From unknown to special; to public enemy number one, Jose Mourinho has always courted controversy. He divides opinion more than most.
For him however, he recognises that the world is a stage and thus he always plays his part. Mainly cast as the villain, it is surprising just how many times it is he who has performed heroic achievements.
Winning the Champions League with Porto in 2004 was a surprise – a breath of fresh air to a competition that is now dominated by an elite few. He however showed that it was not a matter of chance as he won it with FC Internazionale in 2010.
Whereas 2004 had been an open competition, he had to navigate his way around challenges in 2010 – the most telling being an incredible Barcelona side in the semi-final. That truly provided the conclusion to Jose Mourinho’s Champions League exploits—in such a short space of time, he has mastered it.
Ironically though, it is still a mystery that these Champions League triumphs have not come with Chelsea and Real Madrid. These two teams represent his most illustrious of teams. Chelsea dominated the Premier League, while Real Madrid were a different decisive beast. Yet, the Champions League evaded him at these clubs.
That, he must rectify. It is why the second coming to Chelsea proves to be a second chance. At the place away from Portugal which he calls his home – at the place where he is loved most – he hopes to make amends and deliver the one trophy that eluded him. At the same time, it may bury some Champions League demons. In his first spell , a ghost goal by Liverpool in the 2005 semi-final denied his team the best chance they ever had of a shot at the trophy.
It could also be that a Champions League triumph so soon after leaving Real Madrid will galvanise his slightly battered ego. Not one for lack of self-belief, a win with Chelsea will fully revitalise his.
In the process, he could become the second manager since Liverpool’s Bob Paisley to win the European Cup on three occasions. At the same time, it would make him the first ever manager to win it with three different clubs.
For Mourinho thus, winning this trophy with Chelsea may mean much more than can be envisioned. Victory will etch his name in history and forever ensure his legacy.