From ‘the special one’ to savaging players: Jose Mourinho’s most hysterical and controversial quotes

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Often barmy, always Box Office, it's never boing with Jose around

Loving life at Roma and looking a million dollars, Jose Mourinho is very much back. He's become a low key Instagram star, he's started getting tattoos, and he has the red half of Rome eating out of his hand as they gear up for an unlikely but well overdue title charge.

Despite this happiness, Jose remains one of the game's premier put down merchants. A press conference savage. A motormouth with a glint in his eye.

Here are some of his most memorable quotes from the last 20 years:

  1. Shaw’s body, Mourinho's brain
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    Shaw’s body, Mourinho's brain

    After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Everton at Old Trafford, Mourinho chose to single out a 21-year-old Luke Shaw, claiming his touchline instructions were the only reason why the Englishman had a good performance.

    “He (Shaw) had a good performance, but it was his body, with my brain. Because he was in front of me, and I was making every decision for him.

    “I was thinking for him, when to close inside, when to open, when to go in, when to press the opponent, I was making every decision for him.”

    This was only the beginning of what went on to be a sour relationship between the player and manager that lasted long after Mourinho left Old Trafford.

    Almost three years on from his Man Utd dismissal, Shaw's "dramatically bad" corners were highlighted by Mourinho during an analysis of an England vs. Czech Republic Euro 2020 group stage fixture, except this time, Shaw retaliated.

    “He continuously talks about me, which I find quite strange. Even some of the lads have said ‘What’s his problem?’ and ‘Why does he keep talking?’ He just needs to move on. Clearly I am in his head a lot and he clearly thinks about me a lot.”

  2. Good morning, Claudio
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    Good morning, Claudio

    The choice by Mourinho to frequently skip press conferences during his time at Inter generated quite a fuss in the Italian media, and Claudio Ranieri, the manager of Juventus at the time, explicitly called him out on it. So Mourinho hit back.

    "I studied Italian five hours a day for many months to ensure I could communicate with the players, media and fans. Ranieri had been in England for five years and still struggled to say ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon.’ Who is he to tell me what to do?"

  3. Vrooooooooom
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    Vrooooooooom

    When faced with criticism of his playing style at Inter, Mourinho used a peculiar car analogy to describe how he sets up his side to get a result, hinting at the dark arts of the game.

    "It’s not important how we play. If you have a Ferrari and I have a small car, to beat you in a race I have to break your wheel or put sugar in your tank".

  4. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
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    Nada. Zip. Zilch.

    After suffering a painful 3-1 home loss to Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool during his second stint at Chelsea, Mourinho stubbornly refused to reveal anything in his post-match interview. The same answer was given in response to all four prodding questions.

    Interviewer: “Jose, a 3-1 defeat after a fabulous start, the game just got away from you there.”

    Mourinho: “I have nothing to say.”

    Interviewer: “Nothing to say about the game at all?

    Mourinho: “Nothing, nothing, I have nothing to say.”

    Interviewer: “Nothing to say about the Lucas decision that left him on the pitch?”

    Mourinho: I have nothing to say, nothing to say.”

    Interviewer: “The Costa clash?”

    Mourinho: “I have nothing to say, I’m so sorry, I have nothing to say.”

  5. As modest as Mourinho gets
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    As modest as Mourinho gets

    After a goalless draw against Rayo Mallorca in his first game in charge of Real Madrid, the Portuguese man admitted that despite the aura which surrounds him, he’s no magician.

    "Look, I’m a coach. I’m not Harry Potter. He is magical, but in reality there is no magic. Magic is fiction and football is real".

  6. Varane is Pepe’s problem
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    Varane is Pepe’s problem

    When Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas was dropped by Mourinho, Pepe felt that as a veteran at the club, he should intervene and defend his long-time teammate.

    But Mourinho viewed his defence of the Spanish goalkeeper as a mere smoke screen, he believed Pepe was only speaking out because he was also being dropped in favour of Raphael Varane, who was an up and coming centre-back at the time.

