"The Special One" is back in the Premier League and it will be fascinating to see how he fares at Tottenham Hotspur.
One of Europe's most revered and successful managers, José Mourinho collected a host of trophies in two spells at Chelsea, a stint at Manchester United and a host of other top clubs outside of England. Before he gets to work in North London with Spurs, we have time to take a walk down memory lane and remember the best players he's signed throughout his career.
One thing is for sure; Mourinho always found a way to get the best out of his players, and we've identified five that thrived under the Portuguese manager's reign.
🇵🇹 Ricardo Carvalho
Mourinho's compatriot was a warrior in the heart of Chelsea's defence alongside John Terry after a £20m move from Porto to Chelsea in 2004. Carvalho was part of Mourinho's Porto side that lifted the Champions League crown in 2004, he won three Premier League titles with Mou at Chelsea and then followed him to Real Madrid. Carvalho was a firm Mourinho favourite.
🇳🇱 Wesley Sneijder
The Dutch playmaker was a central figure for Mourinho during Inter Milan's astonishing treble-winning campaign in 2009/2010. He was a classic number 10, but he was a schemer with a mean streak, and Mourinho loved that. Sneijder possessed the perfect balance of silk and steel making him a perfect Mourinho player.
🇪🇸 Diego Costa
In 2014, when Diego Costa was already admired around Europe for his goal-scoring prowess, Mourinho brought him to Chelsea from Atletico Madrid and transformed him into one of the most feared and complete forwards on the continent. Costa scored 21 times in his first full season at Stamford Bridge, getting under the skin of defenders for the majority of every 90 minute period that he was on the pitch. Costa was more than willing to bend all of the rules for his manager.
🇨🇲 Samuel Eto'o
One of the most unlikely swap deals in football history saw Samuel Eto'o move from Barcelona to Inter Milan, with Inter also netting 40m change and Zlatan Ibrahimovic going the other way. It would be an inspired switch for the Italian side, with legendary Cameroonian Eto'o scoring 16 times in 48 matches in a wide attacking role that propelled them to treble glory. His attacking partnership and understanding with Sneijder and Diego Milito was key to Inter's historic success that year.
🇨🇮 Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba is an icon in his country, and the Ivorian is also hero-worshipped at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge. When Drogba moved from Marseille to London in 2004, very few fans knew that Mourinho was signing a future legend.
Drogba scored 157 goals in 341 games for the Blues, winning every trophy available to him in the process and writing himself into Chelsea folklore by striking the winning penalty in 2012's Champions League final. Drogba is truly a king of African and global football.
🔥 Honourable mentions
- 🏴 Ashley Cole
- 🇦🇷 Diego Milito
- 🇸🇪 Zlatan
- 🇭🇷 Luka Modrić
- 🇿🇦 Benni McCarthy
A common thread among Mourinho's best signings is that they were undoubtedly players that you would gladly go to war with if that's what was necessary.
Follow Jose's first match as Tottenham boss as West Ham welcome Spurs in Saturday's early kickoff.