Totally, totally going to miss this guy.
Because he could be absolutely cutting.
And when he did want to answer a journalist's idiotic question, it was always with inimitable style.
And never more so when talking about himself -- here, foreshadowing:
So I know all about the ups and downs of football, I know that one day I will be sacked.
But you have to feel he was prepared for it, and of course he was:
I was nine or 10 years old and my father was sacked on Christmas Day. He was a manager, the results had not been good, he lost a game on December 22 or 23. On Christmas Day, the telephone rang and he was sacked in the middle of our lunch.
The man was a pre- and post-game genius (We can argue about his in-game tactics later). He turned what are without fail dour, idiotic, and desperately pedestrian interviews into an art form, and he knew it.
When I face the media, maybe I don't feel it now, here with you, because it's a different sort of interview, but when I face the media before or after the game, I feel it as part of the game.
When I go to the press conference before the game, in my mind the game has already started.
A veritable font of hilarity he was:
- We have top players and, sorry if I'm arrogant, we have a top manager.
- I'm not a defender of old or new football managers. I believe in good ones and bad ones, those that achieve success and those that don't. Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one.
- If I wanted to have an easy job...I would have stayed at Porto - beautiful blue chair, the Uefa Champions League trophy, God, and after God, me.
- [You really ought to just watch this one] This is nothing against Sir Alex whatsoever. After the game on Wednesday we were together in my office and we spoke and drank wine. Unfortunately it was a very bad bottle of wine and he was complaining, so when we go to Old Trafford for the second leg, on my birthday, I will take a beautiful bottle of Portuguese wine.
Of course there was the time he slapped Carlos Puyol. So sneaky. Look at Puyol's face: what could he do? Just fantastic.
But this is my all-time favorite interview. It's Mourinho, a day before Chelsea took on Barcelona in the Champions League (for the first time, I believe), naming his side, Barca's side, and even the referee, the now-retired Swede (largely because of that game) Anders Frisk.
A good finish indeed.