Love him or hate him, you simply cannot deny that José Mourinho has left an indelible mark on the history of European football.
The self-proclaimed "Special One" will retire as one of the great modern managers, regardless of what happens between now and the day that he eventually calls time on his illustrious career, and there's nothing that his numerous detractors can do about that.
Undeniably outspoken, to the point that it has often been interpreted as arrogance, José Mourinho has had tongues wagging throughout his 22-year (and counting) senior management career, and he's also changed the game for the better. Here are some of his finest footballing achievements.
🐩 Underdog glory with Porto
The world really started to take notice of José Mourinho when he was at Porto. He scooped the 2003 UEFA Cup against a Glasgow Celtic team containing the iconic Swede Henrik Larsson, and then went one better to claim UEFA Champions League glory in 2004 against Didier Deschamps' Monaco outfit in Gelsenkirchen. When Chelsea came calling, Mourinho took Porto's star defenders Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho with him to London. The Special One had arrived.
🔵 First stint with Chelsea
To this day, no side in Premier League history has conceded fewer goals in a single Premier League season than José Mourinho's Chelsea side in the 2004-05 season. Chelsea's haul of 95 points that term is the second-best in Premier League history. Goalkeeper Petr Cech kept 21 clean sheets with the masterful central defensive duo of the aforementioned Carvalho and club icon John Terry.
In front of them, it was the midfield mastery of Claude Makélélé that allowed this Chelsea machine to operate with ruthless efficiency. Alongside Makélélé, the most prolific midfielder in Premier League history, Frank Lampard, bagged 13 top-flight strikes that season. This was one of the most complete teams in English football history, and José built it.
🏆 Inter's iconic treble
The Nerazzurri class of 2010 made history by winning a European treble; Inter's first since 1965, and they did it their own way. Throughout the spine of this brilliant team of unlikely heroes, there were fierce competitors who would put their bodies on the line to win football matches for their manager.
For all of their aggression, however, this Inter Milan side possessed a bit of silky skill too. This was a team created in José's image. It possessed a steely defence with a huge South American influence, Argentinian hardmen in the centre of the park and a touch of cosmopolitan flair dotted throughout.
Much is made of Mourinho's abrasive personality, but his bond with Marco Materazzi (a fringe but important squad player) as well as other members of the squad was obvious to see, and it was a moving thing to behold. The Inter Milan iteration of Mourinho was likely the best, and definitely the most sentimental.
🥲 When Jose Mourinho was leaving Inter Milan, some players were devastated.— © Brojo Labudes (@brojolabudes) May 7, 2022
As he was being driven out, he noticed Marco Materazzi crying and he had to stop.
🛣 Mourinho's track record
From his start as the assistant to Louis van Gaal and the late Sir Bobby Robson at Barcelona through to glorious spells with Chelsea, Inter and everything in between, José will retire with one of the most impressive CVs you're ever likely to see.
Just ask Man United how things have gone since Mourinho departed. He won three major honours at Old Trafford and continues to receive criticism for his team's playing style despite that fact, but the mighty Manchester United has won absolutely nothing since he departed in 2017. Be careful what you wish for, as the saying goes.
🧠 Mourinho's selected career win percentages
- 🇵🇹 Porto: 71% (90/126)
- 🔵 Chelsea: 67% (124/184)
- 🇮🇹 Inter: 63% (68/108)
- 👑 Real Madrid: 71% (127/178)
- 🔵 Chelsea: 59% (80/136)
- 😈 Man United: 58% (84/144)
- 🐓 Tottenham: 52% (45/86)
- 🐺 Roma: 52%* (27/52*)
🌍 Reigning supreme in multiple countries
"The Special One" has been a hugely influential figure in the landscape of modern football management. Only five other managers in the game's history have won league titles in four or more countries. Tomislav Ivić, Ernst Happel, Giovanni Trapattoni, Eric Gerets and Carlo Ancelotti (who recently became the first man in history to win league titles in each of Europe's top five leagues) are those five men. Mourinho continues to breathe rarified air at the summit of the sport.
The Europa Conference League final looms on May 25th, when Mourinho's Roma takes on Feyenoord. If I Giallorossi lifts the trophy, the 59-year-old Portuguese will be the first manager to win the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, and he'll also likely be the last.