The Legend of Jose Mourinho 4

Jose Mourinho brings his star studded Real Madrid side to England to face Sir Alex Ferguson’s  Manchester United in the 2nd leg of their Champions League clash. The 1st leg ended all square with a 1-1 draw, with  United coming away with that crucial away goal. On the back of that result, a 0-0 draw, will be enough for United to get through. Easier said than done.

"The Special One" Jose Mourinho slides on his knees in celebration

“The Special One” Jose Mourinho slides on his knees in celebration

The first time these two great coaches met was just about 10 years ago and also in the Champions League. Since that time a lot of things have changed but, it’s all starting to look eerily similar …. Let’s roll the clock back to 2003-2004 to the first time Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United faced Jose Mourinho.

Back then, before his success at Chelsea, Inter Milan, and his current spell at Real Madrid, and of course, before the legend of Jose Mourinho was born. At that time, Mourinho was just a little known manager from Portugal. This was before he became the self proclaimed  “Special One”  and only a few years removed from his time at Barcelona, where he was crudely known as the “translator”.

Ten years ago when Mourinho brought his Porto team to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in  the Champions league round of 16. Even though Porto had won the 1st leg 2-1 and were reigning UEFA Cup champions, they were afforded very little respect by United. By all accounts, Sir Alex Ferguson and his men, getting the result needed to advance was considered little more than a practicality. The mighty Manchester United, on their home turf in front of 80,000 screaming Englishman, would cast away these upstarts from Portugal without much effort.

Of course that was not the case. United only needed 1-0 result to advance. And the biggest crime a team can under do under those circumstances, is to play with that in mind.

Well, with merely minutes of time remaining, United are winning 1-0, enough to advance to the quarters. United defender Phil Neville commits a foul 20 yards out. Up steps Porto’s Bennie McCarthy to take the free-kick. Current Everton and USA international keeper, then Manchester United keeper, Tim Howard should  have done better on the initial shot, but he could only palm the ball back into play. Up stepped Porto’s Costinha to pounce on the rebound and score. Game tied  1-1 with practically no time to go.

The final whistle blows and at that moment the young Jose Mourinho went running down the line to celebrate with his players, right past the United bench, slides on his knees, much to the chagrin and remonstrations of Sir Alex Ferguson, as his Porto side win 3-2 on aggregate.

Porto went onto to win the Champions League and before the celebrations are over Mourinho is announced as the new Chelsea manager, were upon the 1st press conference as the new Chelsea manager, he announces himself as the “Special One”

From that time to now, Mourinho has definitely backed up his words. He went onto win back to back Premiership titles with Chelsea, one of which was Chelsea’s first ever. The foundation that he laid at Chelsea has led the club on a period of unparalleled success, which has only now, multiple years after his departure, showing signs of unraveling. From Chelsea, before landing in Spain, he made a stop in Italy where he had the task of  bringing back to life a morbid Inter Milan where he won an unfounded Champions League before beginning his exploits in Spain.

Sir AlexFerguson and Manchester United haven’t stood still either. United have picked up 3 straight EPL titles and a Champions league, before their dominance was interrupted by Manchester City. Next weeks tie sits perfectly poised for another epic encounter, without even mentioning the Ronaldo factor. To the victor goes the spoils…..