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SL's Top Managers: 6- The Special One

Another manager surely destined for a higher place on the list of all-time greats is spiky Portuguese tactician, Jose Mourinho.

It’s easy to recall the moments and anecdotes that mark the man: sprinting down the Old Trafford touch line as he announced himself to the world, anointing himself ‘The Special One’ as he enflamed his own reputation, and celebrating with a smirk under the Camp Nou sprinklers.

Has there ever been a more divisive manager than 50-year-old Mourinho, who inspires opposite reactions in football fans around the world?

Some say he is a genius who makes winning habitual. Others say his teams are dour and his eye-gouging ego is an abomination.

Whatever you make of the man, there is no doubting his impact on modern football.

The only manager to win the league title in four of Europe’s major leagues, Mourinho is also one of just four managers to win the Uefa Champions League with two different teams.

And who would bet against him becoming the first manager to lift the world’s most prestigious club trophy with a third team before his career is over?

Mourinho may be derided as a particularly unimaginative manager, with a propensity for ‘parking the bus’ over the creative aspirations of his opponents.

But he is never afraid to make three substitutions at once when things are not going his way, and his Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan teams displayed the same brand of drive and determination.

Mourinho’s claim to fame was winning the Champions League with his powerful Porto team in 2004, eliminating English giants Manchester United along the way.

He collected six major trophies in just two years at Porto, and secured a move to newly-minted Chelsea, where he would establish himself among the top managers in contemporary football.

Backed by Roman Abramovich’s billions, Mourinho led the Blues to their first English top flight title in over 50 years, breaking a host of records along the way.

The next season he won the Premier League again, and by the time he left Chelsea he had brought six trophies in total to Stamford Bridge, and owned the best winning percentage of any manager in the history of the league.

From Chelsea, Mourinho moved to Inter Milan, and set about restoring the Nerazzurri to continental glory.

It’s true that he inherited a winning team from Roberto Mancini, but the league and cup double Mourinho won in his first season at the San Siro was a sign of the magic to come.

The following season, Inter won the treble, beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, having eliminated seemingly unstoppable Barcelona in the last-four.

And then Mourinho moved to Real Madrid to commence out-and-out battle with Barcelona, who were dominating Spanish football with arguably the greatest club team ever assembled.

It could be argued that Mourinho’s three-year spell at the Bernabeu is the only sporting blotch on his career thus far.

With football’s most expensive squad he won just three trophies, and failed in his task of guiding Madrid to their much-craved 10th Champions League crown.

But to his credit, he was able to stop the Barca juggernaut, beating them to the league title in his devastating, record breaking second season in Madrid.

By the time he left under a cloud for a second spell at the Blues, Mourinho’s Madrid had become Barca’s bête noir, even if they had surrendered the league title to them.

Back at Chelsea, where he says he feels loved, Mourinho has a glittering collection of 20 trophies to his name, as well as collection of adorers and enemies.

And with a conceivable 20 more years of management to go, The Special One is bound to add to all of his collections.

Is Mou better or worse than sixth on the list of greatest managers ever?

10- Munoz; 9- Clough; 8- Hitzfeld; 7- Guardiola; 6- Mourinho

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