Wednesday, January 23, 2013

23 January 2002 - Where The Special One Became Special

On 23 January 2002, José Mourinho took charge of Porto, where he would establish his reputation as the "Special One."

Just three days short of his 39th birthday at the time, Mourinho had already briefly managed Benfica (2000) and Leiria (2001-02), where his analytical approach to training and success on the pitch attracted the attention of Porto. They had been the league's most successful club throughout the 1990s with eight top-flight titles during the decade, but had fallen off a bit, finishing as runners-up in 2000 and 2001. By the time Mourinho arrived, they had slipped to fifth in the table after a loss to Boavista on 20 January.

In their first match under Mourinho, at home to Maritimo in the league on 26 January, Porto won 2-1, then followed that with  five more wins out of their next six league matches to climb into third, which is where they finished the season.

In 2002-03, Mourinho's first full season at Porto, they reclaimed the league title and won the UEFA Cup with a 3-2 win over Celtic in the final, then repeated as league champions in 2004 while winning the Champions League over Monaco, 3-0.

That performance led to his move to Chelsea, where he earned the nickname The Special One after telling the English press "Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one."

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