. Jose Mourinho left Real Madrid this weekend with a deeply divided dressing room and many Madridistas also against him at the end of his turbulent three-year tenure, a far cry from his reigns at Porto and Inter when he departed in a blaze of glory after winning the Champions League – with the supporters longing him to stay and the players in tears.
At Madrid, several members of the senior squad did not even bother to say goodbye to the man who has led them for the last three years. Now, the Portuguese heads to London for a second spell at Chelsea where he will need to mend his relationship with Blues owner Roman Abramovich, which ended on a sour note with the coach’s controversial exit in 2007.
With all of that in mind, Goal looks back at some of the major confrontations throughout Mourinho’s top-level coaching career, an A to Z of his greatest controversies over the last decade.
A is for ambulances: When Petr Cech suffered a severe head injury after clattering into another player at Reading, Mourinho pointed the finger at the ambulance service and claimed that their slow reaction could have proved fatal for his goalkeeper. “Thirty minutes in the dressing room, waiting for an ambulance… If my goalkeeper dies in that dressing room, it is something English football has to think about,” the Portuguese raged. The reality, however, was rather different: the ambulance arrived after seven minutes and within 19, Cech was already in hospital.
B is for Benitez: Mourinho and Rafa Benitez have never seen eye to eye and their rivalry was not restricted only to the pitch during the Portuguese’s time at Chelsea and the Spaniard’s spell at Liverpool, when the Reds beat the Blues in two Champions League semi-finals. Later, Benitez replaced Mourinho at Inter and the Portuguese poured scorn on his rival’s triumph in the Club World Cup as he took the credit for the trophy. “I thought he was going to thank me for the title I gave him,” Mourinho said. “Inter fans would tell you how they really feel about it.”
C is for the Camp Nou car park: Furious at several decisions by referee Jose Antonio Teixeira Vitienes in Madrid’s Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg clash at Camp Nou in January 2012, Mourinho waited for the official in the car park following his side’s elimination and directed abuse at the Cantabrian. “Now you will go and have a cigar and you will laugh, artist!” he is reported to have told the official. The Portuguese had earlier appealed for three penalties, believed Lionel Messi should have been dismissed for a second bookable offence and was unhappy at Sergio Ramos’ red card. In the press room he said: “I won’t speak about the referee, but what I have heard in the dressing room is that it is impossible to win here.”
D is for Dani Alves: When Barca’s Dani Alves claimed Mourinho had not invented football, the Portuguese sarcastically compared the defender to Albert Einstein and reminded the Brazilian that “it was a Portuguese” who discovered his country. Mourinho also accused Alves of simulating to get Pepe sent off in the Champions League semi-final against Barca in 2011 and can clearly be seen shouting obscenities to the Brazilian in another Clasico clash.
E is for EPL:
Mourinho met Arsenal’s Ashley Cole without permission to discuss a transfer to Chelsea and, following an inquiry, the English Premier League fined the Portuguese £200,000 for tapping up the player. The punishment was later reduced to £75,000.
F is for Frisk: Popular referee Anders Frisk was forced to retire from the game after he was wrongly accused by Mourinho of inviting then Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard to his room at half-time in a Champions League last-16 clash at Camp Nou. Rijkaard remonstrated with the official at the break but the Dutchman was not allowed to follow the official into his room. Mourinho, however, claimed otherwise and blamed the invented incident for the second-half dismissal of Didier Drogba as Chelsea lost 2-1. The Swede later received death threats from Blues supporters and was forced out of the game altogether. Uefa referees’ chief Volker Roth later labelled Mourinho ‘the enemy of football’ for the Frisk fiasco.
G is for Guardiola: Mourinho was assistant coach at Barcelona when Pep Guardiola was club captain and the pair were close, but there was no love lost between them as they went head to head for two seasons in Spain. The Portuguese mocked the Catalan following the Copa del Rey final in 2011 after Guardiola had lamented a close offside call which saw a Pedro strike ruled out. “There is now a new group of which only he is a member, which criticises referees’ correct decisions.” Guardiola responded with a rant of his own before Barca and Madrid met in the Champions League and after the Catalans came out on top, Mourinho attacked his former friend once again. “He knows how he has won the Champions League twice,” he said, bemoaning what he called ‘The Scandal of Stamford Bridge’ – when Pep’s 2009 side survived to beat the Blues as several decisions went in their favour.
H is for handcuffs: Mourinho received a three-game touchline ban and a €4,000 fine following a “handcuffs” gesture during Inter’s game against Genoa in February, 2010. The Portuguese protested as Walter Samuel and Ivan Cordoba were sent off, and made the gesture (in front of the television cameras, for maximum effect) as Samuel Eto’o was booked, alluding to victimisation from the officials.
I is for Iker: Not long into his reign as Real Madrid coach, Mourinho claimed captain Iker Casillas was the best goalkeeper in the world. But relations with the Spain shot-stopper proved prickly from the outset and the Portuguese benched his skipper in December of last year. Later, when Iker was injured, he signed Diego Lopez and kept the new man in the side for the remainder of the campaign, not even calling Casillas up for the last match of the season.
J is for Jesualdo Ferreira: Mourinho met veteran coach Jesualdo Ferreira in the 1980s when he was a student at the Lisbon Superior Institute for Physical Education and Ferreira was a teacher. Mou later refused to accept Ferreira as his assistant in his first coaching role at Benfica and mocked the older man in a column with Portuguese paper Record as he wrote: “This could be the story of a donkey who worked for 30 years but never became a horse.” Ferreira, however, went on to win three titles in a row with Porto.
K is for Klopp: Ahead of Madrid’s Champions League semi-final tie against Borussia Dortmund in April, Mourinho hit out at BVB boss Jurgen Klopp. “Klopp talks to much,” he said. “Since the draw, he has spoken every day.”
