In taxing times, Mourinho can look to himself

LONDON • Self-confidence is not a problem for Jose Mourinho. The self-anointed "Special One" even used to keep a life-size cardboard cut-out of himself in his office at Real Madrid.

But then Mourinho does not have much to be modest about. The Portuguese has managed Benfica, Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan, Real Madrid and now Manchester United. He has won the Premier League three times, the Champions League twice and numerous domestic titles.

Combined with all that, the 53-year-old has an elegant dress sense, brooding good looks and a loving family. But no one divides the football world quite like Jose Mario dos Santos Mourinho Felix.

Born in 1963 to a footballing family in Setubal, a seaside municipality 49km south of Lisbon, his father was a professional player who moved into management.

Mourinho's playing career was undistinguished and his mother enrolled him in a business school, but he dropped out on the first day to focus on sports science.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho looking at his notebook ahead of a Premier League game against Leicester City. The Portuguese has noted his own brilliance numerous times and is rarely – if ever – low on self-confidence. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


He must really think I'm a great guy... otherwise he would not have given me so much.

JOSE MOURINHO , the Manchester United manager, on his God-given talents.

He subsequently rose from a lowly translator helping Bobby Robson coach in Portugal in the early 1990s to become one of the game's most successful managers.

From the moment he took up his first lucrative managerial role with Chelsea in 2004 he was a headline writer's dream, famously describing himself as the "Special One" at his opening press conference.

By 2014, he had earned more than £90 million (S$162.63 million) - and paid normal income tax on it.

Yet millions more were allegedly tucked away offshore in an inactive "shell" company.

This was reportedly portrayed to tax authorities as a functioning company incurring heavy costs that could be set against taxes.

A desire to be the centre of attention appears to be a driving force for him, whether it be histrionics on the touchline or feuds with other managers.

He once labelled Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger "a voyeur" and, after a brawl with Barcelona's then-assistant coach Tito Vilanova, Mourinho claimed that he did not know who "Pito" Vilanova was. "Pito" is Spanish slang for penis.

But, if he can control players and managers, his teenage daughter Matilde proved he was not the boss at home when she went out with him to an awards dinner in a breathtakingly plunging neckline.

Mourinho mustered his best scowl and looked for all the world like the protective father who had forgotten to bring his shotgun.

He can turn to his Catholic religion for comfort. He says he speaks to God every day.

"He must really think I'm a great guy... otherwise he would not have given me so much," he said.

So, according to Mourinho, even God is a fan.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2016, with the headline 'In taxing times, Mourinho can look to himself'. Print Edition | Subscribe