Jose Mourinho seems to have achieved a life changing realization this summer. That if you say things that turn everyone’s brains into unproductive goop before the season even starts, it will make it that much easier to keep them in a perpetual state of distraction throughout the campaign.
First, he dropped this nuclear bomb (via Sky Sports):
Mourinho said: “In the beginning of Mr Abramovich coming to Chelsea, Chelsea was buying the title.
“Now, they are buying the title. All of them, they are buying the title.
“It is up to us to be strong and to fight them and, obviously, to try and win it again, even without the big investments.”
Nevermind the fact that he opened by admitting that Chelsea bought titles in years past, his assertion that his rivals are now doing the exact same thing prompted delirious and near universal accusations him of being a hypocrite (rather than recognizing his point that it’s the other clubs — the ones who righteously chided Chelsea’s spending — who are revealing their own hypocrisy).
Though this elicited a fervent reaction, it was only the setup for his more targeted assaults. First on the list, his favorite media speed bag, Arsene “I Hate Money” Wenger.
From the Guardian:
Wenger has signed only the goalkeeper Petr Cech, an £11m buy from Chelsea, this summer but Mourinho said: “If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise. If you put Özil plus Alexis Sánchez, plus Chambers, plus Debuchy, you will find a surprise. It’s a fantastic squad with good players, fantastic goalkeeper, they are more than ready to be a title contenders. Get a calculator. That is the easiest thing, it leaves no space for speculation. If you want to be honest, objective and pragmatic it is the easiest job for a manager to do.”
I mean, yeah, those players weren’t cheap, but all together they cost a fraction of what some other big clubs have been spending of late. That’s the point, though. When someone actually gets out their calculator to prove this to him, he’s already won.
Next, Mourinho went after sad sack Manuel Pellegrini (or as Mourinho has repeatedly called him, “Pellegrino”).
City’s manager conducted an interview in his native Chile last month in which he said Mourinho “wants to take credit for everything” and that “I differ from him on all fronts”.
Mourinho was at a loss to explain why Pellegrini was discussing his character instead of relaxing after a mentally exhausting campaign. “When a manager is on holidays and still thinks about me, I have nothing to say,” he said. “I don’t know why he did it. In my holidays I did zero interviews. Since I left London, zero.
Jose Mourinho bragging about the eight seconds he didn’t spend busting on a rival manager? Again, he’s pointing out his rival’s hypocrisy and doing it in a way that will infuriate as many people as possible (including said rivals).
Finally, Mourinho lobbed a shot into a fight in another ring. A fight that cannot be won and only exists as a destructive force.
Asked if he believed Ronaldo, the Ballon d’Or winner, should not be rated in the top two with Messi, Mourinho said: “I think so. I don’t like players or managers to win individual trophies without the team. Obviously depending on the season they have. They have to win some titles, no? Football without titles is nothing. Messi won the treble. He won three competitions last year, he reached the Copa América final. He had a fantastic season for him and for his team.
“I am not saying he [Ronaldo] is not fantastic. I am just saying that, in my personal view, every football player in the world should understand that a team has to be in front.”
So now, less than a week before facing Arsenal for the Community Shield, Mourinho will have responses coming in on three or four different fronts, one more absurd and agitated than the other — the world burning as he calmly prepares his team.