Bolaji Oyegunle : A little older, a little greyer, the Special One is back i the arms of Abramovich. As Jose heads again to Stamford Bridge for a cool £8.5m a year, we find out why he’s still the hottest ticket in football.
A is for Abramovich. Mourinho has clearly reached an accommodation with the Russian oligarch after a “breakdown in the relationship” prompted his exit from the Chelsea manager’s job in 2007.
A is also for Carlo Ancelotti, another ex-Chelsea manager now tipped to replace Mourinho at Real Madrid.
B is for Benfica. The Portuguese club gave Mourinho his first full managerial position when he stepped up to replace Jupp Heynckes in 2000.
C is for Chelsea (and champions). During his first stint as manager at Stamford Bridge, from 2004 to 2007, the Special One helped Chelsea win the league title for the first time in 50 years, the Carling Cup twice and the FA Cup once. C is also for Camberwell, where Mourinho’s daughter this year enrolled in fine art studies at the College of Arts — perhaps adding weight to her father’s desire to return to London.
D is for Diligence. Professor Carlos Neto, who lectured the young Mourinho in sports science at the University of Lisbon, recalled that he “worked hard”, was “always on time”, and “a good student but not exceptional”.
E is for Eggs. Which are the same as footballers, according to Mourinho, in that the best ones cost more.
F is for Family. Mourinho married his home-town teenage sweetheart Matilde, known as Tami, in 1989 and the couple have a 17-year-old daughter (also Matilde) and a 13-year-old son (also José — very unimaginative, these Portuguese Catholics). He puts his duties as a husband and father even above football.
G is for God. Unlike politicians, football managers “do God”. Mourinho prays a lot, believes in the Almighty, and tries “to be a good man so He can have a bit of time to give me a hand when I need it”.
H is for Hair. Lustrous, wavy, the colour of a silver birch in autumn, the Mourinho barnet won him legions of female fans who couldn’t explain the offside rule if they tried.
I is for Insults. Mourinho has had plenty of feuds with players, officials and rival managers. After wrangling with Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova in a 2011 brawl, Mourinho referred to him as “Pito” (Spanish slang for “penis”). He also called Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger a “voyeur” and a “stupid” person.
J is for José. It is the name of Mourinho’s father, a former professional footballer, and also of his son. Yes way, José.
K is for Kudos. Mourinho was named Rockstar of the year by the Spanish edition of Rolling Stone in 2011, and Man of the Year by the New Statesman in 2005. Respect.
L is for Love. “I know I am loved in England,” Mourinho said last year. “I am loved by the fans and the media. They treat me fairly. They give me credit when it is due and criticise when it is deserved. I am loved by some clubs, especially one.”
M is for Madrid (and millions). Mourinho forewent £17 million in compensation payments to get out of his contract with Real three years early. That’s about a million less than it is estimated he was paid when he left Chelsea in 2007.
N is for “Normal”. The word Mourinho used when asked to complete the sentence “My relationship with [the combative and subsequently sacked Real Madrid general manager] Jorge Valdano is…”
O is for Ornamentation. Mourinho may be a dapper dresser (his Armani overcoat sold at auction for £22,000) but he brusquely told British GQ that “a watch is the only jewellery a man should wear”.
P is for Pâté. His favourite food is foie gras. Grrrowrrr!
Q is for Quadruple. The closest Mourinho came to making Chelsea the first English club to win all four trophies in a season was in 2007. Chelsea won the FA Cup and League Cup but came second in the League and were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool.
R is for Robson. Mourinho’s first step up towards the world of management was as Sir Bobby’s translator and assistant at Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona.
S is for “The Special One”. Also for Setubal, Mourinho’s home town. And superstition: he has decided never again to wear the shoes he wore on the two occasions he won the Champions League. (One pair Prada, one pair Tod’s, since you ask.
T is for Twitter. Mourinho claimed in 2011 not to use social media, so the various accounts bearing his name on Twitter are unlikely to be him (especially the one with the handle @iamspecialone).
U is for UEFA rebel. Banned by UEFA from contacting his players during two Champions League quarter-final games against Bayern Munich, Mourinho sneaked into the stadium early, watched the match on TV in the dressing room, delivered his instructions to a deputy by earpiece, and was then smuggled out in a laundry basket. UEFA has called him an “enemy of football”.
V is for Villas-Boas. Mourinho’s fellow countryman and former wingman at Porto and Chelsea is now his rival as Spurs manager. This also means, a female colleague says, that “the two most attractive men in football are managing London clubs”.
W is for Wife. When he was named ninth most influential person in the world, in a poll that placed Barack Obama 21st, Mourinho responded: “What position is my wife in? Eighth at least…”
X is for Xampu. That’s Portuguese for “shampoo”. Mourinho could surely have a haircare-endorsing career to rival David Ginola’s: instead, he became the first “global ambassador” for Braun razors in 2011.
Y is for Yorkshire Terrier. Mourinho was arrested and cautioned in 2007 for refusing to allow animal welfare officials to take his Yorkie, Leya, into quarantine, following concerns that she had not been properly vaccinated.
Z is for “Zeru tituli”. As manager of Inter Milan in 2009, Mourinho tauntingly claimed that his rivals at AC Milan and Roma would end the season with no trophies. Mourinho’s mispronunciation of the phrase “zero titoli” became common currency for commentators and fans.