Cabral Opiyo delivers another of his trademark pieces, this time comparing Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola to Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter, respectively.
“A horcrux is an object used to conceal part of someone’s soul so that even if the body is harmed, one cannot die because the soul remains undamaged here on earth.”
Wonder no longer non Harry Potter fans, the concept of the Horcrux in a condensed summary was used by the Dark Lord Voldemort to ensure he lived forever but Harry Potter was tasked to find these objects and destroy them. Much like how Mourinho appeared invincible and indomitable a short five years ago, so did Lord Voldemort till Harry Potter’s doggedness undid brash exterior.
From 2003-2011 the football world was Jose Mourinho’s oyster, he swaggered about bloodying noses and upsetting many an established apple cart. He was the darling of the media and he played the fans and media alike like a cocky puppet master at a child’s fifth birthday. Everything Jose did, every emotion he allowed the world to see, every honey flavored word he spoke had a single purpose – enter his name into the pantheon of great football personalities of this age and forever.
Jose Mourinho enjoyed winning but the light in his eye glowed still brighter after each triumph punctuated by a witty punch line, he always seemed a man unfulfilled, a man after something other than fleeting glory that the trophies brought, a man after immortality.
Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort was after the same thing Mourinho always craved, he wanted to be master of death and the only way he knew how was to divide his soul into the Horcruxes, and he would have gotten away with it until Harry Potter’s meddling started destroying the Horcruxes and unraveled Voldemort’s great immortality plan.
Jose Mourinho gestures next to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (Photo credit: ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)
The football world was in awe of this brash and aggressive young manager whose teams would lay down their lives for him on the pitch if he asked them to. Alex Ferguson was worked over in the media, usually his forte and again on the pitch his teams could not find a way past Mourinho’s teams either. He went to Italy and his parting gift was the treble for an Internazionale side that has ailed since the magic pressure of Mourinho’s hands left the gaping wound.
Something changed though, after 2010 and amidst the Barcelona-Spain juggernaut suddenly Mourinho found his style threatened and even his trophy haul reduced by a new exhilarating brand of football pioneered by old ally turned foe Josep Guardiola – the Harry Potter of this analogy. Suddenly Jose was not the only bright young thing who could win the biggest trophies, his immortality was threatened.
Mourinho and Guardiola’s destinies have always been entwined since the Van Gaal days to the current awkward neighborly location in the city of Manchester just like Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter. In Spain they did battle and wounded each other and the first of Jose’s Horcruxes was destroyed. The only trophies Mourinho got from his three year stay there he would usually win in a season. His style of football was questioned and while most of the football world was always on his side, suddenly a substantial number of his admirers decamped to the Pep side.
A new crop of managers preaching fast, attacking football with the catch phrase Gegenpressing oft floated about has emerged. Including Roger Schmidt, Tuchel, Berrizo, Paco Jemez and Antonio Conte, the common factor is that they all lean towards Pep’s school of football philosophy- the idealists. While even occasional pragmatists of which Mourinho is a champion have become better at it than he has including Diego Simeone.
Mourinho’s teams have wrongly often been associated with defensive and boring football; far from it- they score a ton of goals and transition like the carriages of a Japanese speed train which can be enjoyable. But even when the accusation has been leveled at him for playing a low block he always came back with the end justifies the means and he won games and trophies. Slowly but surely this facet of his previously impenetrable armor is also fading as evidenced by the fact that he has only won seven of his previous forty two games as manager, that is an appalling statistic even for a relegation threatened manager let alone the Dark Lord himself.
Jose Mourinho shakes hands with Pep Guardiola. (Photo credit: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
To further exacerbate the limbo Mourinho finds himself in, Pep Guardiola (the boy that lived) has taken over his one stronghold- the media and suddenly Pep is the Puta Jefe (his own words) of the press room. It seems like all his allies are deserting him along with his ideals. Mourinho used to be the Matador and he would wave his red cape at the humongous, fuming mass of a bull and the crowd at the arenas would go ole! ole! These days with the permanent half scowl-half grimace on his face he looks like the bull being led to the tercio de muerte.
Of course Mourinho is a modern day football legend, albeit a scathed and staggered imitation of the springy, cocky and self assured young man who took European football by the scruff of its neck, gave it a wedgie and jammed its head down the toilet. If he had continued winning trophies at the rate he did in the first decade of his career immortality was beckoning with an open palm. His Harry Potter (Guardiola) and his modern day acolytes with their tailor made stylish suits are pushing that door further and further away from his reach. With each new football tweak the vestiges that held the Mourinho treasure are being cast away and suddenly his style looks like an old relic, a battered 2006 Mini cooper alongside the new aggressive Teslas. The Horcruxes are being destroyed, the emperor without clothes is being laughed at, the gong has been rung Jose.
A continental football subscriber, Cabral is interested in the revival of Serie A football and the dynamics of mid-table teams all over Europe.
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