Posts Tagged Jose Mourinho

Essien ready to play for “daddy”

Michael Essien’s shock deadline-day move to Real Madrid came as a surprise to many, including the man himself. The Ghanaian midfielder however, admits that it was a welcome surprise as the move sees him re-united with the man he refers to as “daddy”— Jose Mourinho.

Essien who is fondly nicknamed ‘The Bison’ because of his powerful physical presence was originally signed by Jose Mourinho for Chelsea in 2005.

Essien describes Mourinho as being “like a father to him” and he proved he meant it by repeatedly calling his manager “daddy” during his press conference.

Reuters reports:

“Daddy (Mourinho) knows me very well, he brought me to Chelsea, and he knows I can play in any position he wants – except goalkeeper.”

Everything went very fast and I was in my hotel room and I had a call from my daddy and he said he would be very happy to have me at the club,” he said.

“I never thought I would end up here. I was focused on Chelsea and I didn’t know that Real Madrid would make a bid for me.

“When Mourinho calls it’s more than enough. All I want to do is play football and when he rang me I said yes immediately.

“When I arrived he was at the airport. We were really happy to see each other and I am really looking forward to starting playing and enjoying the football.”

Essien called Mourinho “daddy” not less than 10 times during the press conference. The twittersphere has been abuzz since with views fluctuating between the endearment being “awesome” to it being “the creepiest thing ever”.

Whatever the view, Essien’s press conference does shed light on perhaps why so many managers have tried but failed at Chelsea since Mourinho.

The Special One with his strange ways, from making the players believe he is their father to praising them in the shower, really had worked a magical spell on the Chelsea players.

Essien believes that he has put a series of serious injuries behind him and is ready to fight for a place in the La Liga side.

“If I wasn’t ready Real Madrid would not have brought me here,” he says.

Real Madrid’s start to the season hasn’t been spectacular. They have taken only one point from their opening two matches and they know that they are going to have to do a lot better if they are to win a second consecutive La Liga tile.

I guess we’ll find out if  “daddy” knows best.

Happy Father’s Day everyone.

If you fancy some mathematical stimulation, here’s the video.

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Real Madrid win: Ronaldo faux pas

In a record breaking season, Real Madrid claimed their 32nd La Liga title with two games to spare. The Spanish giants, who have lost only two games this season, still have a chance to surpass Barcelona’s record of highest points scored in a season. They have already broken the previous La Liga record of goals scored in a season and are sitting pretty with a 115 goals.

For Jose Mourinho too, this has been a milestone season. He was hired with the specific brief of defeating Barcelona. A job he has done exceptionally well. This is Madrid’s first title under the ‘special one’ and with it he has won league titles in four different countries. A feat accomplished by only three other managers – Ernst Happel, Giovanni Trapattoni and Tomislav Ivic.

While Real Madrid made history, Cristiano Ronaldo made a fool of himself.

Ronaldo, who has scored 44 of the 115 Madrid goals this season, also scored in their win 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao which sealed the title for them. But in true Ronaldo style, being just a hero was too much for the Portuguese who couldn’t let bygones be bygones.

It happened when Javi Martinez, who was sent off in the 72nd minute for his second handball, dared to come up to Ronaldo just as Madrid were starting to celebrate after the final whistle blew.

Ronaldo, celebrating his first title in Spain and the fourth of his career, shouted at Martinez and gave him the “shove it” gesture and then continued celebrating with his teammates.

So much for classy winners and losers.

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Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent

Liverpool FC have announced that Rafael Benitez has left the club by mutual consent. The Spaniard succeeded Gerard Houllier at the english premier league club 6 years ago in June 2004. In 2005, his very first season at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez lead the club to Champions League success followed by an FA cup in 2006. He became the first manager in Liverpool’s illustrious history to win major trophies in his first 2 seasons. American businessmen, Tom Hicks and George Gillette took over the club in 2007 marking a new era for Liverpool FC and Benitez. The new owners were quick to back Benitez and Liverpool returned to the finals of the Champions League in 2007 but this time lost to AC Milan.

