Jose Mourinho’s football career as a player

We are all accustomed to the Portuguese manager who loves to call himself the ‘special one’, Jose Mourinho. The man who has so far managed illustrious clubs like Benfica, Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United and currently Tottenham Hotspur has rose through the coaching ranks with an impressive brand of football and his innovative techniques against the stalwarts.

However, the side of Mourinho that we are unaware of is his playing days. Something we simply cannot envisage Mourinho doing on the field is being clad in his club kit an bombing down the field, racking up goals, putting in clattering tackles and rallying his defenders with a vocal impetus. We have been so acclimatized to the man being wrapped in his tweeds and trousers, entertaining the crowd with his antics that we have forgotten the fact that to come to this level, a preceptor needs to have the minimal sense of football and must have been a part f a professional club till a certain extent.

Today in this article we will like to look at the playing career that was left behind by Mou in his pursuit of excellence as a manager.


Who did Mourinho play as a player for?

Much to the dismay of Mourinho’s fans, the Portuguese thinktank never really made it big in football. Hi father, however, kissed the pinnacle with some humdinger goalkeeping for nearly twenty years as a custodian for Vitoria Setubal and Belenenses. His dad, Felix Mourinho also made it to the national team at the age of 34 years in the year of 1972.

After hanging his boots, Felix took to the managerial career and was a part of the newly promulgated Rio Ave, where his son was a future prospect.

Haplessly, for Jose, he lacked the sting in him to make it big for a longer term and crumbled to dust shortly. In 1982, Jose moved to Belenenses, his father’s erstwhile outfit, the club that was recently relegated to from the clique of elites to the following division.


A year later, Mourinho switched his allegiance to another low-lying league club in the form of Sesimbra and concurrently, he was also enrolled at the University of Lisbon to study sports, snubbing his mother’s idea of doing a business course.

Before letting the sun set on his playing career at an untimely age of just 23 years, Mourinho went on to be a part of another small club called Comercio E Industria in his home town of Setubal.

He later confessed, “I’m an intelligent person. I knew I was not going to go any higher. The second division was my level.”


The fact that he used to do scouting for his father at a tender age of just 14 years, hinted at him possessing a managerial mind.

How did the ‘special one’ Jose Mourinho become the ‘one’ in the first place?

Mourinho started off as a PE teacher but he got his first opportunity in football as a youth coach in Vitoria Setubal. He then landed the job of assistant at Estrela da Amadora. This is when his life changed for the best as Bobby Robson, the former England manager, took over the helms of Sporting CP and insisted on appointing an English-speaking coach in the managing staff. Mourinho initially started his professional managerial career as a translator.

The bond between Robson and Mourinho went on to become so strong that the duo at one point in time seemed inseparable. Mou followed Robson to Porto in 1993 and then to Barcelona.


Despite Robson being removed from the position of the Barcelona manager, Mourinho stayed back and worked hard under the chaperonage of Louis Van Gaal at Camp Nou.

At the age of 37 in 2000, he finally landed the job of being the boss at Benfica but a burgeoning political chasm with the newly elected president made Mourinho quit only after 9 games. He didn’t have much trouble however, in finding a new club and was shortly appointed by Uniao De Leiria in 2001 and Porto snaffled him up after 18 months.

Two and half years later at Porto, where he arrived with his mentor, Robson a decennium back, he won the Champions League for the Spanish team.


The late Robson penned a beautiful message for his ward, citing, “And to think…he was just a schoolteacher when I met him.”

Trophies won by Mourinho

As a player, Mourinho’s trophy cabinet is empty as his stint as a footballer was poor and despite exhibiting spasmodic bursts of brilliance, he was never consistent. His fleeting dalliance with the ball as a player made life a living hell for the Portuguese sensation.

However, his brain as a manager was working like a tracer bullet as it had everything stored in it and it stayed witness to the perfect imposition of the tactics.


He has managed to win the Primeira Liga twice, Taca de Portugal once, Supertaca Candido de Oliviera once, Champions League twice, Europa League once, League Cup twice, Premier League thrice, FA Cup once, FA Community Shield twice, Serie A twice, Coppa Italia once, Super Coppa Italiana once, La Liga once, Copa Del Rey once and Supercopa de Espana once.

One of the most decorated managers in the history of the game continues to be a major driving force at Tottenham at the moment and his new-found tactics have been well-met at the club.

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