This time ten years ago, Jose Mourinho was coming off the back of a domestic campaign where he had won the Portuguese League, Cup and Super Cup. Porto were undoubtedly the dominant force in their own country, but winning a competition such as the UEFA Cup made the rest of Europe take notice. A year later Mourinho saw his side lift the European Cup, having reached the pinnacle of club football by winning the Champions League.
Such success is quite breathtaking, especially as this was in only two seasons. And if Mourinho could do that in two, then exactly what was he capable of in the next nine years? We would be lucky enough to find out.
Chelsea were no big shots when the Portuguese manager arrived at Stamford Bridge. They were definitely on the up, but they weren’t quite there yet. Claudio Ranieri had guided the club to the Champions League for the first time in 2003, before seeing them finish as Premier League runners up in 2004, the highest position they had achieved since they last won the title almost 50 years earlier. By the time Mourinho was at the helm, the Blues were done flirting with the UEFA Cup places and seemed destined to win silverware.
Two successive Premier League trophies, two League Cups and an FA Cup would follow. Chelsea had become one of the top dogs in England, with the financial power of Roman Abramovich assisting Mourinho’s tactical genius.
Having completed the Stamford Bridge club’s transformation into one of Europe’s elite, he took over at a club that already had a very prestigious history. That club was Inter Milan, to whom ‘The Special One’ delivered two Scudetti, a Coppa Italia and, most significantly, a European Cup.
Winning the Champions League was something that eluded Mourinho during his time at Chelsea, as well as at Real Madrid, where in three years he was only (yes, only) able to achieve one La Liga title and a Copa del Rey. Then again, Barcelona are hardly an easy team to overcome, despite what Bayern Munich might tell you.
We have learnt a lot about the former Porto coach in the last ten years. We have also seen the Blues both succeed and falter during his time away from west London, now finding themselves in a similar situation to when he first arrived.
Expect Mourinho to have an impact at Chelsea this season. And expect it to be big.
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