One person who perhaps might not have been so excited about the Blues boss’s return is Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. The pair have seemed to have a mutual disdain for one another and, in the run up to tonight’s League Cup clash at the Emirates, the Portuguese coach took the opportunity to reignite the flames of their previous hostilities.
Mourinho has throughout his career in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain made far more enemies than friends – he’s poked fellow professionals in the eye, he’s made derogatory remarks about many others and he’s dismissed many of his colleagues who are held in high esteem. He shows pretty much no respect for his fellow professionals, no respect for the game via his antics on the touchline and thus, he shows no real respect for himself.
Wenger is the opposite – he is erudite and effusive in his communications with the media, as well as humble and gracious with the vast majority of other managers. He rarely comments publicly to make negative remarks about other players, managers or teams and he is one of the most hospitable and modest men in the game.
Wenger is also quite a proud man whilst being usually very reserved and relaxed – you never get the impression he’s all that egotistical or Napoleonic as a character. He is often open and self-deprecating as well as private and pensive when it comes to himself. It’s never really about it – it’s about the football, the game Arsenal play, the players on the pitch, the ideas, the performance. It’s never about him.
It’s ALWAYS about Mourinho. The game last week against Cardiff is an apt example. Mourinho was unhappy with the referee but instead of expressing that through the appropriate channels, he decides to take his grievance out on the referee directly as if the rules don’t apply to him and ends up being sent off to sit in the stands.
When Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge the first time round, he was the self-proclaimed ‘special one’ – does he have a messiah complex or something? At Inter Milan it was all about Mourinho. At Real Madrid it was all about Mourinho. The man just cannot stand to not be centre stage for a second. It’s childish, really. When scientists discover the centre of the universe, he is going to be very surprised to learn it’s not him.
Mourinho is not a stupid man – to the contrary, he is very intelligent. So is Arsene Wenger but the Frenchman is far more tactful, diplomatic and articulate than Mourinho who, when he’s in a bad mood, resorts to short clipped sentences, shoulder shrugs, eye rolling, huffs and puffs – basically like that Harry Enfield sketch Kevin the teenager. He often resembles an adolescent in his press conferences.
Conversely, Wenger is charismatic, refined and fluent in five languages, scholarly, philosophical – he often discusses politics, history, economics, social matters, and current affairs with great passion, sensitivity, wit and intellect. By comparison, Mourinho is socially inept.
Name one world-class player Jose Mourinho worked with from a junior level to a top class professional at senior level? If you can, I’ll eat my hat. Mourinho has worked with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wesley Sneijder, Sergio Ramos, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben and Zlatan Ibrahimovic but not one of them was a product of Mourinho’s coaching at an early age.
For starters he never sticks around long – when he arrives on the scene he’s like the cool hip new boyfriend of single mother. He wins over the kids’ affection and dazzles them with his edginess but then, after about three years he gets bored and finds some other muse and leaves the woman, and the kids to clean up the pieces and figure it out on their own. He’s a home-wrecker, basically. A womanizer of football clubs.
In that analogy, Wenger is the old granddad who the kids can’t wait to go and see for tea. He’s wise, he’s calm, he’s an educator and his passion enthuses the kids, inspires them and gives them the belief and confidence to do what they want to do. He’s patient and faithful and he never turns his back on them. They trust him and he trusts them.
Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Thierry Henry, Samir Nasri, Nicolas Anelka, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira – these players would not be the world-class players they are and were if they hadn’t worked with Wenger. And the list could go on.
Wenger has a long-standing record of buying young exciting new prospects (Mesut Ozil aside) and developing them into some of the most talented players in the world. A record built on sixteen years of doing just that.
Mourinho has invariably been at clubs and gone to clubs where huge amounts of money are on the table for him to go out and spend and, despite this, he’s never really gotten value for money and he’s always played it quite safe.
For example, he’s bought Ricardo Carvalho twice since he was at Porto, he’s brought in Michael Essien and Samuel Eto’o twice too, probably his best ever signing was Drogba for £24 million but he also spent £30 million on Andrei Shevchenko, £21 million on Shaun Wright-Phillips, and £13.3 million on Paulo Ferreira.
Wenger’s biggest ever spend was on the best number 10 in the word probably in Mesut Ozil for £42.5, but before that it was Santi Cazorla (£13 million), Sylvain Wiltord (£13 million), Andrei Arshavin (£12 million), and Samir Nasri (£12 million).
He got Sol Campbell on a free transfer, Fabregas for £500,000 (and sold him for £35 million), Van Persie for £2.5 million (and sold him for £24 million), Robert Pires for £6 million, Anelka for £500,000 (and sold him for £22.5 million two years later), Kolo Toure for £150,000 (sold for £16 million), Marc Overmars for £5.5 million (sold for £25 million), Vieira for £3.5 million (sold for £13.5 million), and Henry for £11 million (sold for £16 million). Wenger has a degree from the University of Strasbourg in Economics. Mourinho does not and, oh my, how it shows.
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