Who is Jose Mourinho in the Champions League?
Ever since shooting to dizzying heights of footballing spotlight by famously knocking out a dominant Manchester United in the Champions League last-16 tie, Jose Mourinho never lets you know his true self.
From a man buzzing with confidence after winning the Champions League with Porto, to the Jose Mourinho at Chelsea where, after winning the second consecutive Premier League crown with Chelsea, he nonchalantly threw his winners' medal in the crowd, as if to say, "It's ok, I'll win another one next year".
Or his tenure at Inter Milan where he was a visibly silent version of himself and still reached the pinnacle of Italian football success by winning every piece of silverware on offer, even the Champions League.
Yes, the Champions League. The only single competition in all of the world where the only Jose Mourinho we have seen is tactically observant, mindful of the opposition, almost in a zone of his own. The only tournament in which he has reached the pantheon by winning the European tournament in two different leagues with two different teams and getting hungrier by the year. The only competition in which the manager strikes more fear in the opposing team than the team he is managing. The only competition where you feel that Jose Mario dos Santos Felix Mourinho is a man on a mission.
After leading his current club, Real Madrid, to a draw and a League cup win in the last fortnight against the sworn enemy Barcelona, the tow titans of Europe clash again in a two-leg semi-final which was worthy of a final.
And Jose Mourinho is the reason why Barcelona, despite playing the brand of football which has left jaws drop and eyes wide open in the recent past, are being dubbed as 'underdogs'.
Because it is the sheer presence of the self-proclaimed 'Special One' in a team's technical area that increases the pressure on any opposition. Because when it is the Champions League, expect anything from the shrewd Portuguese.
You will never see Jose Mourinho lose his head or the plot on the European stage, you will never see him panic because of unforeseen conditions on the pitch, a fact well documented by yet another masterclass from yours truly.
The 2009-10 season saw Inter Milan rise as a European force, led by you-know-who. After failing to impress in previous years, the Nerrazzuri finally saw their dream of regaining Europe's top prize taking shape but even before the players had ventured to the field, the Barcelona-Inter Milan clash had already been declared a result, a result in Barcelona's favour, something that did not go down well with the Inter Milan head coach.
After putting in a performance in the first leg which left the Blaugarana in shock and awe, the Catalans were yet to witness Piece de resistance of the 2009-10 season.
After being brought down to 10 men at the Camnp Nou, Mourinho put out a formation which even Barcelona couldn't breach.
Wave after wave of the Catalan attack was being nullified by the dogged brilliance of Walter Samuel and Lucio, men who had been revived by Jose Mourinho.
This was one of the very few matches in football history which was appreciated for its defensive quality. Because usually when a team does play for a draw or 'park the bus' in footballing vocabulary, the events that transpire are pretty dull and drab, but not when you're watching Jose Mourinho's team. The clarity of instructions was not at all lost in translation, literally.
Very rarely has a manager made such an impact on a game already of magnanimous proportions, but such is the aura of the Special One, that you could only expect it from him.
This is the Jose Mourinho if the Champions League!
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