Jose Mourinho & the celebration of a liar whose honeymoons are irresistible
Nobody does a honeymoon period like Jose Mourinho.
Even knowing that it’ll all end in tears sooner rather than later doesn’t stop people from getting swept up by the cult of Jose, simultaneously alluring and destructive like a latter-day Heathcliff.
He’ll arrive at your club, whisper a few sweet nothings into the ears of underperforming players and inspire the fanbase with some crowd-pleasing gestures and mischievous answers at press conferences.
He’s bad for you, but impossible to resist – the footballing equivalent of a late-night visit to your local kebab shop.
Of course, it’s easy to stereotype Mourinho these days. The glorious peaks of his career – Porto, that bastard-tough Chelsea team, winning a clean sweep with Inter – are all over a decade ago now.
The trophy tap has never been fully turned off but the infamous sulks and erratic behaviour have dulled just how brilliant Mourinho can be.
It’s hard not to expect a repeat in Italy. Upon joining Roma in May, Mourinho spoke about the importance of the ‘long-term project’ and imploring everybody at the club to be united during his tenure.
So far, so Jose.
And, if we should anticipate the managerial equivalent of the rise and fall of Roman Empire on fast forward with the Giallorossi, the celebrations that marked Stephan El Shaarawy’s late winner against Sassuolo was Jose’s Caesar moment.
With the game level at 1-1, El Shaarawy curled home a first-time strike to keep Roma’s 100% start to the season going. It was a goal that only underlined my personal theory that any shot that clips the woodwork on its way in deserves to be greeted with a chef’s kiss of appreciation.
Like all professional showmen, Mourinho saw an opportunity to steal the spotlight and sprinted down the touchline to celebrate with his players in a karaoke tribute to that celebration at Old Trafford in 2004.
Vintage Mourinho is Back….!!! Loving life in Italy pic.twitter.com/WSAmhbh9Ea
— Angry Rantman (@angry_rantman) September 12, 2021
Mourinho later revealed he apologised to his Sassuolo counterpart for his wild reaction, presumably with fingers crossed behind his back, and discussed the sensation associated with winning his 1,000th game as a manager.
“During the week I was a liar, saying it wasn’t a special match. But it was a special match,” he told DAZN. “It was a match with a special number for me and I always wanted to remember a match like this for my 1,000th game. I lied to everyone!
“Today I am not 58, but 14, when you start dreaming of a career in football. It was a child’s race, I apologised to [Sassuolo head coach Alessio] Dionisi, they played a fantastic game.
It was a moment of tremendous emotion which, for all the control Mourinho’s best sides exercised on the pitch, has characterised all of his most iconic memories.
We all know that everything will end up crumbling around him but, for now, let’s pick up our popcorn and enjoy vintage Mourinho honeymooning.
By Michael Lee