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Jose Mourinho by Luis Lourenco

Release date: 05th February, 2005
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Media

List Price: £12.99
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Book review
Jose Mourinho - Made in Portugal
By Luis Lourenco


4Sportsbooks.co.uk price: £ 8.77 (saving £ 4.22 on rrp)

There is a marvellous line towards the end of this biography, in a section written by Mourinho himself, which encapsulates, some might say justifies, the modern footballer's salary demands. Mourinho quotes the words of Brazilian star Rivaldo who, when in the middle of negotiating a better deal with Barcelona, said, "When I went to the solicitor to sign the property deeds, they didn't accept medals, not even the FIFA Golden Boot award."

It's an honest adjunct to the Chelsea manager's thoughts as he was being courted by Roman Abramovic: "Let's not be hypocritical," he says, "financial matters were also important." As Chelsea surge relentlessly to their first league title in half a century, one fancies Mourinho was aware of his worth to the Russian, hence the four year contract he was awarded following negotiations on Abramovich's yacht, Pelorus, conveniently moored in the harbour at Monaco.

When the Portuguese manager arrived in London last summer, most football fans and reporters were uncertain about him. He had been spectacularly successful with FC Porto, with whom he has just won the Champions League, but there was an acknowledgement that the number of foreign managers who had transferred international success onto the British stage was decidedly limited.

Moreover, several of his earliest comments bordered on the arrogant, which contributed to a sense that he would soon receive his comeuppance. His new charges, Chelsea, had been notoriously brittle and had regularly shown that they did not have the stomach for a prolonged title fight. Yet here we are, less than eight months later, with his 'Lions of west London' on the cusp of being crowned champions; Mourinho's arrogance now looks like supreme confidence.

The period covered by this book is quite condensed, focusing on Mourinho's career as a coach; it actually ends at the point where he becomes Chelsea manager, but it gives a fascinating insight into his coaching beliefs which help explain why he has been so successful.

Mourinho's playing career was modest, but it became evident once he had been appointed assistant to Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon (and whom he followed to Porto and Barcelona), that his sporting ambition marked him out as a man likely to succeed. It is clear that he learnt a lot under Robson.

The summary of his football thinking, outlined in his own 'Bible' shows Robson's unmistakeable influence: The concept of the club being bigger than any player underpins Mourinho's philosophy which he developed at Porto and, one assumes, continues to fine tune at Stamford Bridge. "The way the team organises a match is the most important factor of all. Respect for the club, for its norms, for its philosophy is more important than any individual," he says. It is an attitude that has served him well.

Most British football fans first became aware of Mourinho when his side beat Manchester United last season and he was berated by Sir Alex Ferguson afterwards, all part of the Scot's notorious 'mind games'. It is interesting to learn that ahead of the second leg of that Champions League tie, Mourinho was invited to meet with Liverpool, but declined the offer.

Understandably, the biography contains plenty about Portuguese football, but as Porto are winning everything in sight, the reader gains access to Mourinho's ideas on squad rotation, his plans and his ambitions. Chelsea fans will love it; the rest of us can only be envious of the fact that they now have Europe's best coach on the payroll.



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