Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mourinho quits Chelsea

LONDON (AFP) - Jose Mourinho was only ever going to leave Chelsea one way and so it proved on Thursday morning as the Portuguese coach departed in a blaze of controversy.

Mourinho's brash personality ensured he quickly became the Premier League's most talked-about figure after his arrival three years ago.

At the press conference to announce his appointment at Chelsea, Mourinho insisted his impressive achievements at Porto meant he should be seen as 'a special one'.

That tongue in cheek comment set the tone for one of the most dramatic managerial reigns in the history of English football

In the space of three seasons, Mourinho ended Chelsea's 50-year wait for a league title, won it again 12 months later and added two League Cups and an FA Cup to the Stamford Bridge trophy room.

But it was his habit of causing controversy whenever he opened his mouth that made Mourinho such a fascinating figure and ultimately cost him his job after one-too-many disagreements with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

His fire and brimstone spell at Chelsea has its foundations in his burning desire to leave his mark on the sport.

Although Mourinho's father Felix had been a Portugal goalkeeper, Jose did not have enough talent to become a successful professional and that failure fuelled his fire when he became a coach.

He worked as an assistant at several small Portuguese clubs before landing a job translating for Porto and then Sporting Lisbon manager Bobby Robson.

He followed Robson to Barcelona and got his first break when Louis van Gaal took over and allowed Mourinho to take training sessions.

That was all the encouragement he needed. He was soon in charge at Benfica, but, in a sign of things to come, Mourinho's first managerial job came to a premature end after a run-in with an owner.

That exit left a bitter taste for Mourinho and he resolved to make the most of his next opportunity at a big club.

After taking unfashionable Uniao de Leiria to third in the Portuguese league, he took charge at Porto in January 2002. It was a move that would change his life.

Mourinho was a believer in a scientific approach to management and his rigorous training schedules were designed to make sure his players operated at their maximum.

Within a year he had transformed Porto into league champions. Not content with that he also won the UEFA Cup and Portuguese Cup.

But it was the following year that Mourinho really emerging kicking and screaming onto the global stage.

His manic celebratory run down the touchline at Old Trafford after Costinha's late goal had sent Porto through to the Champions League quarter-finals at Manchester United's expense was an unforgettable image.

Porto went on to win the Champions League with a crushing 3-0 defeat of Monaco. But Mourinho stole the spotlight by tearing off his medal and walking off the pitch without joining in his team's celebrations.

That was the last Porto would see of their talismanic leader and within weeks he was unveiled at Chelsea.

In the same way he had worked the oracle at Porto, Mourinho quickly changed Chelsea from a losing culture to a winning one.

They were Premier League champions and League Cup winners in 2005 and won the league again a year later. But the seeds of his departure were sown in the 2006 close season.

Mourinho wanted to sign the brilliant midfielder Kaka from AC Milan, but Abramovich instead presented him with Andriy Shevchenko, a friend of the Russian billionaire.

Abramovich believed he had provided Mourinho with enough money to produce the kind of fantasy football that made him fall in love with the game.

So when Shevchenko proved a flop, Abramovich demanded the appointment of Avram Grant to assist Mourinho in bringing the striker back to his best.

Mourinho refused and Abramovich responded by withdrawing transfer funds in January. The end was in sight.

The Portuguese had lost his support in the corridors of power and a lacklustre start to this season proved the final straw.

Mourinho will have few qualms about leaving Chelsea. His self-belief and record as a proven winner will ensure he has no shortage of suitors.

Wherever he turns up next, it is certain to be another rocky ride.

1 comment:

KahJoon said...

stupid stupid roman abramovich. jose mourinho is the most coveted coach and u let him go..stupid fool lah..

u just wait and watch chelsea crumble to the ground. ppl like drogba, lampard, essien and carvalho sure follow mourinho 1.