Jose Mourinho made one of the more dramatic entrances to English football, when he called himself the Special One in 2004, but one former Chelsea player has said that it wasn’t the case for him.
Having won the UEFA Cup and Champions League in back-to-back seasons for Porto, Mourinho came to the Premier League with a huge reputation.
We didn’t have to wait too long to find out if the Portuguese manager had faith in his ability to do a good job in England’s top tier with the Blues.
In his first press conference as manager Mourinho said, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m a European champion and I think I’m a special one.”
The nickname stuck from there on in, with the British press completely enamoured by the newest addition to the league from day one.
Mourinho made the comments at his first press conference. Image: AlamyWhilst the name seemed to be pretty apt, as he led Chelsea to five trophies in his first spell, including two league titles, one player has said that Mourinho wasn’t the special one, at least not for him.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has opened up on certain parts of his career, including the end of his time at Stamford Bridge, where he was sold in the summer Mourinho joined, despite being the team’s top scorer the season before the new boss joined.
“I was absolutely gutted,” the Burton Albion manager said of his departure on Kammy and Ben’s Proper Football podcast, “more gutted because Mourinho never spoke to me.
“I bet you that Mourinho had been told that I was a difficult lad, hard to work with and all that kind of stuff – which was not the case at all.
“They got Drogba – what a signing – but surely I could have featured alongside him. I’ve spoken to Mourinho, he said, ‘yes, I made a mistake there.’ I don’t care what he said. He should have kept me and I would have had a medal.
“He’s a brilliant coach, absolutely magnificent what he’s done in football, but he was never the special one for me.”
Hasselbaink was a key player for Chelsea before being sold. Image: AlamyHasselbaink revealed his issues in west London actually started the season before under Claudio Ranieri, when the Italian got the money to spend from Roman Abramovich’s takeover.
“All of a sudden he [Ranieri] had a lot of money to spend. He called me and Eidur Gudjohnsen into his office. He said, ‘I’m going to bring in two new strikers – you guys can go if you want,'” the Dutchman explained.
The Blues signed Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu but it was the former Leeds United man who ended up being successful, “In the end, I played anyway and I became top scorer,” he added.