Jose Mourino has been a polarising figure since he made his managerial debut with Porto on the big stage back in 2002.
Depending on which side of the spectrum of liking him you fall on, the decorated Portuguese tactician is a ‘genius’ or an ‘entertainment killer.’
Respected and feared by his peers, yet often seen by his critics as an egocentric me-first person, he leaves no one indifferent.
More often accused of paying no attention to an eye-pleasing football than any other manager, the 59-year-old seems he could care less about trash talk.
But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and those who are still vocal about Mourinho’s defensive-minded approach – go ask Roma’s supporters whether they care?
The Giallorossi fans were condemned to a 14-year wait for a major trophy before the former Inter Milan boss led them to a historic Europa Conference League crown in 2021/22.
From an objective point of view, Mourinho is a winner, and there is no piece of evidence to play down this claim.
When he signed for Chelsea in 2004, he identified himself as the ‘Special One,’ but 18 years on, no one can consider his assessment inaccurate.
Mourinho has always paid attention to how he is perceived in the world of football and demanded respect whenever he felt that he was not considered the most accomplished manager of his generation.
Though he has been fortunate to lead some of the best European teams over the past two decades, he has earned the right to call himself the ‘Special One.’
Two Champions League wins as manager, coupled with numerous individual and collective accolades acquired throughout an illustrious managerial career, reinforce his self-proclaimed nickname.
Indeed, Mourinho has attained 27 pieces of silverware as manager with virtually every side he has been in charge of since launching his career two decades ago.
Everything started at the Estadio do Dragao in 2002 when a relatively inexperienced and unknown Portuguese manager helped Porto become a force to be reckoned with in the Primeira Liga.
Despite leading the Dragons to back-to-back domestic titles and UEFA Cup glory in 2003, Mourinho’s crown achievement at Porto was a memorable Champions League success in 2004.
On top of that, he helped the club win Taca de Portugal and Supertaca Candido de Oliveira before switching to the Premier League with Chelsea.
Repeatedly targeted by the English media and some of his colleagues from other clubs, Mourinho felt tremendous pressure during his first stint at Stamford Bridge.
Yet, it did not stop him from guiding Chelsea to their first top-flight title in 50 years during his maiden season at the club, breaking numerous records in the process.
Back-to-back Premier League titles, a couple of EFL Cup crowns, FA Cup and FA Community Shield glory formed part of Mourinho’s outrageous three-year spell in London.
From 2008 to 2010, Mourinho turned Inter into one of the most formidable sides in European football en route to winning two Serie A titles and two more domestic cup trophies.
However, the Giuseppe Meazza faithful will forever remember the Special One for delivering the Champions League crown in 2010.
He ended the club’s 45-year wait for success in Europe’s most prestigious tournament and left Lombardy in tears.
In 2010, Mourinho took charge of Real Madrid, carrying a reputation as a ‘park the bus’ manager based on his Champions League triumph with Inter.
Many had celebrated the Portuguese’s underwhelming inaugural season at the Santiago Bernabeu as confirmation of his inability to guide attacking-minded sides.
However, haters had to shut their mouths the following year as Mourinho navigated Los Merengues to a record-breaking La Liga title.
Though he failed to win the Champions League with Madrid, their 2012/12 La Liga success remains the most dominant in the history of Spanish top-flight football.
He left Spain in 2013 with three titles under his belt.
Return to Chelsea
Unlike his first stint in west London, Mourinho lasted only two years during his second spell.
But it was enough to win another Premier League trophy with the Blues in 2014/15 and guide the Pensioners to FA Cup glory the same season.
He departed Stamford Bridge as an outcast in December 2015.
After a half-year sabbatical, Mourinho made a shock return to the Premier League to take over the managerial reins of Manchester United from Louis van Gaal.
He won the FA Community Shield and the EFL Cup in his first season at the club.
More importantly, he sealed the Europa League title by defeating Ajax in the Friends Arena showpiece to win Man United their last piece of silverware.
After a troublesome brief spell at Tottenham Hotspur, Mourinho joined Roma in the summer of 2021 and helped them win the inaugural edition of the Europa Conference League.
Only sky is the limit for the Special One after leading the Giallorossi to their first-ever European trophy in his maiden season at the helm.
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