    "Pepe has a problem. And his name is Raphael Varane, that's the whole story. It isn't easy for a man aged 31 with a lot of experience behind him to be blown out of the water by a kid of 19. It's very simple. The problem is very simple. Pepe's life has changed."

  7. Carvalho’s doctor appointment
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    Carvalho’s doctor appointment

    Ricardo Carvalho was a proper ‘Mourinho player’ ; no one has had more appearances for the Portuguese manager, from Champions League triumph with Porto to record-breaking league campaigns with Chelsea and Real Madrid, he became Mourinho’s go to guy.

    But even he wasn’t void of a grilling from Jose. When Carvalho was dropped for William Gallas in Chelsea’s first fixture of the 2005-06 season, he expressed disgruntlement at the decision, which was picked up and published by the press. Once Mourinho found out, he did not bite his tongue.

    “Ricardo Carvalho seems to have problems understanding things; maybe he should have an IQ test, I am not happy to have heard about this through the papers. Ricardo has worked with me for four years and I do not understand these quotes, he probably needs to see a doctor.”

  8. Bad eggs, bad omelette
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    Bad eggs, bad omelette

    In 2007, towards the end of Jose’s first spell as Chelsea manager, the Portuguese man whipped out another one of his humorous analogies to describe the Blues’ transfer funds, or lack thereof.

    "It is omelettes and eggs. No eggs – no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.”

  9. Donkeys and Horses
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    Donkeys and Horses

    In 2000, when Mourinho took over as head coach of Benfica in what was his first head coach role, the club’s board suggested he should take on Jesualdo Ferreira as his assistant coach. Ferreira at the time was head coach of Portuguese side Alverca, but was familiar with Benfica, having already taken on the assistant coach position there from 1992-1994. But Mourinho refused, and instead opted to take on Carlos Mozer, a retired Benfica player.

    Mourinho and Ferreira were familiar with one another, from their time at the Lisbon superior institute for physical education, where the former was a student and the latter was a teacher. But Mourinho was clearly not impressed and when comparing himself to Ferreira in a weekly column for Portuguese magazine Record Dez, he didn’t hold back….

    "The one with 30 years (Ferreira) has never won anything; the one with three years (Mourinho) has won a lot. The one who has coached for 30 years has an enormous career; the one with three years has a small career.

    "The one with a 30-year career will be forgotten when he ends it; the one with three could end it right now and he could never be erased from history.

    "This could be the story of a donkey who worked for 30 years but never became a horse."

  10. Preferred not to speak, but hey ho
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    Preferred not to speak, but hey ho

    A game of big decisions for the match officials; three red cards, including one for Jose and a disallowed goal. In what was a surprise 1-0 defeat for Chelsea against Aston Villa in March of 2014. Mourinho acknowledged in his post-match interview that it would be better for him to refrain from commenting on the calls made during the game, so that’s what he did, or at least that’s what he tried to do?

    “I prefer not to comment because if you want to speak about big decisions, you don't just speak about the red cards, I prefer really not to speak, If I speak, I am in big trouble, in big trouble, and I don’t want to be in big trouble.

    "I prefer not to speak, If I speak I am accused of bringing the game into disrepute, because the referees do what they do, they do and they go home, they do and they don't go to the press.

    “They do and refuse even to exchange a couple of words when one person, like me who has been in football for so long, asks politely, 'Can you speak with me for five seconds?' and it's 'No, I don't speak with you for five seconds'. So I have to keep with my position, which compared to a referee’s position in the game, is nothing, and I have to go home and close my mouth.”

  11. Never admit you're wrong
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    Never admit you're wrong

    Before going on to win multiple Premier League titles and back-to-back PFA player of the year awards, Kevin De Bruyne was on the brink of the Chelsea team but was never able to establish himself under Mourinho’s reign and eventually moved to Wolfsburg in 2014, where he flourished.

