The Special One

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Image from inthestands.co.uk

The media loves him, fans of his teams adore him, and so many other people just can’t stand him – of course, the man is none other than current Real Madrid manager José Mourinho.

The self-proclaimed “Special One” (back when he joined Chelsea in the summer of 2004 he said “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one,” which prompted the media to officially dub him just that) has made a career for himself solely in football management.

Mourinho never made it as a professional footballer, but that never stopped him from making it in the sport; in September of 2000 Mourninho was promoted to manager of Portuguese giants Benfica (he was previously the assistant manager) but after the president refused to extend his contract, Mourinho resigned just a few months later in December of that same year.

The Special One then joined another Portuguese side, União de Leiria, in April of 2001, and after overachieving with the small club, he caught the attention of the team that would truly kickstart his managerial career.

He joined Benfica’s Portuguese rivals FC Porto in January of 2002, and the rest is history. He introduced a high-pressing system at Porto that encouraged his teams to win the ball back quickly and dominate play, and with signings such as Ricardo Carvalho and Deco, his Porto side quickly became a force to be reckoned with.

The following season, his team would go on to win a trebel of the Liga Sagres title (11 points ahead of his former club Benfica), the Portuguese cup, and the UEFA Cup – a massive feat for Porto.

But Mourinho’s pinacle in Portgual was yet to come.

In the 03/04 season Mourinho’s Porto won the league with five games to spare, ending with a perfect home record and only losing once in the league all year.

But his defining moment was in the form of the UEFA Champion’s League – he guided Porto all the way to the final where they beat Monaco 3-0 to secure the trophy in what was an incredible achievement for a Portuguese club.

The world saw Mourinho for the first time – his animated touchline celebrations (including his sprint down the line against Manchester United) made him a prominent figure, and the world knew he would be destined for greatness.

He moved to Chelsea in June of 2004 and the Premier League fell in love with him instantly. He transformed Chelsea into an English giant (admittedly with the help of billionaire owner Roman Abramovic) , winning two conesecutive league titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup.

He moved on relatively quickly (like he would continue to do) to Inter Milan  in June of 2008 after a falling out with Abramovic, and at Inter he again achieved massive success.

Mourinho won the league in his first season with Inter, but it would be his second season that was most impressive.

Inter would win the Serie A title for the second season in a row, as well as winning the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champion’s League to complete a famous treble – Mourinho was at it again.

In 2010 he joined Real Madrid, where he was tasked with overthrowing Barcelona, and has achieved success again in the form of one Supercup, one Copa del Rey and one La Liga title.

But that elusive third Champion’s League has escaped Mourinho, and with rumours surfacing that he may be leaving Madrid this summer, he might only have one last chance to win it with Madrid.

Rumours could be just that, rumours. But with Mourinho, moving on has always been a trend. He longs for a return to the Premier League, and with both Manchester clubs as a possible option for the future, his time at Madrid is surely running out.

The Special One has so far had a remarkable managerial career, and he is no where close to finished. Whether it be at Madrid or not, Mourinho will not stop until he win’s that third Champion’s League trophy – and even that will not be enough to quench his unending thirst for victory.

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