The fans however were getting impatient and wanted desperately to win the Premier League title back from their fierce rivals Manchester United. The owners made funds available for Benitez so he could deliver the Premier League. A record £26.5m pounds were spent to bring spanish striker Fernando Torres to the club but the premier league title eluded the Anfield faithful.

Last season Liverpool went out in the group stages of the Champions League and finished 7th in the league table, denying them Champions League football this season. Benitez’s tactics on the field as well as his transfer dealings including the £20m spent on the rarely used Robbie Keane and £20m on an injured Alberto Aquilani started to frustrate the fans and friction between the owners and Benitez became more and more public. However, it seems that falling out of the top 4 is what ultimately caused Benitez to lose his job.

Benitez, who had four years left of his five year contract to run, resigned after accepting a severance payment said that he was “extremely sad” to be leaving the club. The former Valencia manager had in the recent months been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid.  The posts at both these clubs have been recently filled since and it seems likely that Rafael Benitez might fill the spot left vacant by Jose Mourinho at at this year’s European Champions Inter Milan.

Liverpool FC which in debt to the tune of £351m and was put up on sale by it owners now focuses on finding a successor to Rafael Benitez. Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, Fulham boss Roy Hodgeson as well as former Chelsea manager Gus Hiddink have all been linked with the job. The search for a new manager however could be hindered by the uncertainty surrounding the Liverpool FC’s future ownership and its precarious financial condition.

Article first published as Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent on Technorati.

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Avram Grant Named New West Ham Manager

West Ham United have appointed Avram Grant as the club’s new manager. The Israeli signed a four-year deal which is subject to him being granted a work-permit. The former Portsmouth manager succeeds Gianfranco Zola who was sacked after the Hammers finished 17th in last season’s league.

Avram Grant who is a personal friend of Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, shot into the limelight when he was appointed the  manager of Chelsea FC following the abrupt departure of the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Chelsea fans were shocked by Jose Mourinho’s sacking and livid at the owner’s choice of ‘The Special One’s’ successor sparking a series of protests, some of racial and anti semantic nature. They felt he lacked the expertise to manage at the highest level. UEFA didn’t make things easier for Avram Grant either, with the governing body threatening to put an end to his long-term future at Chelsea FC since he did not possess the UEFA Pro License required under the Premier League rules by anyone wishing to manage a top-flight club on a permanent basis i.e. longer than 12 weeks.Despite all the chaos surrounding his appointment, Avram Grant kept his head and led Chelsea FC to a second place finish in the Premier League, to the Champions League Final, the League Cup Final and the FA Cup final.

Avram Grant’s contract was terminated by Chelsea FC at the end of the season and he moved to Portsmouth FC.

During his tenure at Portsmouth, they suffered a 9-point deduction owing to their financial meltdown and became the first top-flight club to go into administration. Avram Grant however, motivated his players who had not been paid on several occasions to give it their best every time they went on to the pitch. He galvanized the team and Portsmouth fought till the very end. Grant quite brilliantly, through sheer grit, determination and belief managed to take the most-obvious relegation candidates to England’s most coveted Cup Final, the FA Cup Final. Even though Portsmouth lost to Chelsea in the final, their fans continued to sing past the final whistle, still believing in their club. Last season truly was one of Avram Grant’s best, silencing critics once and for all.

Avram Grant’s time in England with Chelsea and Portsmouth leaves no doubt about his managerial abilities. No one would argue with West Ham’s co-owner David Gold who felt Avram Grant’s appointment as West Ham manager brings “stability and experience” to the club. Avram Grant who will be officially unveiled this month said, “I am proud and honoured to be the manager of West Ham”.

It seems only fair that a club supported by an impressive fanbase including the likes of Elton John, Rod Stewart, Russell Brand, Alfred Hitchcock, Sebastian Faulks, Nicolas Cage and the President of the United States, Barack Obama is managed by the very impressive Avram Grant.

Article first published as Avram Grant Named New West Ham Manager on Technorati.

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Real Madrid Unveil Jose Mourinho as the New Manager

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It is typical of the man. He just puts his past behind him and looks ahead with hope and confidence verging on audacity. Jose Mourinho wrote a heartfelt goodbye letter to thank Serie A giants Inter saying Inter will always be in his heart and moved on to his new club Real Madrid. Less than two weeks later walking past the last European cup, in the trophy room at Real Madrid, he disclosed that the president said he missed this years’ Champion’s Trophy. Mourinho said, “I replied I only won my last one 10 days ago and I miss that too.”

