Hated, adored but never ignored… just a few weeks after being poked out the door by Tottenham Jose Mourinho is back in football management.
To say his arrival as Roma manager took everyone by surprise would be the understatement of the century. Mere hours after Paulo Fonseca’s departure was officially confirmed, Roma set Twitter ablaze by announcing the return of the Special One.
His spell in Rome will be his 10th managerial stint overall but how do his other nine compare? Here are all of them, ranked from least to most special…
9. Benfica, 2000
Mourinho’s appetite for controversy began early in his career. After just 11 games in charge, he walked away from Benfica – a huge job for a man of his experience – after the board refused to hand him a new contract following a derby day win over Sporting.
In later years the Eagles would come to regret that decision as they could only watch on in envy as Mourinho guided rivals FC Porto to a spate of honours, including a Champions League trophy.
Win Percentage: 54.6%
8. Tottenham Hotspur, 2019-2021
Most people said it was a terrible appointment… and most people were right.
There were a few signs of life in Mourinho’s Tottenham at the beginning of this season – they were even being talked about as title contenders – but it was mostly despair for Spurs fans.
Cautious to the point of parody, he could not make the most of one of the most productive pairings in Premier League history in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min and ended up getting sacked in April.
He departed with a win percentage slightly over half, leaving Spurs outside the European places and still looking for a first trophy since 2008.
Major Trophies: 0
Win percentage: 51.6%
7. Uniao de Leiria, 2001-2002
After leaving Benfica Mourinho was picked up by U.D. Leiria, at the time an aspirational club aiming to sneak into the European places.
Again his time in charge was brief but he did have success, losing just four of his 20 games in charge before being poached by Porto, whom Leiria trailed by just a point at the time.
Win percentage: 45%
6. Manchester United, 2016-2018
Jose Mourinho’s spell at Manchester United was not all bad. He led the Red Devils to a League Cup and Europa League double in 2017 and also guided them to a second-placed finish a year later.
However, there were plenty of lowlights as well. A Champions League round of 16 exit to Sevilla was one of the darkest nights in recent memory and his penchant for publicly shaming players was pretty depressing as well.
While the problems at United were not all his own making, even the most fervent Mourinhista would struggle to argue that he made the most of his resources.
Win Percentage: 58.3%
5. Chelsea, 2013-2015
Now we’re getting into the good stuff… Mourinho’s second coming at Chelsea was considerably less successful than the first, but it still had some memorable highs.
Most notably he led the Blues to a Premier League and League Cup double in 2015. Mourinho improved several players as well with the talismanic Cesc Fabregas registering 18 assists and Diego Costa having one of his best ever seasons.
What marred his return to Stamford Bridge was its ending. Mourinho’s defence of the title could not have gone worse with Chelsea losing nine of their opening 12 games. The final straw was a defeat to eventual champions Leicester City in December.
The drop off in form was truly remarkable with the 43 extra points the Blues picked up the following season under Antonio Conte still a Premier League record.
Win percentage: 58.8%
4. Real Madrid 2010-2013
Most people point to Mourinho’s time in charge of Real Madrid as when he began to lose his mojo.
It was an emotionally draining time, with his and Pep Guardiola’s intense rivalry dominating European football and boiling over in the form of several unsavoury incidents. At Madrid, Mourinho recorded the best win percentage of his career (to date), though this did not always translate into trophies.
In the end, Mourinho would depart Spain with just three honours: a Copa Del Rey, a Supercopa de Espana and one La Liga title. He could and maybe should have achieved so much more.
Win percentage: 71.9%
3. Chelsea, 2004-2007
As soon as he arrived in England, Mourinho won the hearts and minds of football fans everywhere.
His brash confidence and eminently watchable press conferences soon made him a favourite for the neutrals, but no-one loved him more than the Stamford Bridge faithful. In his very first season at the club he led the Blues to their maiden Premier League title – one of six trophies he would clinch during his time in west London.
Although built on a rock solid defence, Chelsea played some scintillating attacking football at times. He left in September 2007 as the most successful manager in the club’s history having not lost a single league game at home during his entire tenure.
His patchy European record (largely thanks to Liverpool) was the only blot on his copy book.
Win percentage: 67%
2. FC Porto, 2002-2004
Mourinho announced himself on the world stage by working miracles at Porto.
Starting from a modest benchmark, he turned the Dragons into the power in Portugal, but he is more fondly remembered for his incredible European record.
After defeating Celtic in the 2003 UEFA Cup final, Mourinho repeated the trick in the continent’s premier club competition one year later. Bamboozling Sir Alex Ferguson’s United to reach the quarter finals, wins over Lyon and Deportivo La Coruña followed, before Monaco were dispatched 3-0 in the final.
It was a truly remarkable feat of management which turned Mourinho into a global superstar.
Win percentage: 71.7%
1. Inter, 2008-2010
The only treble of Mourinho’s career came at Inter during the 2009/2010 season.
Over the summer of 2009, he completed the best rebuilding job of his career, bringing in the likes of Diego Milito, Thiago Motta and Wesley Sneijder to replace waning stars like Luis Figo, Adriano and Hernan Crespo. Zlatan Ibrahimovic would also be swapped for Samuel Eto’o.
A second straight Scudetto duly followed, as did the Coppa Italia but the most impressive feat of all was the side’s Champions League victory. Dispatching of former club Chelsea in the round of 16 and then beating CSKA Moscow, the Nerazzurri were drawn with Barcelona in the semi-finals – widely considered Europe’s best side.
In the end though, ruthless efficiency triumphed over beauty with a gutsy backs against the wall performance in the second leg – where Inter played over an hour with 10 men – enough to secure their progression to the final.
Once they were there Milito, one of Mourinho’s summer signings, made sure they made the most of it by grabbing a match-winning brace. This remarkable run summed up everything great about Mourinho’s all-conquering Inter side.
Win percentage: 62%
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