Chelsea manager allegedly felt let down by Sir Alex Ferguson
• Claim made in new book by Spanish journalist Diego Torres
José Mourinho is said to have broken down in tears at the news that David Moyes had been given the Manchester United job. The allegation is contained in a book by the respected Spanish journalist Diego Torres, who writes for El País.
In the book, Prepare to Lose: the Mourinho Era, Torres says the appointment “provoked an earthquake” and that Mourinho felt let down by Sir Alex Ferguson, who had recommended Moyes to the United board.
“Mourinho … thought that Ferguson was, besides his ally, also his friend and godfather. He was convinced that they were tied by a relationship of genuine trust. He thought that his fabulous collection of titles constituted an ‘endorsement’ unreachable to any other contenders. When he knew that Ferguson had chosen Moyes, the Everton coach, he was struck by a terrible disbelief. Moyes hadn’t won absolutely anything!”
Torres said that Mourinho was on the phone constantly to his sports agency Gestifute. “Mourinho wouldn’t stop calling them. His ‘interlocutors’ had heard him sob loudly and they were spreading the word. The most feared man in the company was crushed.”
The book, whose account has been denied by Mourinho’s adviser, goes on to describe the Portuguese spending a sleepless night in a hotel in Madrid, “the most unfortunate hours of Mourinho’s phase as Real Madrid coach. He endured them between dozing and waking, glued to his mobile phone in search of clarifications, on the night of the 7th and the morning of the 8th of May, tucked into the Sheraton Mirasierra hotel.” Moyes’s appointment was made official on 9 May.
Mourinho, according to the book, was sure that Ferguson would call with an explanation but he heard nothing. He recalled reading comments from the United director Sir Bobby Charlton pouring scorn on the idea of him getting the job.
“He was tormented by the memory of an interview of Sir Bobby Charlton in the Guardian in December. His judgments gave him a big uncertainty. ‘A United coach wouldn’t do what he did to Tito Vilanova’, stated Charlton, evoking the finger in the eye, when asked if he saw Mourinho as a successor for Ferguson. In regards to the admiration that Ferguson professed towards him, the veteran footballer implied that it was a fable: ‘He doesn’t like him that much’.
“In the morning he called Mendes so that he urgently got in touch with United. Until the end he wanted his agent to pressure the English club as an attempt to block any operation. It was an act of desperation. They both knew that Mendes had put Mourinho in the market a year earlier.”
The book says that “Mendes had already been told in the autumn of 2012 that Ferguson’s first option was Pep Guardiola. He had been explained the reasons. In Gestifute, the message from a United executive rumbled like a drum: ‘The problem is that when things don’t work for Mou, he doesn’t do club politics. He does José politics.'”
Mourinho, the book says, “felt betrayed by Ferguson and feared that someone might stop taking him seriously. For years the propaganda machine acting at his services had divulged the idea of a friendship that now was revealed as a fantasy image. To give coherence to the facts in the public light, Gestifute’s advisers recommended he should say that he already knew because Ferguson had called him to inform him.
“On the 9th of May someone from Gestifute got in touch with Record newspaper to say that Ferguson offered his crown to Mourinho four months ago but that he refused it because his wife preferred to live in London, and that was why he ended up choosing Chelsea. At the same time Mourinho offered an interview to Sky in which he declared that Ferguson kept him in the loop about his decisions but that he never made him the offer because he knew perfectly well that he wanted to coach Chelsea. The contradictions were not planned.”
Mourinho went on to take up the offer of a second term at Chelsea from the owner, Roman Abramovich. When he took up the job in June he claimed to have known of Ferguson’s plans to stand down but said he was always intent on returning to Stamford Bridge.
“I knew that Ferguson was retiring many months ago,” he said. “I would have turned down every job in the world – the Manchester United job, every one – for Chelsea.”
Mourinho’s adviser Eladio Parames has denied the book’s account. “This story does not have any sense,” he is quoted by the Portuguese newspaper O Jogo. “It is completely false. It has no head or tail.”
Chelsea declined to comment.