Is Jose Mourinho, a man many call a genius, actually a fraud who relies on the money of oligarchs to buy success, or is he just a great manager who has received a bit of help from rich owners?
There is no doubting that Mourinho is a fantastic coach and tactician but the large fees he has spent to achieve his success has tainted his career for some. It is true that wherever he has gone he has had a more expensively assembled squad than all his domestic rivals.
Porto spent far more than anyone else in Portugal during his time there, Chelsea’s Roman revolution blew all the Premier League rivals away, Inter had gained massively in the demise of Juventus and AC Milan, who had both been punished for match fixing, whilst at Real Madrid he had a number of the world's elite among his number.
But does this tell the full story? Well, no, it does not.
He won the Champions League with a Porto side assembled for less money and lacking as much experience as many of their continental rivals. Financially that Porto side was nowhere near as strong as Barcelona, Manchester United or Real Madrid but they still found a miraculous way to win and that is hugely to his credit.
At Inter Milan he domestically was able to run the roost in terms of spending money and therefore league titles but, despite spending decent sums of cash, it was a mere pittance compared to some of Europe's other leading lights.
He also knocked out the great Barcelona side under Pep Guardiola along the road to winning the title, an achievement of tactical intelligence and organisation that only Mourinho could produce.
At Real Madrid he spent a lot once more but less so than previous and later reigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, with astronomical fees paid for the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. However on that occasion his trophy tally was for once lacking due to a certain Catalan rival team at the time.
Even at Chelsea you can make a case for him achieving a lot despite inheriting a very strong side and then dishing out millions to improve it ever more. He took over a side that hadn’t yet discovered the winning formula and he would turn out to be the man to take them to that next level, which he achieved in style.
This was easier said than done as he had to change the club’s mentality and transform them from new kids on the block to great champions, and for this he also deserves great credit.
As other managers in charge of top clubs have found out to their peril in recent years, the Premier League is very unpredictable and anybody can beat anyone. So for him to rack up the record points total he did, losing only one game in his first season, was phenomenal as the blue machine swept almost everyone aside.
Tactically you cannot deny that he is a genius. The fact that he could get some of the world’s most expensive to buy into and be fully committed to his organised, compact style in big games is an example of superb man management skills. His team selections and substitutions are on another level.
His understanding of the game and of what is needed is that of a true genius and this you certainly cannot deny. In interviews John Terry has marvelled at how he would predict the exact time his team or the opponents would score and almost always be spot on. Money or not, he is simply the best tactician in world football.
Another point that cannot be escaped is how he helped improve players and, under his leadership, make them reach a level that they had never reached before. Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder - these are all players to have truly flourish with Mourinho in command.
And in the case of a some players mentioned they would never reach the heights they achieved under Mourinho once he departed. The most notable case of this post-Mourinho demise being Diego Milito, who fired Inter Milan to Champions League glory with two goals in the final to see off Bayern Munich.
This shows that whether he buys expensive players or not, he improves them, which is something that a manager solely reliant on money and big names in his squad wouldn’t be able to do.
In addition a lot of young coaches have improved themselves and become top managers having been under his wing. Steve Clarke, Brendan Rodgers and Andre Villas-Boas spring instantly to mind.
A top manager that has won all Mourinho has won, can’t achieve that without good reason and he is a top coach that has spent his money wisely and when needed, often being impulsive in the transfer market.
Long gone are the old days when you didn’t need to spend to win and Mourinho knows that, with there obviously being the occasional exception as Diego Simeone will tell you.
Those on the other side of the argument will suggest that during all his success he has always been the big fish in the domestic league financially and not exactly a tadpole in the European market either. They will say that he tried a season without spending a lot at Chelsea last year and the experiment failed.
At Porto he was in a one-team league at the time, at Chelsea he had a fortune at his disposal with Arsenal and United going through transition on his arrival. at Inter the competitors were still recovering from the Calciopoli scandal whilst at Madrid he was outclassed by Pep Guardiola during the majority of his time there.
However on the other hand he has basically won wherever he has been and some of the achievements and feats he has reached have been outstanding.
Trebles at Porto (in his first season at a big club) and at Inter, which of course meant winning Europe’s premier club prize with both unfancied teams. Winning Chelsea’s first two league titles in such a dominant style un-matched by any other Premier League team to this day, amassing a record points total for the division along the way.
He also won La Liga when Guardiola's great Barcelona side with Messi firing on all cylinders, were near their peak. Another momentous achievement.
All this added to the numerous displays and acts of tactical genius down the years, that you could name on several hands. That added on top of all the players he has helped improve, with many having admitted that they loved working under him.
Mourinho has been helped by money but certainly not reliant on it. For all the questions marks against his name, the man is one of a kind and is among the greatest coaches to have ever walked this earth.
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