Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying that Jose Mourinho is a great source of entertainment in the world of soccer. The self-anointed “Special One” is not one to shy away from controversy, and due to the astonishing success he has achieved at clubs that include Real Madrid, Porto, Inter Milan and currently at Chelsea, he is constantly in the limelight. He is charismatic but certainly knows how to ruffle a few feathers, and this has seen him come out with many classic quotes over the years, earning him as many critics as he has admirers.
10. “They brought the bus and left the bus in front of the goal.”
Mourinho guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in the 2004/05 season, but a challenging fixture in September against Spurs caused Mourinho to lash out at Tottenham’s approach to the game. After the match finished 0-0, he would state “as we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and left the bus in front of the goal. I would have been frustrated if I had been a supporter who paid £50 to watch this game because Spurs came to defend.” Whilst he makes a valid point, and it can be frustrating to see teams adopt this tactic, it is a little rich coming from him as his teams are famous for “parking the bus” and the term has become synonymous with his Chelsea team. Mourinho is a very tactical manager, and often against the bigger clubs you will see his team sit back and defend for 90 minutes.
9. “Maybe he should have an IQ test, or go to a mental hospital or something.”
Ricardo Carvalho played under Jose Mourinho both at Chelsea and at Real Madrid, but whilst in Spain their relationship quickly deteriorated. Carvalho picked up an injury and was out of action for some time, and once fit he was unable to get back into the starting 11 as Mourinho could not change his defense. This led Carvalho to speak out and question Mourinho’s decision, resulting in the Portuguese manager to hit back at the defender. Mourinho stated “Ricardo Carvalho seems to have problems understanding things, maybe he should have an IQ test, or go to a mental hospital or something.” Carvalho has since forgiven Mourinho for dropping him and for the comment, but he was surely not too pleased at the time. It is rare for managers to openly criticize their own players, but as we all know, the “Special One” is not like most other managers.
8. “He is a specialist in failure.”
Whilst Mourinho is often funny, witty and charismatic in his interviews, he can also be particularly scathing to other managers. Arsene Wenger is often on the receiving end of these jibes, and their frosty relationship seemed to intensify further in 2014. The Arsenal manager had made a comment suggesting that other managers were playing down their title chances because they “fear to fail,” and Mourinho then retorted with “if he is right and I am afraid of failure it is because I didn’t fail many times. Eight years without silverware, that’s failure.” He continued “he is a specialist in failure. If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don’t come back.” This all appeared to come to a head later in the year, with the two managers clashing on the touchline at Stamford Bridge where they pushed each other in a 2-0 Chelsea victory.
7. “The one who can speak about the referees before the game, after game, can push people in the technical area, can moan, can cry in the morning, in the afternoon, and nothing happens.”
This season has seen Wenger and Mourinho at it once again, largely due to the very controversial recent fixture between Arsenal and Chelsea which saw Chelsea win 2-0, with two Arsenal players being sent off. Wenger spoke critically of the referees, which led Mourinho to state that the Frenchman gets preferential treatment from the F.A. After stating that there was just one manager not under pressure, Mourinho revealed that it was “the one who can speak about the referees before the game, after game, can push people in the technical area, can moan, can cry in the morning, in the afternoon, and nothing happens. He cannot achieve success and keep his job, still be the king. I say just one.” It is quite obvious which manager he is referring to, and it is just another entertaining chapter in the intense dislike that these two manages have for each other.
6. “He must really think I’m a great guy.”
During an interview with a Spanish radio station, Mourinho was asked what he believed God thought about him. Mourinho, in typical fashion, had a fantastic response which shocked, entertained and caused somewhat of a stir in the football world. Mourinho replied, “He must really think I’m a great guy. He must think that, because otherwise he would not have given me so much. I have a great family. I work in a place where I have always dreamt of working. He has helped me out so much that he must have a very high opinion of me.” It is nice to hear how Mourinho feels fortunate to have such a nice life, family and career, but equally he is once again stroking his own ego and, as always, comes across as quite arrogant with this quote.
5. “It’s like having a blanket that’s too small for the bed.”
In February of 2007, Chelsea were going through somewhat of an injury “crisis,” which Jose Mourinho felt was like another problem that he has clearly encountered at some point in his life. He would state that “it’s like having a blanket that’s too small for the bed. You pull the blanket up to keep your chest warm and your feet stick out. I cannot buy a bigger blanket because the supermarket is closed. But I am content because the blanket is cashmere. It is no ordinary blanket.” No matter what your opinion is on Mourinho, the brilliant analogies that he comes out with add plenty of entertainment to the soccer world and, for quotes such as this and the others on the list, the press certainly love him as he always provides them with gold.
4. “I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur.”
As this list demonstrates, Arsene Wenger has been a frequent target for Mourinho’s jibes, seeing quite a rivalry develop between the two (with Mourinho usually coming out on top both on and off the pitch). This was particularly true in 2005, when the Chelsea boss decided to comment on the attention that Wenger was giving Mourinho’s team—“I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.” This was Mourinho’s reaction after Wenger stated that “a little bit of belief has gone” after two unfavorable Chelsea results, and the Portuguese manager would also add “I don’t know if he wants my job, I don’t know. He loves Chelsea.”
3. “Omelettes, eggs. No eggs, no omeletts.”
Mourinho has been known to use metaphors a lot to describe situations that he finds himself in, but often these metaphors seem completely disconnected and random which make them particularly entertaining (and perhaps deeply philosophical). One of the best examples of this is when he was describing how to develop young players, which is apparently a lot like making a good omelette. Mourinho stated—“Omelettes, eggs. No eggs, no omelettes. And it depends on the quality of the eggs in the supermarket. They are class one, two or three and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. When the class one eggs are not available you have a problem.” Due to the strange choice in metaphor, the press and the public were not sure whether Jose was a philosophical genius, or whether he was simply hungry for an omelette.
2. “Young players are a bit like melons.”
The eggs and omelets comparison was an interesting one, but Mourinho managed to top this when he was again speaking about youth development in 2007. He stated that “young players are a bit like melons. Only when you open and taste the melon are you 100 percent sure that the melon is good. Sometimes you have beautiful melons but they don’t taste very good, and some other melons are a bit ugly but when you open them, the taste is fantastic…One thing is youth football, one thing is professional football. The bridge is a difficult one to cross and they have to play with us and train with us for us to taste the melon.” It is a strange comparison to make, but perhaps he had an insatiable hunger for melons that day and has had bad experiences with beautiful looking melons in the past.
1. “I am a special one.”
Perhaps Jose’s most famous quote, the press immediately had a new nickname for him after this one. After winning the 2004 Champions League with Porto, Mourinho was given the Chelsea position and introduced himself in style. He would state “we have top players and, sorry if I’m arrogant, we have a top manager. I’m not a defender of old or new football managers. I believe in good ones and bad ones, those that achieve success and those that don’t. Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I am a special one. If I wanted to have an easy job…I would have stayed at Porto—the beautiful blue chair, the UEFA Champions League trophy, God, and after God, me.” He would go on to be a huge success at Chelsea, but it is hard to not call someone arrogant who describes themselves as “a special one.”