Its the end of the football season in Madrid, so it comes as no surprise that Real Madrid are looking to sign on stars and a new manager. They hit the jackpot with Jose Mourinho, the star-manager who was unveiled as the new Real Madrid coach at a presentation in the Satiago Bernabeu press room on Monday.

Real Madrid haven’t won the Champions League since 2002 despite having spent millions of euros season after season. Last summer the Spanish club spent €252 million on stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso but failed to win any silverware.

The past two seasons, Real Madrid have lost the La Liga title to their biggest rivals Barcelona and this year they failed to make it past the round of 16 in the Champions League. This was even more disappointing since the final was hosted at their home ground.

Jose Mourinho however won the Champions League trophy at Bernabeu and in less than a week has made it his top priority to lead his new club to European glory. He said, “I don’t know if I was born to coach Real Madrid but I was born to be a football coach. I love important challenges. I am Jose Mourinho and I don’t change. I arrive with all my qualities and my defects.

“My attraction to Real Madrid is due to its history, its frustrations in recent years and its expectations to win.” Real, he said, is a unique club and he believed that not to coach Real left a void in a coach’s career. “Luckily, I’ve had a beautiful career and it makes me proud to have come here.I am very enthusiastic. I want my players to think that way. The beauty is not so much to train or play at Real, but to win at Real Madrid.” Mourinho said

Jose Mourinho becomes Real’s 11th coach in the past seven years and it will be his greatest test yet. He takes on a team full of superstars and very demanding fans, where failure is unacceptable. But he also has chance to create history by becoming the first man to win the Champions League with three different clubs and proving yet again that he is the ‘Special One’.

Article first published as Real Madrid Unveil Jose Mourinho as the New Coach on Technorati.

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Mourinho’s Inter Milan Wins Champions League

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Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich 2-0  to win the Champions League final, ending the club’s 45-year wait to regain Europe’s top prize. Argentnian striker Diego Milito scored both the goals for the Italian club in a game which was won by brilliant defending and individual magic. Today’s win makes Inter Milan the first Italian club to have won the Treble.

During the first half of the match, Bayern Munich controlled the game and were the better team. They kept possession and tested the Inter defense line time and again. The Germans, however failed to capitalize on their chances with shots from Ivica Olic and Arjen Robben and Hamit Altintop going astray.

In the 34th minute, Diego Milito headed a long ball clearance by the goalkeeper Julio Cesar to Sneidjer who then passed it back to the Argentine to put in the back of the net. The second half started in electric fashion with Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger finding himself in space 25 yards from goal but he chose to pass instead of shoot. During the rest of the game, Inter sat deep, defending splendidly and letting Bayern control possession.

In the 70th minute, Samuel Eto pass found Milito and Milito magic struck again with the Argentine adding to his goal tally with a sensational goal and effectively ending the contest.

Inter’s win makes Jose Mourinho’s famous quote about being the “Special One” truer than it has ever been before.No one predicted that Jose’s Inter Milan would become the Champions League holders this season let alone that they would beat the English champions Chelsea, the Spanish champions Barcelona and the German Champions Bayern Munich on the way. What makes the win even more special  for the Portuguese manager who had won the Champions League with Porto in 2005, is that he becomes only the third man to have ever won the Champions league with different clubs.

The Inter Milan manager achieved this feat by completely outplaying Bayern Munich who are managed by Mourinho’s mentor Louis Van Gaal. The duo had worked together in the 1990’s at FC Barcelona, where Mourinho started his career as a scout and an interpretor. This earned him the nickname of ‘The Translator’ with which Barcelona fans taunted him during the game. They were quickly silenced as Mourinho’s team knocked Barcelona out in the semi-finals to reach a first final since 1972.

It has been a season of personal vindication for the outspoken Portuguese who has a very frosty relationship with the Italian media and has often admitted to not being happy in Italy. Many reports link him with a move to Real Madrid. It seems almost perfect that his final victory at Inter Milan should come at the Bernabeu, Real’s home stadium.

