When a football fan hears of the term “controversial manager,” the name of Jose Mourinho automatically springs to mind. From winning almost every major title he has contested for to falling out with some of the biggest players in the world – the Portuguese tactician has done it all.
Apart from his antics on the pitch and in the dressing room, however, the man is also famous for being involved in some of the most heated encounters with his fellow rival gaffers, as evident from his latest scathing comments aimed at “worst manager in Premier League history” Frank De Boer.
Similar to this instance involving the Dutchman, Mourinho has time and again shot his foes down using nothing but words in his interviews and press conferences, and here are 5 of the best of them:
5. Claudio Ranieri, 2008
Claudio Ranieri, the man who led Leicester City to a fairytale Premier League title, was actually the one to begin this particular feud. The Italian tactician had slated Mourinho by stating: “Unlike Mourinho, I don’t need to win to be sure about what I am doing. I can take a defeat because last year we lost a few and we always managed to react.”
A few months later, in August 2008, the Portuguese tactician was on the verge of beginning his Inter Milan career with a league game against Sampdoria, and he did so in some style.
Mourinho was asked about the then Juventus manager’s comments during the pre-match press conference, to which he replied: “Ranieri was right, I do need to win things to be sure of what I am doing. That’s why I have won so many trophies in my career.
“By contrast he has the mentality that winning isn’t crucial, and at 70 years old he has won just a Super Cup and other small tournaments. He is too old to change his mentality.”
4. Carlo Ancelotti, 2009
The incident occurred in 2009, but this time, after a match between Inter and Sampdoria in the Serie A. Following the game, Jose Mourinho walked straight down the touchline, for which he was accused of showing “a lack of respect” by Carlo Ancelotti.
Naturally, Jose had a comeback ready, and he blurted it out by taking a dig at the infamous defeat Ancelotti’s AC Milan side suffered at the hands of Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final.
“Many coaches have won it more than once, but there is only one club that was leading 3-0 in the final and managed to lose it. Sir Alex Ferguson has also won it twice. He is 68 and we’ll see how many I have bagged in 23 years,” taunted Mourinho.
3. Pep Guardiola, 2011
Following one such Clasico, wherein the Catalan giants beat the Galacticos 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to reach the final of the Champions League, Mourinho launched a scathing attack at the Spanish tactician, and the help Barca seemed to have received from the match officials.
Jose’s rant was as follows: “One day, I would like Josep Guardiola to win this competition properly. If I tell UEFA what I really think and feel, my career would end now. Instead I will just ask a question to which I hope one day to get a response: Why?
“Why does a team as good as they are need something [extra] that is so obvious that everyone sees it? I don’t know if it is the UNICEF sponsorship or if it is because they are nice guys. I don’t understand.
“Josep Guardiola is a fantastic coach. But I have won two Champions Leagues and he has won [only] one Champions League – and that is one that would embarrass me.
“I would be ashamed to have won it with the scandal of Stamford Bridge. If he wins it this year, it will be with the scandal of the Bernabeu. Deep down, if they are good people, it cannot taste right for them. I hope one day Guardiola has the chance of winning a brilliant, clean championship with no scandal.”
4. Arsene Wenger, 2014
Mourinho and Wenger have been at war since 2005, and their rivalry has included it all – from calling names like “voyeur” to shoving and pushing each other on the touchline. However, this remark made by Mourinho back in 2014 is arguably the most iconic of the lot.
In February 2014, Chelsea and Arsenal were battling for Premier League glory, with the Blues holding a narrow 1-point lead over their London rivals at the top of the table. This is when Wenger hit out at his rivals, by claiming that they were all playing down the Gunners’ title chances because they “fear to fail”.
In Mourinho’s subsequent press conference, he absolutely blasted the Frenchman, by bringing Arsenal’s dry spell in terms of trophies, which was on since their FA Cup win back in 2005, into full focus.
“If he is right and I am afraid of failure, it is because I didn’t fail many times. Eight years without silverware, that’s failure. He’s a specialist in failure. If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don’t come back.”
5. Antonio Conte, 2018
Jose Mourinho has been sparring with Antonio Conte ever since the Italian succeeded him at the Chelsea helm. Having already insulted the former Juventus boss by making fun of his hair transplant and literally labelling him as a “clown,” the Portuguese landed the knockout blow in January 2018.
After the prolonged exchange between the two, Mourinho decided to end the verbal feud altogether, but this final remark also consisted of a dig at Conte’s match-fixing suspension in the Serie A.
“What never happened to me – and will never happen – is to be suspended for match-fixing. That never happened to me and will never happen,” the master of mind games concluded.