An XI of Jose Mourinho's most used players, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and John Terry

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Capital One Cup Final

Deck the hall with boughs of holly, Jose Mourinho is back in the Premier League.

Say what you like about the enigmatic 'Special One'; his return to English football means that entertainment is guaranteed and seeing him in the Tottenham dugout will be truly fascinating.

Mourinho was hurriedly appointed just a matter of hours after Mauricio Pochettino's departure and has therefore been given limited time to prepare for his first game against West Ham United.

So, it could be a while before we see which Tottenham players become the new teacher's pet and it's no secret that Mourinho has had some favourites throughout his career.

But aside from those well-documented soft spots for Marouane Fellaini and Michael Essien, who are the players that Mourinho has entrusted the most in his starting XI's?

Mourinho's most used XI

Well, using the bank of data on Transfermarkt, we've been able to view exactly who those players are and have constructed an XI that Mourinho would be proud of.

We've gone for a 4-3-3 to accommodate some of the most special players and have been incredibly strict with keeping them in the correct positions - check out the full selection down below:

GK - Petr Cech

Club(s): Chelsea

Appearances under Mourinho: 195

One of the best signings that Mourinho has ever made, Cech still holds the record for the most clean sheets (24) in a single Premier League season during the title-winning 2004-05 campaign.

Cech could even have bolstered his position in this team if it wasn't for Thibaut Courtois usurping him during the second year of Mourinho's return. He'll always be loved by the Portuguese, though.

Charlton Athletic v Chelsea

LB - Marcelo

Club(s): Real Madrid

Appearances under Mourinho: 113

Not a traditional Mourinho defender by any stretch of the imagination, but even the defensive-minded coach couldn't look past Marcelo's devastating runs forward in Spanish football.

The Brazilian is also helped by the fact that his nearest competitor - Ashley Cole - ranks exactly 40 appearances below him. We'll let you decide what that says about Mourinho and left-backs. 

Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

CB - Ricardo Carvalho 

Club(s): Porto, Chelsea and Real Madrid

Appearances under Mourinho: 256

Few players have ever been so adored by Mourinho, so much so he played under the 56-year-old at three separate clubs and that includes when he was past his best at Real Madrid.

Nevertheless, there could be no doubting Carvalho's talents when he lifted the 2004 Champions League and played an integral role in one of the Premier League's greatest ever back fours.

Aston Villa v Chelsea

CB - John Terry (C)

Club(s): Chelsea

Appearances under Mourinho: 266

Ah, the record-holder himself. Terry may only have played under Mourinho's stewardship at a single club, albeit across two spells, but he's officially the top dog with 10 more games than Carvalho. 

Terry delivered next-level performances between 2004 and 2007, was an ever-present during the Premier League title win of 2014-15 and only fell out of favour at the very end of Mourinho's tenure.


RB - Paulo Ferreira

Club(s): Porto and Chelsea

Appearances under Mourinho: 175

Another one of the players that Mourinho transferred from Porto to Chelsea, which proved to be a masterstroke for a defender who often went under-appreciated across nine years in west London.

Ferreira's best football came under Mourinho and he collected over 50 more appearances than his nearest rivals in Alvaro Arbeloa and Javier Zanetti. He only scored one goal in that time, mind.

FA Cup Final: Manchester United v Chelsea

CM - Frank Lampard

Club(s): Chelsea

Appearances under Mourinho: 215

By the time Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge in 2013, Lampard had run out of gas and moved to Manchester City the following summer. That should tell you everything about the first spell.

Lampard is the most capped midfielder or striker from all of Mourinho's clubs, winning two Premier League titles, three domestic cups and scoring more than 60 goals under his management. 

FA Cup 4th Round: Chelsea v Nottingham Forest

CM - Nemanja Matic

Club(s): Chelsea and Manchester United

Appearances under Mourinho: 159

The only United player to make the list, all of Matic's best Premier League displays have come when Mourinho has been barking from the technical area and signing him in 2014 was pure genius.

Matic was the unsung hero of the 2014-15 title-winning side and although United fell short of Manchester City in 2017-18, the Serbian was one of the bright-sparks in midfield.

Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final

CM - Xabi Alonso

Club(s): Real Madrid

Appearances under Mourinho: 151

One of the classiest operators in football history and Mourinho was no stranger to that fact across three years in Spain, awarding Alonso almost two-thirds of his total appearances at the Bernabeu.

But the battle for the third place in midfield was certainly tight. Essien was just four matches away from sneaking into the team, while Claude Makelele and Mesut Ozil were also very close.

Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

RW - Angel Di Maria

Club(s): Real Madrid

Appearances under Mourinho: 137

Just like left-backs, Mourinho didn't seem to be too loyal when it came to right wingers and Di Maria - despite being one of Mourinho's greatest ever signings - could be seen as a surprising pick.

Nevertheless, the Argentine earned his manager's faith at Real Madrid with some dazzling displays and we didn't have it in our hearts to ditch him in favour of a positional switch for Eden Hazard.

Real Madrid v Lyon - UEFA Champions League

ST - Didier Drogba

Club(s): Chelsea

Appearances under Mourinho: 186

Despite managing some of the greatest strikers of our time, Mourinho just kept coming back to this absolute footballing colossus and the pair happily won three Premier League crowns together.

Bringing him back for a swan-song season at Stamford Bridge was more than enough to oust silver medalist Karim Benzema, while Marcus Rashford surprisingly takes the final step on the podium.


LW - Cristiano Ronaldo

Club(s): Real Madrid

Appearances under Mourinho: 164

I wonder why this bloke got game time under Mourinho? Although the Portuguese boss could be unorthodox at times, even he knew when he had one of the greatest ever players on his books.

Ronaldo and Mourinho would eventually come to blows during their third season at the Bernabeu, but the legendary striker still bagged a European Golden Shoe and smashed home 168 goals.

RCD Mallorca v Real Madrid CF  - Liga BBVA

Will any Spurs players join?

There it is: the Mourinho XI in all it's glory.

It might not translate to the greatest team that ever played under Mourinho, but we feel pretty confident that a side with prime Lampard, Drogba, Terry and Ronaldo would cause plenty of havoc.

And only time will tell whether any Tottenham players will break into this team over the coming seasons. One thing is for sure, though, it won't be an easy task.

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