LONDON: Through all the ups and through all the downs, Jose Mourinho has never really been this low before.
The dapper Portuguese coach has won titles with some of the biggest soccer teams in the world, including Real Madrid and Inter Milan. He even won a Champions League title with FC Porto more than a decade ago.
But his second spell in charge of Chelsea ended prematurely Thursday, only seven months after he won his third Premier League title with the London club. And it ended with Chelsea surprisingly languishing near the bottom of the standings despite a star-studded roster that includes Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and John Terry, to name but a few.
When Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge the first time, he memorably dubbed himself “The Special One.” But his second dismissal from Chelsea has only added to the perception that he is a coach who delivers a short-term fix before leaving acrimoniously.
Thursday’s exit came amid rumors of arguments with players and staff, perhaps all of it hastened by an early-season decision to publicly criticize club doctor Eva Carneiro for treating an injured player during a match. And it was followed with a club statement noting that Mourinho is “the most successful manager in our 110-year history.”
Over his two tenures at Chelsea, Mourinho won seven trophies. Last season, the club won the Premier League by eight points, leading to a four-year contract extension in August.
This season is a different story.
Chelsea has 12 losses already, nine of them in the Premier League. The latest came against surprise leader Leicester, which is 20 points ahead of Chelsea, and it left the defending champions only one point above the relegation zone heading into the busy winter schedule.
There has been no official word on a replacement for Mourinho.
Mourinho has found success everywhere over the last dozen years, winning the Champions League with both Porto in 2004 and with Inter Milan in 2010. He also won league titles with both teams, as well as with Real Madrid in 2012.
Overall, Mourinho has won 21 major trophies.
In his first spell at Chelsea, Mourinho won two league titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup. In the Champions League, however, he never got past the semifinals. And a poor start to the Champions League campaign in 2007 led to his dismissal early in that season.
When Mourinho arrived back at Stamford Bridge following his tenure at Madrid, he called himself “The Happy One” and highlighted his improved relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
“We are ready to work together again. We have much better conditions to succeed and deliver what this club wants, which is stability,” Mourinho said at the time. “I am the happy one. I have the same nature, I am the same person, I have the same heart and I have the same emotions relating to my passion and my job, but I am a different person.”
Mourinho delivered, too. After failing to win a trophy in his first season back, he orchestrated an impressive league win the following year.
The joy lasted only a few months.
On the first day of this season, a 2-2 draw with Swansea was overshadowed by Mourinho criticizing Carneiro, the club doctor, for running onto the field to treat Eden Hazard with only minutes of the game left to play. She has since had her responsibilities at the club altered, and she is embroiled in a legal case with Chelsea and Mourinho.
More losses and more criticism followed, culminating with Mourinho blaming his own players for a listless display after the loss to Leicester.
Time to move on, again.