From claiming himself to be the ‘Special One’ to hinting at conspiracies among referees in La Liga to slamming people like Claudio Ranieri, Pietro Lo Monaco and Frank Rijkaard to comparing his players to eggs, over the years the 51-year-old has made comments both in English and European football that have hit the headlines.
Mourinho has a ‘special’ place in English football, and it extends beyond results. Yet, that place is under threat because of the arrival of a certain Louis van Gaal.
You don’t need me to tell you Van Gaal’s managerial pedigree; a quick look at his Wikipedia page will tell you all you need to know. No, it is not the Dutchman’s record as a manager that could topple Mourinho off his perch in English football; it is his personality and character.
Mourinho is an unique character and these days when managers often make some rather boring and run-of-the-mill statements, the former Inter Milan and Real Madrid coach continues to make heads turn with some of the unique stuff he comes up with, Van Gaal is going to be just that, only better. Just like Mourinho, he is a ‘character’, and he will be fresh for the English media.
For one, Van Gaal does not entertain silly questions. German legend Franz Beckenbauer, who worked with the Dutchman for two years at Bayern Munich, said so last month. When a BBC journalist asked him what he knew about United, he said: “That’s a stupid question”. Expect him to be snappy and dismissive when it comes to press conferences next season.
Then there is his no-nonsense approach to management. If he is the manager, then he is the boss: there are no two ways about it. Legend has it that at Bayern he fell out with Luca Toni because the Italian striker was not having his meal while sitting up straight. Van Gaal is a strict disciplinarian, who also fell out with Brazilian legend Lucio.
At Bayern, Van Gaal fell out with his players and the bigwigs behind the scenes, club icons such as Uli Hoeness. Hoeness made a stark statement about the Dutchman last year that few have said about managers.
‘Van Gaal's problem is not that he's God, but he's God's very own father’, he stated. ‘Louis was already there before the world even existed. If you look at the world from that perspective, like Van Gaal does, it is hard to see what the world really looks like’.
Van Gaal is said to be egotistical and arrogant who sees the world in his own image and wants everyone to do the same. And now he is coming to English football, where there is already a certain Mourinho who hogs the media limelight. Yet, the Portuguese has just endured a trophyless season and there have been suggestions that he is slightly losing his touch.
The 62-year-old will arrive in Manchester amid much fanfare and will take charge of one of the world’s biggest clubs – certainly England’s biggest. His is a personality that will overshadow every other manager’s in the Premier League, including that of Mourinho.
Mourinho may be the ‘Special One’, but Van Gaal is ‘God’s very own father’.