“Form fluctuates, but class is permanent.”
That is the adage spoken about the top soccer players in the world. The phrase applies to coaches as well.
Manchester United is about to hire José Mourinho as its next manager. They just concluded a disappointing season under Louis van Gaal — he was fired on Monday — and are looking to shake things up. And Mourinho will.
I guarantee that under Mourinho, Manchester United will be back.
We all know he can be controversial, heated – even maddening at times. But no one can argue with his pedigree. Bottom line, he is one of the best managers in the world. So much is written about him and his style that we forget about his resumé. Stop and read it.
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After working under Bobby Robson at Barcelona, Mourinho began coaching in Portugal with stints at Benfica and União de Leiria before taking the reins at Porto in early 2002. Within a year, he had guided the team to wins in the Primeira Liga, the Taça de Portugal and the UEFA Cup in 2003.
The next season, Mourinho and Porto did even better, repeating as winners in the league and the Portuguese cup, and taking the highest honor in European club football, the Champions League title.
Mourinho moved to Chelsea and promptly won the 2005 Premier League title, Chelsea’s first in 50 years, and the League Cup. In his second year, Chelsea repeated as Premier League champs, and in 2006–07 he led the club to an FA Cup and League Cup double.
In 2008, Mourinho jumped to Inter Milan, and worked his magic again, winning the Coppa Italia and the Serie A title. Two years later, Inter became the first Italian club to win the Serie A, the Italian cup and the Champions League in the same year. It was the first time Inter had won Champions Leage since 1965, in the process, Mourinho became one of only five coaches to have won the European title with two different teams.
He was named FIFA World Coach of the Year in 2010 – the first time the award was handed out. That year, he signed with Real Madrid, winning the Copa del Rey in his first season. The following year, the team won La Liga, and he became only the fifth coach to have won league titles in four different countries.
After leaving Madrid in June 2013, Mourinho returned to England to manage Chelsea for a second spell, during which they won another EPL title.
Back in 2006, I was lucky enough to spend a week with Chelsea as the team trained in Los Angeles before the Premier League season opener. I saw Mourinho’s training methods first-hand, but, more importantly, saw his relationship with his players.
That is what makes a great coach, and Mourinho is just that.
So when the media frenzy about his appointment at Manchester United quiets down, one fact remains: Chelsea’s loss is Manchester United’s gain. He is a winner and will bring United back to their winning ways.
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From the wires
Barcelona says striker Luis Suárez is expected to travel to the United States to join Uruguay's national team for the Copa América despite a hamstring injury.
Barcelona says tests on Monday confirmed that Suárez sustained a right-leg muscle injury in the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla on Sunday.
It says Suárez will begin his rehabilitation in Barcelona before joining the Uruguayan squad on June 1 in the United States, where "he'll continue with the second phase of his recovery."
Uruguay opens in the Copa América on June 5.
Suárez was in tears after being substituted in the 56th minute of Barcelona's 2-0 extra time win over Sevilla at the Vicente Calderón Stadium in Madrid.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.