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How Mourinho Reduced Benni To Tears

Their history of winning the UEFA Champions League together is well documented, but Benni McCarthy recalls how Jose Mourinho reduced him to tears in their first conversation.

McCarthy featured for the Portuguese manager at FC Porto in two separate stints.

First on loan, where McCarthy joined the Portuguese giants from Spanish outfit Celta Vigo and then later on a permanent deal, where the two went on to achieve great success including the Champions League in 2004.

McCarthy, who has since ventured into coaching, following the path of the ‘Special One’ has reflected on his very first conversation with Mourinho and why he tried to join the serial-winning coach on two occasions at Chelsea.

"I arrived at Porto in 2001 in a bad state. I scored on my debut, and we won, but then the manager (Octavio Machado) was sacked. I couldn’t believe that the man who took me there got fired. This young guy replaced him and said: ‘Benni, I know of you, and I have watched you,” McCarthy told The Athletic.

"I think you are a fantastic player and I want you to be my guy’. Then Jose Mourinho proceeded to tell me all about me. He knew everything; he’d watched my games at Celta.

“How did he have this information? Jose told me that I could always speak to him, even if it was to get something off my chest. I started crying, really. I thought ‘Wow!’ This had not happened to me in Europe,” he said.

Benni also recalls how his mental state deteriorated after he failed to secure a move to link up with Mourinho in North London on two occasions. 

"I even thought, ‘This guy is going to leave Porto and I want to go with him’. I had a manager I would die for. I scored goals against Manchester United in the Champions League and when Mourinho went to Chelsea they came for me, but Porto would not sell. 

"Then Chelsea came knocking on the door again. Mourinho wanted me. He’s always wanted me. I asked Blackburn if they could sell me. I wanted to play Champions League again, to play for Mourinho as he ruffled more feathers in the Premier League.

“Blackburn said no, which I understand. I tried to force the move but it wasn’t enough. My mental state began to suffer, my football began to suffer," he added.

McCarthy still remains at the top of Bafana Bafana top scorers' chart: 

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