REAL Madrid coach Jose Mourinho on being the special one and staying pragmatic.
How do you relax in your free time, José?
You know, I don’t have a huge amount of free time. Even when I actually have free time! Football gave me so many things but also took a few things from me. And one of the things football took from me was my privacy. If I want to go with my family for a walk, for an ice cream, for a movie, just for ordinary things, I can’t do these in complete privacy. So now is to take my free time and stay at home with my family. I always try to do absolutely normal things when we go away on holiday. I try to find destinations where I can get some space and anonymity. I try to find in summer a good beach place that’s not so busy. I try to enjoy my life with my family the best way that I can.
What do you do, José, to stay in shape?
Nothing. I work normally. But I have no time - no time and no desire - to be in the gym every day for one or two hours, or to worry about what I eat. I just eat normally, I live normally and I train a little bit with the team. I do nothing of note, I think I've got quite good genes - I am lucky! I’m 48 now and I don’t feel I’m getting older – only if I look in the mirror (laughter), but I don’t feel it.
And what is the most important thing in your life besides football?
Well, family comes first then football second. Football is not the most important thing in my life. But I would say family, football and after... that nothing else.
José, what is the secret behind your success?
I work hard and try to improve my skills as a coach everyday. I do this job with passion as well, because year after year, day after day, if you are not in love with your job, you lose your motivation. You lose your enthusiasm. And I’ve been in football since I was a kid. I’ve been a head coach since the year 2000, so 11 years ago now. My enthusiasm, is still the same. My desire to do things well, is the same. The way I enjoy every match, is the same. So I think this is also very important.
José, you are called the Special One which is a self-appointed name. Why did you choose it?
I didn’t. It was a nickname given to me in England because when I arrived in 2004, I was just about to win the Champions League with Porto in 2004. I went to Chelsea two days later. After the final in Gelsenkirchen, I arrived at that press conference, you know, with a big ego because I had just become the European Champion. And the press asked me if I was feeling good enough to coach in the ‘country of football’. England always calls itself the ‘country of football’! And I was a bit shocked! “Why would they think that I don’t have enough skills to work here?” I thought. So I said to them, “Don’t think I am a normal coach. Don’t think I am one like everybody else. I am a special one. I have special qualities. I feel I’m more than ready to be here.” And they got my quote in the newspapers the next day, the special one has arrived” and “The ego has landed.” That kind of stuff. And they started with the nickname. And then the Chelsea supporters spread it by saying “Special One, Special One, and Special One” all the time. And the Special One is still here many years after.
Do you like the nickname, the Special One?
The nickname isn’t a problem for me. My nickname is a positive one. So I’m quite happy.
And how do you push your team to their limits?
I keep saying that the best way of making sure that a team understands what you want is to make sure they know you deeply, so I open myself up to my team. My players know me inside out. They know me deeply. They know my feelings, they know my emotions, they know my targets and they know my challenges. And when they know that and when I demand a lot from myself, I can demand a lot from them. And they understand and respond to that immediately. My team knows the kind of personality I have.
Do the hairs rise on the back of your neck when you see an amazing player do something incredible?
Not really, because I’m very pragmatic. I prepare my team to go to a football match, not to do something special, but to make the difference. We prepare ourselves to go there as a group, to succeed. Football is a team sport, I was always a collaborative sport man. Of course, I admire people from individual sports but, for me, the collective sports were always my dream and especially sports like football, which is about 11 men at the same time thinking the same thing, working for the same goal. And I’m much more for that. What really pleases me is to see a collective performance and the group reaching an objective.
What is it like to be the new face of Braun?
You know, since I started working I’ve been chased by some brands who want to use my image. And since the beginning my criteria was based around not just doing it for money. Braun Reloaded I work with a brand because I feel something about the product. I cannot represent a brand that I don’t feel connected with. When I tried Braun for the first time, I found using it really comfortable. And the results were consistently good. So it’s a brand that I like. A brand with prestige. I think it’s a good partnership.