Since he was analyzing his father’s games at his house in Setúbal until the tears this Thursday at the Rome Olympics. Many things have happened between those two moments in Jose Mourinho’s life. Touch the glory at the top and also know the setbacks in projects that were destined to reach the top. One that in one way or another, there are rarely times when it does not arrive. If Mourinho knows anything, it is to lead in the search for the summit and it is a guarantee of ‘climbing’ through Europe to almost every bench that arrives.
This Thursday, he did it with Roma in the first edition of the Conference League, the new UEFA competition. The Gialorossi beat Leicester City by the minimum at home with a goal from Tammy Abraham, the new star that the Portuguese polished after removing her from Chelsea. A tight result and a hard-fought match that made Mourinho emotional because of the difficulties he had experienced before, but also because of the identification he now feels with the club from the capital. “I shed a tear for all those people who love the club. This is a giant club with a track record that does not correspond to its social dimension,” said the coach.
One who is meeting his goals. Roma have returned to a continental final 31 years later and are 90 minutes and one win away from winning their first title since 2008. A win that will once again be special for the self-styled most special of managers.
His path has not been easy until this match. There were embarrassing defeats, like the one against Bodo, which could have marked the season for the worse. Far from it, the team has been recovering until taking the coach to his fifth continental final and achieving it, moreover, in all UEFA competitions.
His first time was with Porto in 2003. Like this year, Seville was the venue for the final and the Portuguese team beat Celtic Glasgow 3-2. It was his first European title before the great fairy tale.
Porto reached the Champions League final in the following season leaving out Manchester United, Olympique de Lyon and SuperDepor in an agonizing tie that was decided with a penalty from Derlei. In the final, Mourinho did not fail either and won 3-0 against Monaco led by Giuly, Morientes and Deschamps, leaving Real Madrid behind. European Champion for the first time and once again, climbing a great summit. Perhaps the most special mountain of him.
In 2010 he climbed again with Inter and led him to the best season in his history. Scudetto, Coppa Italia and closing the treble by winning the Champions League at the Bernabéu. Mourinho crowned Everest in Madrid thanks to the success of Diego Milito in a team where Eto’o and Wesley Sneijder also shone the most. He left Bayern with the silver and stayed at the Bernabéu saying goodbye in an iconic image between tears of Marco Materazzi. A hug to all the staff in their toughest farewell to stay in the capital of Spain.
His last final was at Manchester United in what was the Red Devils’ last title until today. Bozs’s Ajax, the forerunner of Ten Hag’s that came so close to the Champions League final, fell 0-2 to Jose Mourinho’s block, who once again raised the second great European champion.
Again against a Dutch teamFeyenoord, Jose Mourinho will have to defend that 100% effectiveness in the finals in the third continental competition. There is no lesser challenge for the Portuguese when it comes to being the best. The most special.
His two most special attempts
Before it was Chelsea, where he touched the long-awaited final of the European Cup and, after Inter, he succeeded him at Real Madrid. The Portuguese took a team lacking in competitive instinct and designed a winning machine, but the final and winning the Champions League escaped him due to details.
From his arrival to his departure, Real Madrid was always among the four best in Europe. Three seasons and three semifinals after chaining consecutive eliminations in the round of 16 in the previous five years. In the first, and after a legendary exchange in the press rooms between him and Guardiola, Leo Messi decided the tie with a goal to remember. One that, as Mourinho himself pointed out in the post-match, was lost not without controversy.
On the second occasion, the Bernabéu experienced a very tough penalty shootout against Bayern when they were convinced that this could be the year. The Real Madrid of records in the League was possibly the best team on the continent, but the penalties ended up deciding that the brake would come in that round.
Last year, with a worse season in the League, Real Madrid focused its efforts on Europe. The 4-1 in Dortmund, with Lewandowski’s poker, complicated the matter, but that’s where the atmosphere of modern comebacks was born. The fans joined as in times to make the first great welcome to the team and this one was close to coming back. There were occasions, but there was not enough success nor did luck smile.
The best Italian in Europe
Although it is located in the center of the ‘shank’ of the boot, Rome feels of the south in the historical rivalry with Turin and Milan. One that permeates all of Calcio and where those below can score a bit this season.
The north cups Serie A with Milan leading and Inter trailing (75 points, two away). In the League, Napoli maintain their southern pride in third place with Juve, their great rival, aiming for their position with only one point and three games to play. Roma are now ten behind the Turinese, but they are proud to say that they are the Italian team that has gone the furthest this season in Europe. In the Champions League, Milan were left out in the group stage against Liverpool, Atleti and Porto. Inter, also in this competition, said goodbye in the round of 16 just against Anfield, like their stadium neighbors. Atalanta stayed in the group stage and went to the Europa League while Juventus fell against Villarreal in a yellow feat.
In the Europa League, Lazio and Napoli disappointed, falling to second place in the group stage and losing their knockout rounds to Porto and Barcelona. The Atalanta who fell from the Champions League took advantage of their opportunity a little more. He left Leverkusen out, but fell to RB Leizpig.
In the Conference, Roma had a tough time, but came in leading their group and knocked out Vitesse in the round of 16, took revenge on Bodo/Glimt in the quarters and dropped Leicester in the semis. Now, Mourinho wants to set the party in Rome with a title. One that will try to be heard even in the north.