Jose Mourinho is at it again. He will be playing in his second consecutive European final at Roma in Budapest against Sevilla today and while games like these are rather usual for the Portuguese, the Andalusians have never lost a European final themselves.
Sevilla have their own ‘Football Heritage’ in the Europa League but Mourinho will play in his ninth European final today and only Carlo Ancelotti and Sir Alex Ferguson can boast of doing more than nine in their entire careers.
Mourinho’s journey in Europe started with Porto, who he guided to the UEFA Cup final in 2003 and his side had defeated Celtic 3-2 in extra-time in Seville. It was the beginning of something special, as Porto also took part in the Super Cup final of 2003 and in that game, an Andriy Shevchenko goal helped the Rossoneri to a 1-0 win in Monaco.
That very season, Mourinho’s Porto defied the odds to win the Champions League and on the way came an upset win over Manchester United. In the final, Porto beat Monaco in Gelsenkirchen, as Deco took home the Man of the Match award after a stellar performance.
The Portuguese’s stint at Chelsea didn’t lead to European finals but he did the unthinkable at Inter too, helping the Nerazzurri to a 2-0 win against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 2010. His Real Madrid stint saw Champions League disappointments and on his return to Chelsea, the Blues had bid adieu to Rafael Benitez, who had taken them to victory in the Europa League.
Mourinho managed Chelsea in the Super Cup final in 2013 but a Romelu Lukaku penalty miss in the shootouts saw them lose to Bayern Munich.
The next time Mourinho managed in a European final saw him take Manchester United to their first Europa League crown in 2017, as the Red Devils beat Ajax in Stockholm, thanks to goals from would-be Roma star Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba. Some months later, United took on Real Madrid in the Super Cup final against Real Madrid and despite a well-managed game, Los Blancos picked up a win against their former manager.
Fast forward to last season, Mourinho took Roma to their first major European title as a win over Feyenoord saw Nicolo Zaniolo fire the Giallorossi to a win in Tirana.
And as he prepares his Roma side to take on José Luis Mendilibar’s outfit in Budapest, it is rather fitting that the game is against a side from Seville, where he played his first ever European final and after losing against whom he coined the phrase ‘Football Heritage’. In a way, it is redemption time for Mourinho.
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN