Jose Mario dos Santos Mourinho Felix, Jose Mourinho for short, was born in Setubal, Portugal on 26th January 1963. His father, Felix, played professionally and even earned a Portugal cap before embarking on a twenty-year management career.
Football was a major part of Jose’s life from a young age and he joined Belenenses youth team as he looked to follow in his father’s footsteps. A short career at senior level followed, with stints at Rio Ave, Belenenses and Sesimbra as a midfielder.
With a lack of pace and power, Mourinho didn’t possess the tools required to make it at the top level and instead focused on coaching. He studied sports science at the Technical University of Lisbon, taught Physical Education in several schools and gained a diploma after five years.
Whilst attending coaching courses run by the Football Associations of England and Scotland, Mourinho caught the eye of Andy Roxburgh. The former Scotland national team manager noted the determination and attention to detail of the young Mourinho and tipped him for a bright future in the game.
His first job on the way to a professional football management career came at Vitoria de Setubal, where he worked as youth team coach in the early 1990’s. A stint as Assistant Manager at Estrela and as a scout at Ovarense followed, before an opportunity came along that would help to shape his future.
In 1992, former England national team manager Bobby Robson was appointed manager of Sporting CP and required a local coach to work as an interpreter. Mourinho took the job and as a part of it, he discussed tactics and coaching with Robson.
Mourinho moved to Porto with Robson shortly after, continuing his role as coach and interpreter. He was then made Assistant Manager to Robson and they led Porto on a run of success, reaching the Champions League Semi Final as well as winning the Portuguese League twice, three Portuguese Super Cups and one Taca de Portugal.
Robson then accepted a job as manager of Barcelona and Mourinho moved his family to Spain to continue their partnership. Robson was attack-minded and had a man-management coaching style whilst Mourinho was more defensive and favoured a scientific and tactical coaching style. They complimented each other well and led Barcelona to victory in the European Cup Winners Cup, before Robson departed.
Mourinho had become a more prominent figure at the club, translating press conferences, planning training sessions and giving tactical instructions and was retained by Robson’s successor, Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal allowed Mourinho to develop his own coaching style, gave him the responsibility of coaching Barcelona B and put him in-charge of the first team for certain competitions. The Dutchman saw a huge amount of potential in Mourinho and urged him to become a manager/ head coach instead of working as a number two.
His first opportunity arose four weeks into the 2000/01 Portuguese League season, as Mourinho replaced the outgoing Jupp Heynckes as Benfica manager.
He turned down the opportunity of becoming Assistant to mentor Bobby Robson at Newcastle United, as he prepared for the challenge of management. The role only lasted a few months and Mourinho resigned from his position after just nine games in charge, due to a contract dispute with the new Benfica club president.
A successful management role at Uniao de Leiria caught the eye of the powers that be at larger clubs and Mourinho was hand-picked in January 2002 to take over the reins at Porto to replace Octavio Machado.
Porto won eleven of Mourinho’s first fifteen games at the helm as they finished third in the league. The new manager introduced more scientific training methods and altered the squad, promising that he would guide Porto to the title the following year.
He made good on his promise and led them to the Primeira Liga title in 2003, finishing eleven points clear of Benfica with a then record 86 points. The domestic league title was just one part of a treble, with them also winning the Taca de Portugal and the UEFA Cup in the same season.
The following season saw even more success, when Porto won the Portuguese Super Cup before securing the league title five weeks before the end of the season. They then lost in the Final of the Taca de Portugal but became European champions two weeks later, when they beat Monaco 3-0 to win the 2004 UEFA Champions League.
In June 2004, Mourinho moved to England and became Chelsea manager on a three-year contract. In his first press conference, Mourinho referred to himself as the “Special One” and the nickname has stayed with him since that day.
Bankrolled by Roman Abramovich, Mourinho spent more than £70m to bring in players including Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Tiago, Ricardo Carvalho and Mateja Kezman. These new players would help bring success to Chelsea and they won their first ever Premier League title in Mourinho’s first season.
That first season also saw a run to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League and an English League Cup trophy. The 2005/06 season brought a second consecutive Premier League title and a League Cup and FA Cup double followed in 2006/07.
Despite those successes, as well as reaching the Semi Final of the Champions League again and only narrowly missing out on a third Premier League title, the partnership between Mourinho and Abramovich showed signs of strain. Mourinho left Chelsea “by mutual consent” in September 2007 and was out of the game until June 2008, when he took over at Inter from Roberto Mancini.
He guided Inter to the Serie A title by a ten-point margin and changed the look of the team, bringing in young home-grown players like Mario Balotelli and Davide Santon, but his first season was seen as a disappointment by fans. That disappointment changed to jubilation in his second season, as he guided them to Champions League success to go with another Serie A title and a Coppa Italia trophy.
Six days after winning the Champions League, Mourinho confirmed he would be leaving Inter and he was officially announced as new Real Madrid manager on 31st May 2010. In a three-year reign, he didn’t quite hit the heights of success he had at previous clubs. When he departed the Spanish club on 1st June 2013, he had only managed to win three trophies in his time there but did break several records when winning La Liga in 2011/12.
A second stint at Chelsea began in early June 2013, with them finishing third in what appeared to be a transitional first season back for Mourinho. The following season, Chelsea won the Premier League title again.
The honeymoon didn’t last long and Mourinho left the club “by mutual consent” a second time on 17th December 2015, after an awful run that saw Chelsea lose nine of their opening sixteen Premier League games.
Mourinho will return to the Premier League for the 2016/17 season as manager of former rivals Manchester United, where he is still disliked by many of their fans.
Jose Mourinho never managed to follow in the footsteps of his father on the pitch but has exceeded his successes as a manager. The tactical genius has won several individual awards for coaching including FIFA World Coach of the Year, UEFA Manager of the Year (twice), Premier League Manager of the Year (three times), Serie A Manager of the Year (twice) and was also named Portuguese Manager of the Century in 2015.
With his tactical knowledge and adaptability, as well as winning trophies at every club he has managed, Jose Mourinho is one of the greatest coaches in the world and deservedly known as “The Special One”.