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Mourinho's presentation aesthetics

The one at Fenerbahçe was just the last of a long list

Mourinho's presentation aesthetics The one at Fenerbahçe was just the last of a long list

"From today on, this jersey is my second skin, and your dreams are mine". With these words, José Mourinho began his adventure on the Fenerbahçe bench, signing a two-year contract worth €21 million (with an option for a third season). The Portuguese coach took over from İsmail Kartal, who finished second in the championship, and introduced himself to the press and fans on 2 June. Without missing the appointment, as always with the headlines.

Naturally, the Turkish club organised a large event at the Ülker Stadium for his reception, which - as is custom - was attended by over 30,000 people with great enthusiasm; a setting in which Mou seemed to be in his element and which in some ways recalled the 2021 presentation in Rome at the Terrazza Caffarelli. This time, however, the opponents are the Giallorossi - the rivals of Galatasaray, the reigning champions - and as José was quick to clarify: 'I have often said that I am Mourinho, but from now on I only want to be the coach of Fenerbahçe'. The incipit sounds familiar to the Italian public and fits perfectly with the Portuguese's communicative style and his way of introducing himself in new places. Three years ago, he said in a similar vein: 'I don't want Mourinho's Roma, I want Roma's Roma', with the inevitable appointment at the stadium and a reference to the surroundings: 'I've had to change phones three times, I don't know how you found it... but it's all fantastic, when you work in Italy and then you're far away, you miss it'. Version updated to 2024: 'Normally a coach feels the affection after victories, here in Istanbul I felt it immediately, from the first moment'.

During his first appearance in Turkey, there were more typical Mourinho-style statements, between messages of love to the new fans, ambitious announcements, the tone of a team on a mission, some egotistical reflections and even a thought about his former clubs at the end. "Why am I here? Ambition. For me, Fenerbahçe is ambition. I have a home in London, but is it ambition to coach a London club that finishes eighth or ninth? Everyone knows I love Italy, but is it ambition to be a coach there, perform miracles to win in Europe and never finish higher than fifth or sixth? I could have stayed in Portugal, stayed at home and visited my mum every day, but is that ambition? For me, ambition means playing to win, feeling the pressure of having to win every game to become champions. And that's the reality at Fenerbahçe, unlike at Roma and Tottenham. I missed not being able to lose points, always having to play to win". These words are part of a long tradition of introductory press conferences - imagine going through them all - in which Mourinho has captured the media's attention in his own way: He coins nicknames and catchphrases, dusts off his own CV (especially in weak moments) and even drops in local sayings, references to local culture or allusions to the club's history. And why not, comparisons with 'Sir' Alex Ferguson, Helenio Herrera and Fabio Capello. In short, Mourinho as the whole of Europe knows him: always cocky and more than self-assured (not to say arrogant), often ingratiating, never banal.

His first press conference as Chelsea coach in 2004 marked the beginning of this tradition and one of his most emphatic points. Mourinho had arrived in London after leading Porto to the top of Europe and introduced himself to the Premier League with little modesty: 'Don't call me arrogant, but I am European champion and I believe I am The Special One'. And that is the nickname that will accompany him throughout his career, which Mou himself rejects in variants such as 'The Only One' (in 2012, alluding to his successes in several European countries) or 'The Happy One' (on his return to Chelsea in 2013). When he first landed at Stamford Bridge, he gave the local tabloids another phrase that has gone down in history when he spoke about his departure from Porto: 'If I had wanted an easy job, I would have stayed there: a nice blue chair, the Champions League trophy, God and after God, me'.

The arrival at Inter Milan

Four years later, Mourinho introduced himself to the Italian public as Inter's new coach. He did so with a fifty-minute press conference in which he turned Baresi, Paolillo and Branca, who were sitting by his side, into spectators and in which he displayed astonishing Italian and - with his usual flair - had done his homework: "I'm not a pirla," he replied to fend off questions about the market, already lapsing into Milanese dialect. On the same wavelength in 2021, he drew on the slang - "Daje Roma!" - and the history of the eternal city - 'Nothing comes from nothing, nothing returns from nothing' (quoting the portrait of Marcus Aurelius in Piazza del Campidoglio) - to open his second Serie A adventure as if it had always been his home. In England, however, he had drawn an unlikely parallel between the quality of the eggs for a good 'English breakfast' and the depth needed by a club aiming for the top of the Premier League.

It was a rather opaque moment, that of his return to Italy three years ago, in the parable of the Setúbal coach, after experiences on the Manchester United and Tottenham benches, between highs (few) and lows (many). "I am a victim of what I have done", José replied in his usual defiant tone, "at Chelsea I won the Premier League, at United I won three titles, with Tottenham I reached the final: what is a disaster for me, others have never achieved in their lives". A rhetoric that is not new, but familiar from his time in Manchester: 'There are coaches who have won nothing in the last ten years or even in their career, while I won a year ago: If I have a lot to prove, imagine the others...'. He continued: 'Maybe you are tired of me because I won at a high level when I was very young, but I am 53 years old, not 63 or 73'.

"I'm José Mourinho and I'm not changing," he said instead on his arrival in Madrid in 2010, at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu where he had celebrated the Nerazzurri's historic hat-trick a few weeks earlier. "I arrive here with my assets and my weaknesses," he told the Spanish press, "and I don't know if I was born to sit on the Real Madrid bench, but I know for sure that I was born to be a football coach and to experience exciting challenges like this". All this, one experience and one championship after another, with a style of communication so distinctive and recognisable that it has led to the term 'Mourinhata' being used on the pages of the Gazzetta dello Sport, Eurosport and Sport Mediaset, for example. Special One' stuff, certainly not 'pirla'.