Five times Jose Mourinho was weirdly nice: Chelsea flight, Son Heung-min…
Jose Mourinho may have perfected the art of passive aggressive cynicism, delivered with the facial expression of a man who can smell horrendous body odour but cannot identify the culprit, but there is more to his personality than his caricature would suggest.
In fact, the chilled out entertainer has been observed on occasion acting with the grace and humility expected of mere non-special mortals. Almost as if Mourinho is…human.
Here, we’ve recollected five occasions where Jose Mourinho was the nicest man in football.
Igor Aleksandrovic was gutted. Having been present at Mourinho’s pre-match press conference before Tottenham’s Europa League match at Shkendija, the Macedonian journalist was unable to speak to the man his late father idolised.
Once word reached the Tottenham press team, Mourinho graciously made his way back to allow Aleksandrovic ask two questions and one personal favour – a picture of the manager to rest on his father’s “eternal resting place”.
Mourinho listened with exquisite patience and seemed humbled by the man’s story. Without missing a beat, the Portuguese manager said: “The picture is done, let’s do it. If you can meet us before the game, or maybe in the hotel is easier. If it’s after the game, it’s after the game. It’s nothing to do with results.
“My pleasure to do the picture with you. And my honour to your father and respect that he feels so strong about me. I don’t deserve that.”
A genuinely classy gesture.
Jose Mourinho agreed to this heartfelt request from a North Macedonian journalist whose father died.pic.twitter.com/AlpinsR3jN
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 24, 2020
A team effort
Jiri Jarosik was a bit-part player during Mourinho’s first season at Stamford Bridge but has previously spoken of his fondness for Mourinho and his man-management skills.
Speaking to us in 2017, Jarosik recollected his actions as Chelsea celebrating lifting the Premier League title in 2005 and how Mourinho made sure all the club staff felt included in the ceremony.
“Jose brought all of our doctors, masseurs, physicians and other members of staff to the pitch,” he said.
“It was a great message because it was not only the players who made the dream become a reality. It was everyone.
“Masseurs won the league, doctors won the league, every single Chelsea staffer did it. So, it was great watching the whole stadium applaud those guys. It was a very classy move from Jose.”
Jarosik also remembered Mourinho’s behaviour during a post-season flight to South Korea.
“There were three classes in our plane. The first one was like super business class, then there was a regular business class and an economy class.
“So, Jose obviously was in the super business one. But as soon as we took off, he came to the players who were in a regular business class, and said, ‘Hey guys. You know what, you should be in the super business class, not me. I didn’t play a single minute. So I’ll stay here, and you go there.’
“Many years have passed from that day but I still remember it. It was very cool.”
Like a person who has ridiculed their office colleague only to express regret at their departure, Mourinho has previous for offering condolences to sacked managers.
When Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Leicester in 2017, less than a year after winning the Premier League title, the football community was almost united in shock and anger. As someone who’s always had a way with words, Mourinho expressed the collective mood perfectly on this occasion.
Taking to Instagram, he wrote: “Champion of England and FIFA manager of the year. Sacked. That’s the new football. Keep smiling amigo. Nobody can delete the history you wrote.”
Alongside this, Mourinho turned up to a press conference with the initials ‘CR’ emblazoned across the right-hand side of his shirt.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 25, 2017
As you would expect from somebody known as the ‘translator’, Mourinho has demonstrated an aptitude for languages that outstrips his aptitude for magnanimity.
However, the news that he was learning Korean to communicate with Son Heung-min still comes across as an incredibly touching gesture that must make a player seem 10 foot tall.
The 57-year-old, who is already fluent in Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian, English and Portuguese, revealed in ‘All or Nothing’ that he considers communicating with players in their native language to be of the upmost importance.