When Manchester United opened their doors to Jose Mourinho, they were taking quite a risk.
Mourinho is a proven winner, and, after three unsuccessful years, that’s exactly what they needed. But the Portuguese’s penchant for clashing with his own players must have set the alarm bells ringing.
It did in Barcelona in 2008, when the Spanish giants opted to appoint Pep Guardiola instead of the confrontational Mourinho.
Article continues below
It is claimed that United’s hesitancy in appointing Mourinho until May of this year, when it became apparent in 2015 that Louis van Gaal wasn’t cut out for the job, was due to concerns within the club about Mourinho’s often spiteful character.
And reports in today’s newspapers that suggest United’s players are shocked at the personal nature of their manager’s attacks indicate just why Sir Bobby Charlton was initially put off by Mourinho.
Article continues below
Bastian Schweinsteiger was quickly asked to train with the reserves. Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were indirectly blamed for United’s poor performance in the first half against Manchester City. Mourinho criticised Luke Shaw’s defending in Sunday’s defeat at Watford.
We should have expected it, really. The 53-year-old has fallen out with his players at every club he’s managed.
We’ve listed a team of 11 players who have got on the wrong side of Mourinho.
Casillas was Real Madrid’s number one for more than a decade until Mourinho arrived in the Spanish capital in 2010.
The Spanish legend was demoted to the bench after Mourinho discovered that he had contacted Barcelona midfielder Xavi following one El Clasico contest.
Sadly, Casillas’ exit from the club was an unceremonious one.
When Pepe told reporters that Mourinho should show “more respect” to Casillas, his manager hit back by saying: “Pepe has a problem and his name is Raphael Varane.” Ouch.
Clearly, Mourinho didn’t get along with his defenders at Madrid.
He crossed paths with Ramos after the Spaniard reportedly issued an ultimatum to club president Florentino Perez at the end of the 2012-13 season: Sack Mourinho, or I’m leaving.
Gallas recently called Mourinho the best manager in the world, but things weren’t quite so rosy between the pair in 2006 when the defender demanded to leave Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea admitted that the Frenchman threatened to score own goals if he was selected for the first game of the season. The club released a statement on the matter, claiming: “(Gallas) continues to attack Jose Mourinho and this cannot be left unchallenged.”
Kaka wasn’t the same player at Real Madrid as it was at AC Milan. Injuries didn’t help his cause, a disagreement with Mourinho only serving to compound his misery.
The Brazilian told Marca: “It is true that there were things that we disagreed on, but to me I had no choice but to keep working hard and that's what I did.”
Mata’s heart must have sunk when Mourinho’s move to United was confirmed.
Just months after being named Chelsea’s Player of the Year for the second straight season, Mourinho sold Mata to United due to his inability to track back.
Mata would go on to admit that he had “no relationship” with Mourinho. Things seem to have improved at Old Trafford, however.
Mourinho inherited Leon at Madrid and wasted little time in attacking the winger.
“He’s no Zinedine Zidane,” Mourinho said when asked why Leon was left out of his squad. And that wasn’t even the worst of it.
Per Sid Lowe, Mourinho told Leon “that even if the team plane crashed without him on it and he was the only man available, he still would not play the following week.”
Quaresma has failed to apply himself throughout his career, something Mourinho picked up on during his time at Inter Milan.
“Quaresma is likely to come back, but he will have to present himself with a different mentality in order to do what he hasn't done for Inter yet,” Mourinho said after loaning the Portuguese winger to Chelsea.
Putting one egotistical character with another was never going to work.
In 2014, Ronaldo accused Mourinho of creating a “bad atmosphere” at Los Blancos. “He’s no friend of mine,” the Madrid star added.
Mourinho didn’t get on with Balotelli, but then again, nobody does.
The pair are said to have rowed in 2010 after Mourinho left the Italian striker out of his Inter Milan team to face Chelsea in the Champions League.
The Portuguese has since opened up about Balotelli’s antics, retelling a funny story about the forward receiving a second yellow card within seconds of Mourinho pleading with him to avoid any altercations.
“Mourinho is arrogant and selfish, and likes to assert his dominance,” Suazo, who played under Mourinho at Inter Milan, said after failing to make an impression at the San Siro.
There are perhaps few at United who are beginning to see where Suazo is coming from.
Honourable mentions go to Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Ricardo Carvalho. You're not alone.