Can Mourinho make Champions League history this campaign?
Holly Thackeray | October 19th
Mourinho targets personal treble in Champions League
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is used to being a history-maker, but if this Champions League campaign goes to plan, ‘the Special One’ could become the first coach to claim three Champions League crowns with as many different clubs. Also fittingly on favoured former stage the San Siro no less, should it happen this May.
So, the outspoken coach stands on the cusp of quite an achievement and, though it’s lauding arguably rewards a journeyman mentality, should Mourinho make a fantastic third trip to collect a winners medal in Milan, his versatility would be rightly rewarded.
When questioned about completing his personal Champions League triumph, Mourinho was giving little away, stating: “That’s not the objective – the objective is to win a third one, it’s not to have a record. If somebody does it before me, or if somebody wins it with four or five clubs, I don’t care about that. I just want to win it with the club where I am.”
Of course, former fierce San Siro rival Carlo Ancelotti already pipped the Portuguese to the post in lifting the coveted continental cup thrice, becoming the first to do so in the modern format, with Bob Paisely have previously nabbed three European Cups with Liverpool.
As Ancelotti clinched his famous third in 2014, he also took club Real Madrid to a record 10th, completing the long-feted La Decima quest, which had eluded Bernabeu predecessor Mourinho.
Surely that must have stung, but Mourinho was magnanimous when speaking of that missed milestone. The ‘Special One’ revealed that, “When Real Madrid won it in 2014 the club deserved it. The club deserved it totally, and I was happy.”
Chelsea great value to claim the cup
Still, continental cup specialist Ancelotti is out of Mourinho’s way for now, and Chelsea are excellent value with Coral at 16/1 to win the lot this season, having superbly made it to at least the semi-final stage in seven of their last 11 Champions League attempts.
Having already tasted the ecstasy of a European trophy twice with Porto (a UEFA Cup as well as a 2004 Champions League trophy), and a first-ever Italian treble with Inter Milan in 2010, Mourinho is wise to the fine margins of success.
As Chelsea prepare to face Group G opponents Dynamo Kiev, Mourinho mused “When you get to the knockout stage, the unpredictability of every detail becomes fundamental,” and the prickly Portuguese has certainly felt the benefit of a few slices of luck himself.
It will take a ‘special’ coach to stop Blues
Which coaches then, stand in the way of the ‘Special One’ and some historic silverware? Barcelona, seemingly the bane of Mourinho’s sporting life, are 10/3 to retain their title, while fellow Spanish giants Real Madrid are 5/1 to thwart their former boss.
With bitter foe Rafa Benitez now ensconced in the Bernabeu dugout, Mourinho should be cautious of the Spaniard, who twice dumped him and Chelsea out of Europe when in charge at Anfield. Can cruel history repeat?
Also joint-favourites at 10/3 to win the Champions League are German giants Bayern Munich, where another of Mourinho’s enemies awaits. Pep Guardiola has perhaps his last chance for European glory with the Bavarians and, in a twist of fate, has the chance to beat his Iberian rival in the race for a third win.
Read more about Jose Mourinho in our archive