The final whistle saw a warm hug between the protege and the professor as Mourinho went on to celebrate with his team and lift the trophy, Louis Van Gaal waved impassively at the supporters.

Article first published as Mourinho Fires Inter Milan to Champions League Glory on Technorati.

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Chelsea: What Went Wrong?

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Chelsea’s season started off with a roar under Carlo Ancelotti  but now it seems likely to end in a whimper. I have been trying to make sense of why bad things happen to good clubs ( mood music would be good here) and here is what I think are some of the reasons (excuses as some cynics might point out) why we’ve lost our form in the last few weeks:

1. Champions League

Let me be the first one to confirm to everyone out there that YES, we were rubbish on the night. Now, having said that I do however feel that we have been getting a very raw deal from referees in the Champions League. Last year against Barca was truly horrible and its probably because of that terrible display of referreeing that this year’s ‘pretty bad’ referreing is not being paid much attention. We had at least one if not two sure shot penalty claims in the second leg at home. The Inter defenders were groping our players to the extent of the whole thing being  nauseating and very disturbing! Even if we don’t consider these penalties which we should have got in the second leg, I cant help but think about that foul on Florent Malouda in the box in the first leg, which once again was a sure-shot penalty. Had that penalty been given, it would have completely changed the tie.

2. Jose Mourinho

What can I say?  He is the Special One and his tactics were spot on. He knew exactly how to wind Drogba up, how to stop Chelsea playing and how to utilise his most potent weapons in the magnificent Wesley Sneijder and the incredible Samuel Eto’o. He knew exactly how to play us and play us he did. Mourinho is a great tactician and that is the reason every single club with dreams of conquering the world and money to spend, want him. I was never one of those who agreed with Roman’s decision to sack Mourinho but then I guess Roman had his reasons or may be just his ego (which I am guessing is hurting reaaal bad right now).

3. Carlo Ancelotti

The past few weeks, ever since the Champions League exit, more and more of us are singing woeful laments about losing the Special One to Inter. Now I have nothing against singing (except I prefer hitting the happier notes), but lets not forget that Carlo Ancelotti is a great manager with 2 Champions League trophies to his name. He has a lot of experience handling big name players and managed to get more out of  Kaka than Real Madrid are managing to now and more importantly he got more out of Andriy Shevchenko than Mourinho ever could. His only fault this season to me seems to be his rather conservative use of our younger players, may be thats an after effect of having come from the slightly more laid-back Serie A.  Hopefully, he has learnt albeit the hard way that ours is in fact an ageing squad!  I feel its too early to count him out and that he will get it right at Chelsea, he just needs time.

4. Injuries

We are not a very ‘lucky’ team, are we? We don’t get decisions our way and well, we get the worst injuries at the worst time. Michael Essien is probably my favourite mid-fielder and his absense has had a huge impact on us. Ashley Cole’s injury was a major blow too, especially seeing the form he was in!  Add to that Petr Cech (who actually is our only goal-keeper) and then our substitute goalkeeper Hilario (which probably worked to our advantage!).  And now when its crucial for us to win all our matches, Ivanovic who’s been probably Chelsea’s best player this season is injured. I know other teams have had their share of injury problems with  United playing with an entirely make-shift defense at the start of the season and Arsenal were without  RVP and Cesc and so we shouldn’t really use our injury problems as an excuse but all I am saying is it affected us and probably we should have coped better with it but we didn’t.

5. John Terry’s Off-field Scandal

As much as I’d like to believe that revelations about JT’s personal life have nothing to do with our football. It seems they do. Basically because JT and the rest of the team are human and negative news as much as they try and not let it affect them, affects them all the same. Remember the Manchester City game? I mean I don’t think even Manchester City thought that such a result was possible but with the whole Wayne Bridge ‘will-he-wont-he-shake-hands’ nonsense reaching  fever-pitch on the day wound Manchester City up so much that it cost us 3 (precious) points.

Those were the gory details of our fall from top of the table, but the good news is, it is not over yet. We have a game in hand against Portsmouth tonight which helps us make up a bit of ground. Our destiny is in our hands and our plan really can’t get simpler… win all the remaining games. Ktbffh.

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