    In his first full season with the German club, the Belgian international went on to contribute an astounding 16 goals and 28 assists in 50 appearances. You'd think that at this time, Mourinho would wish he had given De Bruyne a better opportunity at Chelsea, but in fact, according to his harsh interpretation of the situation, he thought De Bruyne needed to leave to achieve that level.

    “With De Bruyne, if you have a player knocking on your door and crying every day he wants to leave, you have to make a decision. At that time, Chelsea did well,” Mourinho noted in 2015. "But, if he was at Chelsea and not at Wolfsburg, he wouldn't have reached this level. It was like a wall, a block. He was not ready to compete. He was an upset kid, training very bad.”

  12. Mourinho’s apology to Schweinsteiger
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    Mourinho’s apology to Schweinsteiger

    By the time Mourinho took over Man Utd in 2016, Bastian Schweinsteiger was not the player he once was, partly down to age but also down to injury. So in the manager's takeover of the club, he viewed the German midfielder as a player who should be moved on, but rather than be upfront and honest about it, he sidelined Schweinsteiger, dropped him to the U-23s, in the hope of focing an exit, a decision he later regretted.

    “He is in the category of players I feel sorry for something that I did to him, I want to speak about him as a professional, as a human being. It was the last thing I told him before he left; I was not right with you once, I have to be right with you now.”

  13. God’s favourite child
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    God’s favourite child

    Speaking in 2011, Mourinho expressed what he believed god must have thought of him to have brought him this far in life.

    “He must think I’m a great guy, he must think that because otherwise he would not have given me so much... he must have a very high opinion of me.”

  14. Cashmere blankets

    Cashmere blankets

    Mourinho used an intriguing blanket analogy in 2007 to explain the injury crisis that Chelsea were undergoing at the time.

    "It is like having a blanket that is too small for the bed. You pull the blanket up to keep your chest warm and your feet stick out. I cannot buy a bigger blanket because the supermarket is closed. But I am content because the blanket is cashmere. It is no ordinary blanket.”

    Mourinho obviously had a fondness for this particular comparison as he re-visited it in 2020 while at Tottenham, to yet again describe his depleted squad.

    "It's like when you have a blanket in your bed, you push the blanket out, then you have cold feet. You cover your feet, then half your body is outside the blanket”

  15. A Hockey game
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    A Hockey game

    In 2004, Mourinho launched an attack on his at the time league rivals Arsenal, after they defeated Tottenham 5-4. Despite Arsene Wenger's side getting the win, Jose was unimpressed that a football game could be so high scoring....

    "Five-four is a hockey score, not a football score. In a three-against-three training match, if the score reaches 5-4, I send the players back to the dressing rooms as they are not defending properly. So to get a result like that in a game of 11 against 11 is disgraceful."

    Ironically, Mourinho's Tottenham side lost 5-4 to Everton in an FA Cup tie in 2021.

  16. Chelsea’s downfall
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    Chelsea’s downfall

    In 2010, while managing Inter, as a response to Luiz Felipe Scolari’s sacking at Chelsea, Mourinho had a swipe at his former employers, claiming that the west London club's struggles were solely due to his departure from Stamford Bridge.

    “Why have Chelsea suffered so much since I left? Because I left”

  17. Judas Mourinho
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    Judas Mourinho

    While manager of Manchester United in 2018, he came up against his former side Chelsea in an FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge which ended 1-0 in favour of the Blues.

    The home fans, still unhappy at the state of the club after Jose’s second tenure there, shouted abuse at him throughout the game, including comments such as “It’s all your fault” and “You’re not special any more”, calling him 'Judas' in the process. A nickname which Mourinho embraced.

    He explained in his post-match conference: “They can call me what they want. Until the moment they have a manager that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I’m the number one. When they have somebody that wins four Premier Leagues for them, I become number two. Until this moment Judas is number one.”