Jose Mourinho: No longer the 'Special One'
Former Chelsea manager’s star has fallen as big clubs now look elsewhere
So said Jose Mourinho after taking the Chelsea job in 2004. When, as is expected, Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge to take over the Blues for a second time, the confidence, the ego, the arrogance will be dimmed slightly. He was once the best coach in the world – now teams are looking elsewhere.
Mourinho was widely linked with both manager jobs at Manchester United and Manchester City over the years. Some saw him as the ideal successor to Sir Alex Ferguson - combative, a born winner, someone who would impress, inspire, and demand respect – who would continue the Red Devils trophy winning ways without delay.
Others pointed out that the ex-Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan manager was simply a big spender, who would empty United’s coffers and then leave in two or three years time, leaving some poor sap to pick up the pieces.
City appeared an ideal fit - money, short-term'ism, a relatively low base to build from – but even the powers that be at the Eithad have gone elsewhere, with the placid, thoughtful Manuel Pellegrini the favourite to take over from Roberto Mancini.
The nouveau riche Paris St Germain was another potential destination, but the French club are battling hard to retain Carlo Ancelotti, who led them to a first Ligue 1 title for 19 years.
Who wants Ancelotti? Real Madrid, who are jettisoning Mourinho after a dire season in the league and a comprehensive Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund (ignoring the two late goals in the second leg that brought respectability to the aggregate scoreline).
Mourinho will leave behind yet more chaos in Madrid, having upset numerous players including club captain and Spanish No. 1 Iker Casillas, poked the eye of former assistant and current head coach of Barcelona Tito Vilanova, and challenged the Bernabeu support head first. His relationship with the press has been non-existent at best and all out war at worst, and this has all combined to make his time in the Madrid very uncomfortable.
So Mourinho seems set to return to the Bridge and into the arms of Roman Abramovich. Their relationship is reported to have thawed since they departed, but the Russian owner has never liked the idea of his manager having full control over the club’s affairs.
How long until manager and owner clash? What will happen to Fernando Torres? Will Mourinho be able to install the kind of blind loyalty in the new generation of Chelsea players like Eden Hazard and Juan Mata as he has in the old guard of John Terry and Frank Lampard?
A return to Chelsea brings with it some comforts, and the ‘Special One’ has stated his affection for the English game. He respects the media here more, so he says, because they respect him more, but it is easy to respect someone when they are winning.
When the wins and the medals dry up, suddenly the spotlight focuses on other things. All news is good news, Mourinho might think, but the second coming of the Special One might fail to live up to the headlines.
Chelsea offers the chance of redemption after the Madrid madness but it could also be a poisoned chalice that ends the notion of the Special One.
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