Double Vision with Charlie Adley
I’ll never forget the way Jose Mourinho looked on the day he became Manchester United manager. At the moment he realised his greatest ambition, he looked bored, disinterested and inanimate; a waxwork model of himself.
Two years previously he’d returned to Chelsea, his sanctuary in the Premiership. Eager to crucify him for being way too successful, the UK media were completely over-excited.
However Mourinho 2.0 was a miserable man. His confident smirk gone, his jaunty optimism lost, he presented miserable shrugs, pouting lips and an absence of enthusiasm.
Something died in Jose Mourinho’s soul in November 2010, when Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona beat Mourinho’s Real Madrid 5-0. The charismatic twinkle in those handsome Portuguese eyes, which simultaneously irritated and attracted us all, was extinguished forever.
Up to that moment Jose’s career had been prodigious. Yet after receiving that thrashing from Pep, Jose said he felt impotent. For a man who craves power above all, that was a rare moment of truth.
Nevertheless, returning to the Premiership, Mourinho did what he usually does: win the title in the second season at his club. Then Chelsea did what they usually do, and fired the guy who won them the title.
This left Mourinho free at last to sit on the Red Throne of Manchester.
But lo, what was this fresh horror?
On the Blue Throne, ruling the other half of the same city, his nemesis, Pep Guardiola.
Having sat on both Spanish thrones and the mighty European thrones of Milan and Munich, these two old foes now faced each other once more.
After a season to impose their style, we were ready last August to watch this mighty conflict resolve itself.
Reinforced by the strong tall meaty spine of Matic, Pogba and Lukaku, The Tactician built his favourite vehicle: A tank, ready to roll over any opposition.
To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.