The 13 Brazilian players signed by Jose Mourinho: From Derlei to Willian
When Manchester United confirmed the capture of Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk, he became the 14th Brazilian player signed by Jose Mourinho during his career.
The Red Devils boss once said “I think that a team without a Brazilian isn’t a team”, and he has signed more players from the South American country than any other nation bar his native Portugal.
We’ve looked back at every Brazilian player Mourinho has signed throughout his managerial career, discounting Diego Costa and Thiago Motta, who were born in Brazil but represented different countries at international level.
A favourite of Mourinho – earlier this year the Manchester United boss praised his former Chelsea winger as “top, cream of the crop, he’s amazing”.
This came just days after Willian said: “He is my friend. I had a great time with him.”
Just get a room, guys. Or just bloody sign him again, Jose.
Willian: “Fred? He goes to one of the best teams in the world and I'm happy for him. I hope he does well at Manchester United." #mufc [Mirror]
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) June 5, 2018
Luis was considered a promising signing when Chelsea paid £15.8million to land the left-back from Atletico Madrid, but he struggled to displace Cesar Azpilicueta from the starting XI and returned to Spain after just one season at Stamford Bridge.
“Speaking about Mourinho is always controversial and there’s always some intrigue surrounding him, but he is an awesome coach who tries to take the maximum from each and every one of his players,” Luis told FourFourTwo in 2016.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why he loses the dressing room sometimes. He asks so much of his players that some can’t handle it for too long.
“In my case, we got along very well and he helped me when I wanted to rejoin Atletico. He’s a very good coach. It’s just a pity I wasn’t able to convince him that I should start for Chelsea.”
Mourinho was often vocal in his encouragement for Kenedy, describing his first-team bow in a pre-season friendly against Barcelona as “the best debut for a kid”.
The attacker featured eight times under Mourinho before his sacking with Chelsea’s title defence unravelling in 2015. In the intervening years he has made only 19 more appearances for the Blues.
Signed by Chelsea in the same summer as Kenedy, but Mourinho never sounded too keen on the attacking midfielder.
“He’s a player that our structure follows and our structure thinks that he’s a player with potential for the future,” he said. “And if the deal is to close I will try to help – as I try to help everyone – to become a Chelsea player.
“But at the moment he is not a player for my squad, he is not a player I am waiting for.”
Now 22 years old, Nathan continues to await his first Chelsea appearance.
Famed for his penchant for stepovers, Mancini joined Mourinho’s Inter in the same summer as Ricardo Quaresma – two players who hardly seem to fit the mould of a Jose-type player.
The former Roma man had been a long-term target of Inter chief Massimo Moratti and ex-boss Roberto Mancini, and he unsurprisingly failed to establish himself under Mourinho at the San Siro.
In complete contrast to Mancini, Lucio was a hard-nosed bastard of a defender and went on to thrive for the Nerazzurri, winning the Treble under Mourinho.
Despite claims from Marco Materazzi that Lucio had a difficult relationship with the manager, the former Brazil captain told Goal: “He had a phrase that made me very happy and was reported worldwide at the time Mourinho said that if there was a war, the first person he would call on would be me. So no need to say anything.”
Mourinho was forced to be patient for the chance to work with Alex at Chelsea, and ultimately the duo were only at Stamford Bridge together for three months.
Signed by Chelsea in 2004, Alex would have to spend three years on loan at PSV before obtaining a work permit to move to England.
“You either love or hate Mourinho? I thought exactly the same, especially when I got to Chelsea!” he told Goal.
“I was 24 years old, full of fears, having listened to and read a lot about him in the press… but I found a person who helped me a lot.
“We worked only three months together, yet he has been a big part of my career. I was very surprised to find a Mourinho who was totally contrary to what they said and wrote.”
Like Alex, Belletti only worked with Mourinho for a few months at Chelsea after moving to Stamford Bridge from Barcelona in 2007 – but the Portuguese clearly made a big impression.
“Day in, day out, he is a sensational person,” Belletti told Globoesporte. “He’s passionate about football; he understands.
“He knows how to deal with the highest-paid players and he never repeats a training session. He makes football seem easy.”
Belletti: "It was all about a discussion that Mourinho and Abramovich had relating to hiring players. It was a fight between them." [Goal]
— Chelsea HQ (@Chelsea_HQ) April 17, 2015
A few facts we have recently discovered about Alcides, who, to be honest, we don’t actually remember:
– His name is a variation for the Greek divine hero Heracles.
– He never played for Chelsea in four years.
– He was once described by Ronald Koeman as “very thin”.
Signed by Mourinho for Porto in 2004 as a 19-year-old, Alberto spent just six months under the manager but made his mark by scoring the opening goal in their Champions League final victory over Monaco.
Mourinho says Carlos Alberto, Davide Santon, Raphael Varane & Dominic Solanke are the best players he's promoted at each of his clubs #CFC
— Jack Rathborn (@JackRathborn) December 9, 2014
Signed twice by Mourinho, Maciel played under the ‘Special One’ at União de Leiria and Porto.
The forward was a particularly shrewd signing at the former, who he joined for £90,000 and helped finish seventh.
The left-back moved to Porto in 2004 but failed to make a single appearance for the club.
There’s really not much to say about Rossato other than he was left requiring reconstructive surgery on his right cheekbone after a training ground punch-up with a team-mate at Real Sociedad.
Already at União de Leiria when Mourinho took over, Derlei then followed the manager to Porto in 2002, going on to score twice in the UEFA Cup final victory against Celtic and earning a special place in Jose’s heart.
“I had many important players in my career, but, maybe, he was the most striking, because it was him who jumped from Leiria to Porto,” he said.
“They were fantastic times in career that pushed me to another dimension. Derlei helped me in that and I will always be thankful.”