To add to the excitement of being less than 100 days away from the World Cup, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, yes, the real Jose Mourinho — the man who inspires more headlines in a day than most people read in a lifetime — has partnered with Yahoo as our Global Football Ambassador for 2014. Winner of two UEFA Champions League titles and seven domestic league titles in four different countries, the self-proclaimed "Special One" will share his always entertaining views and uncompromising insights on the Premier League, World Cup and much more.
In his introductory Tumblr post, Mourinho writes:
The reason I have chosen to partner with Yahoo is simple. I want to connect with millions of football fans around the globe, and teaming up with Yahoo as well as Tumblr lets me reach a huge audience from Brazil to the US to the UK - whether they are in front of their computers or on their smartphones or tablets. I only associate with the best, and this is both an exciting and prestigious opportunity.
So what can you expect to see from me over the next year? I plan to bring my unique commentary and passionate point-of-view, some new insight into my own daily world through photos and video -- and have a lot of fun at the same time! Football is a way of life for millions of fans across Yahoo and they’re always looking for something different. I want my editorial coverage and analysis to bring a new edge to football news and debates.
To kick things off, Mourinho offered his thoughts on a variety of topics in a video interview with Yahoo.
Looking ahead to the World Cup, the Portuguese believes the South American teams will be tough to beat on their own continent, but for England he provides the rallying cry of "why not":
It’s difficult, it’s difficult but obviously Brazil is strong, they play at home. Argentina is strong and plays in South America. Uruguay has a special mentality and some talents and I think they feel very comfortable playing in hostile circumstances, they won there, they won one of the American Cups in Argentina so South American football is very, very powerful and very well represented there. Europe, we have Spain which is the current champion. We have the experience of Italian football.
England, everybody says no, no, no, no, no – I always say why not because I don’t understand why not. When I see the players and the experience of the players and the clubs where they play, I don’t understand why one day it cannot happen. Germany has a fantastic team, a team with four, six years and I think of more of the players with the maturity, the players in the best time now in their careers. Portugal has a special player that can also make a difference. Ivory Coast has some of the best players in the world too. Holland, great players, a very experienced coach with complete knowhow. So let’s see what happens step by step.
As for the U.S., Mourinho thinks it could be trouble for Portugal, citing the good work of manager Jurgen Klinsmann and former manager Bob Bradley. Plus the fact that the U.S. set a precedent by beating Portugal 3-2 in the 2002 World Cup group stage (crazy highlights here).
I know Jürgen well and I know also Bob Bradley, who was the previous coach, very, very well. I think in between them they make a good team. I think Bob made magnificent work and when Jürgen come, I like very much Jürgen as a national coach. I think he is the kind of guy with a good mentality to be a national coach. A national coach is different from a club coach. A club coach must have some qualities that a national coach doesn’t have and as a national coach I feel he is very good. I was close to him when he was the German national coach because he had some German players and I was in Chelsea with some of his players and we communicate a lot.
He is very organised, a great motivator, the players like to play for him and it is important for a club player to go to the national team and feel happy to be there and feel happy to play with another manager that is not the manager that he works every day. The players like to play for him, the players like to train with him, he tries to make them happy, to have some good training sessions, to prepare them well, physically, mentally. I think after Bob he was the right guy and I think the American team is obviously not with incredible talents but they have some good players playing in Europe and some good players in MLS that is coming up day by day, so I think they are ready to create problems like they create problems to Portugal because they beat us in the World Cup before!
Some other highlights of the conversation:
-Mourinho says Brazil's Neymar, Belgium's Eden Hazard and France's Raphael Varane are his three young players to watch at the World Cup. He adds that the 20-year-old Varane, who he coached at Real Madrid, the best young central defender in the world.
-He says the Champions League is better than the World Cup at a footballing level, but the World Cup can't be matched in emotion and social importance.
The World Cups in my opinion are more about the emotion, the social side of it. I think culturally, socially I think maybe it’s the number one phenomenon in the world, the world stops for a month because of the World Cup and many, many times it’s not because of the quality of the football, most of the time it is because of the emotion. If you travel like I did sometimes during the World Cup, if you travel you clearly know that in this country, this country is in the World Cup and that country is not in the World Cup. You arrive in the airport, you walk in the street five minutes and you know immediately – I am in Germany, they are in the World Cup. I am in Austria, they are not in the World Cup. You feel, you immediately feel because socially it is amazing.
-When asked if his old La Liga rival Pep Guardiola has changed European champions Bayern Munich, Jose doesn't offer him too much credit:
I think they are getting better and better. I think they started with Louis Van Gaal, I think this new Bayern start with Louis Van Gaal, who doesn’t need Nani when he starts cleaning the team of all the players and starting with Muller and Schweinsteiger and Badstuber and Toni Kroos, he was starting with these people and took the team to the Champions League Final 2010. After that comes Jupp Heynckes, unbelievable work and the team kept becoming better and better and they won it and now Guardiola also is a fantastic coach and I think naturally improving so over the last years as a club they are doing very well.
-He thinks PSG could win the Champions League since Ligue 1 "doesn’t make them tired because they are champions and they can control that without any kind of problems."
-He also talks about Chelsea, the Premier League title race and why he's only going to give himself one shot at being an international manager.
This is only the beginning from Yahoo Global Football Ambassador Jose Mourinho. Stay tuned for much more from the new home of the Special One.
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