Do you believe that Jose Mourinho took himself out of the running to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United?
Because that’s what ‘The Special One’ hinted at earlier today when discussing Ferguson’s retirement. Seemingly eager to reassure Chelsea supporters that his allegiance has always been with the Blues, Mourinho claimed that he knew of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement “many months” before it happened and that he told the United legend that he wanted to return to Chelsea.
Leading up to United’s announcement that former Everton manager David Moyes would be Ferguson’s replacement, there was mass speculation that ‘The Special One’ could be headed to Old Trafford. Not only did Mourinho possess a stunning resume but he and Ferguson have long been known to be close friends, the result of a many a post-match discussion over a glass of wine or a few sips of whiskey.
“I knew that Ferguson was retiring many months ago, and I am so happy with his trust because it was big news for the world – I can imagine that just a very small circle around him knew that, and it was a big responsibility for me to know that,” Mourinho said proudly.
It was Ferguson’s decision to share the secret with Mourinho that compelled the Portuguese manager to share one of his own. “Why do I know that?” Mourinho asked. “Because we are friends, so if I am his friend to know that he is going to retire, he is also my friend to know that the club I want to coach in England is Chelsea. Of course I told him I want to come to Chelsea.”
Some interesting soundbites by Mourinho, no doubt.
At the very least the Chelsea manager wants to remind us how close he is to Ferguson. Legendary managers roll with legendary managers. And make no mistake about it, Mourinho will forever be concerned with his place in footballing history (regardless of the fact that he’s already secured his place as one of the greatest managers of all time).
But this isn’t merely Mourinho’s way of reminding us that he and Ferguson are thick as thieves – it’s also his way of trying to undermine Moyes. It’s Jose’s way of letting Moyes know that, despite the fact that he wasn’t hired to fill the post, he knew all about it well before Moyes.
Mind games, my friends. Jose loves them.
But even more than mere mind games, Mourinho said these things to protect his reputation by letting everyone know that it was he who denied United and not the other way around.
“I would have turned down every job in the world, the Manchester United job, everyone, for Chelsea I would turn down every job in the world,” Mourinho said.
So there you have it, folks. Jose turned down United.
Or so he says.