By Mark A. Upaa
This story has previously been a part of the legendry fabric woven around the mercurial coach and self-styled ‘Special one’, but it has now been confirmed by a participant during one such escapede. Jose Mourinho did – on at least one occasion – hide in a laundry basket so as to sneak into his teams dressing room. During a UCL match no less, the fact that Mourinho was suppose to be serving a suspension at the time of this incident, highlights the almost cult-like following the coach has enjoyed through mush of his coaching career.
Reports surfaced in 2007 that Mourinho had managed to navigate his way into the Chelsea dressing room during a Champions League clash with Bayern Munich two years previously by hiding among some dirty clothes. The Portuguese was serving a European suspension at the time of the clash with the Bundesliga giants, though he denied the claims when they came to light later in his career.
However, revelations in a new book charting the career of former Chelsea midfielder Maniche suggest that Mourinho had actually snuck into areas of the ground he was banned from once before. Ex-Portugal international Maniche, who played under Mourinho for both Porto and the Blues, tells the story of how during a match between Porto and Boavista in 2004, Mourinho was given a red card from the touchline by the referee during the first half. Such action meant he was unable to speak to his side at half-time, but – as Maniche reveals – that did not stop him from making sure he was able to pass on his instructions in person. According to Maniche:
“Mourinho, in the second season as Porto coach was prevented from giving instructions to his team in the interval of the game between Boavista and Porto,” he recalls within ‘Maniche 18’, which is set to be translated into English during 2019 after its release in Portuguese last year. “We were all in the dressing room when,suddenly a basket of dirty clothes appeared in the middle of the room, and in the middle of the clothes came Mourinho! “He hid himself in there so he could go to the dressing room to give instructions to his players.”
Mourinho has come a long way since those days with Porto, with his career taking in two spells at Chelsea as well as periods in charge of Inter, Real Madrid and, most recently, Manchester United. Even though his tenure at Old Trafford came to ignoble end in December 2018 after a poor start to the season with the Red Devils, recent media reports suggest he will not be out of the game for long.
The 55-year-old has refuted claims he has met with Benfica to speak about becoming their next permanent coach though he continues to be linked with a move back to Real Madrid due to his friendship with Florentino Perez and current manager Santiago Solari’s struggles at Santiago Bernabeu. Whatever his next move is, money will not really be his motivation as the Portuguese coach is still receiving a hefty compensation package from Old Trafford. He is currently an analysist for Bein Sports.