L is for laundry baskets: Mourinho clambered into a laundry basket in a Champions League quarter-final tie against Bayern Munich in order to beat a ban and deliver his pre-match and half-time team talks. The coach was wheeled in and out of the dressing room without Uefa’s knowledge despite being barred from contact with his players in both legs. Chelsea later denied the claims.
M is for Muntari: Mourinho caused controversy in the Islamic world by questioning Sulley Muntari’s decision to fast during Ramadan. After substituting the Ghanaian during Inter’s draw with Bari in 2009, the Portuguese said: “Muntari had some problems related to Ramadan, perhaps with this heat it’s not good for him to be doing this [fasting]. Ramadan has not arrived at the ideal moment for a player to play a football match.” The comments drew strong criticism from prominent Islamic figures in Italy.
N is for nationality: Mourinho has blamed what he considers to be poor treatment in Madrid on a very Iberian issue. “It is difficult to be a Portuguese in Spain,” he claimed earlier this year. The 50-year-old also told the media last year that he would sign no more Portuguese players for Madrid after seeing Fabio Coentrao suffer in the Spanish capital. “The Portuguese have a tough life at Real Madrid,” he explained. “I wouldn’t bring any more Portuguese players here – they have to have a special mentality to resist a situation which is not easy for them.”
O is for O’Neill: Mourinho attacked former Celtic coach Martin O’Neill before the Scottish side met Barcelona in the Uefa Cup in 2004. Recalling the 2003 Uefa Cup final between his Porto side and O’Neill’s Celtic, Mourinho said: “We kept the ball and they just ran all over the pitch trying to get to us with their horrible and aggressive style.”
P is for Pepe: When Pepe defended benched club captain Casillas after a Liga clash against Valladolid in April, Mourinho turned on his once trusted defender. “Pepe has a problem – and his name is Raphael Varane,” the coach claimed, alluding to the 20-year-old defender who displaced the Portugal centre-back in the team. Pepe hasn’t played since.
Q is for Queiroz: “Portugal have no chance of winning the World Cup, even if Cristiano Ronaldo plays at 1,000 per cent,” Mourinho said of the side coached by Carlos Queiroz in 2010. “What Mourinho says makes us think deeply,” responded Queiroz, who was said to be furious by his compatriot’s remarks. But his team was unable to respond on the pitch and Cristiano Ronaldo was nowhere near 100 per cent in a sterile side, let alone 1,000%.
R is for Ronaldo: During his time at Chelsea, Mourinho was embroiled in a war of words with Ronaldo after claiming Manchester United often found favour with referees. Ronaldo responded by calling Mourinho a sore loser, but the coach hit back by saying: “He doesn’t show maturity and respect. Maybe a difficult childhood, no education, maybe [it is] the consequence of that.”
S is for Stick: Mourinho’s most infamous bust-up in Italy was with former Catania sporting director Pietro Lo Monaco. Angered by Jose’s conduct following Inter’s controversial 2-1 win over the Sicilians, Lo Monaco roared that “Mourinho deserves to be smacked in the teeth with a stick.” The Special One responded with a classic line of his own: “As for Lo Monaco, I do not know who he is. I have heard of Bayern Monaco [the Italian name for Bayern Munich] and the Monaco GP, the Tibetan Monaco [Monk], and the principality of Monaco. I’ve never heard of any others.”
T is for Tito: Perhaps his lowest blow: Mourinho poked Barca coach (then assistant) Tito Vilanova in the eye following a melee at the end of Madrid’s Spanish Supercopa defeat to the Catalans in August of 2011 and later stunned the media as he said: “Who is Pito Vilanova? I don’t know who Pito Vilanova is…”
U is for Uefa and Unicef: During his most memorable press-room rant in Spain, Mourinho accused Barcelona of receiving favours from Uefa and also questioned the Catalan club’s working relationship with charity Unicef as he reeled off a long list of conspiracy theories.
V is for Valdano: Mourinho and Madrid’s then director general Jorge Valdano were all smiles as the Portuguese was unveiled in the summer of 2010, but a power struggle ensued and the coach publicly hit out at the Argentine for failing to defend his side’s interests. “[He] should be defending the team,” Mourinho said in December of 2010. “The club has a structure but it’s not working – I want a meeting with the president.” And, in the summer, Valdano was gone.
W is for Wenger: After Arsene Wenger made comments on Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Everton and the Blues’ League Cup defeat against Charlton, Mourinho famously labelled the Frenchman a ‘voyeur’. “I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur,” said the Portuguese coach. “He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea. He should be worried about them [Arsenal]. He’s worried about us, he’s always talking about us. It’s Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea.” Wenger had merely claimed the Blues’ dip in form had given the club’s rivals “a little bit of hope” in the title race.
X is for Xavi: The Barcelona midfielder told Portuguese paper Record last year: “Guardiola has revolutionised football, there is no comparison – his worth is considerably higher [than Mourinho’s].” The Madrid boss replied by simply saying: “Xavi should concentrate on playing football.”
Y is for Yorkshire terrier: Mourinho was arrested and cautioned after allegedly refusing to allow police to quarantine his pet dog – a Yorkshire terrier – in 2007. The Portuguese received a call from his wife telling him police were at their home in London, rushed home in a taxi from an award ceremony and grabbed the animal from a health official.
Z is for Zeman: When former Roma and Lazio coach Zdenek Zeman claimed that Mourinho was a ‘mediocre’ tactician, the Portuguese hit back with some strong words. “I am a mediocre coach? Okay! I respect every opinion,” Mourinho stated. “Zeman? I do not know him. Where does he play? He is a coach? Sorry, I did not know that. Now that I am on holiday I will look him up on Google to find out who he is and what he has won.”
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