Jose Mourinho is a fantastic coach. There is little doubt about it. His record speaks for itself and his ability to get the most out of players is unquestionable.
However, his apparent need to upset opposing coaches, players and members of the media is damaging his image and could one day be the source of his undoing.
The latest episode involving an alleged insult or assault on an Italian journalist is just the latest in an ongoing saga of self-inflicted blows. There is rarely a week where he does not have something negative to say about someone, a point proved when his recent criticism of a referee decision resulted in him being sent off. But when confronted by questions from the media about his behavior, Jose invariably snaps back in an aggressive tone rather than considering what he has done.
Here in England he was revered and respected. He was one of the few managers whose ego was larger than his team, and sometimes even larger than life. The media couldn't get enough of him.
In Italy it has been a different story. The journalists there are used to big personalities and have not been so entertained with Jose's need to grab all the attention. They have started showing their displeasure for his attitude and demeanor, and he has not relented.
If I were Jose I would re-evaluate my behavior. I would count on my advisers to help me rebuild my image. Someone would have to tell me that you can be successful and reasonable and that the siege mentality he creates is not always necessary.
However, I am afraid this might not happen anytime soon, and I justify my opinion by telling you the following story:
Back in 2005, I once voted for Fabio Capello instead of Jose Mourinho on a World Soccer Magazine poll of best managers of the Champions League. Word got out and I immediately received a text from one of his representatives saying that Jose would never speak with me again. Following that initial reaction, I justified my vote and repeatedly tried to interview Jose, but to no avail. For some reason, Jose and his advisers thought that I should have compromised my journalistic integrity and voted for him just because I was Portuguese. This episode made me sad then and makes me sad now because we had a great relationship before it happened.
I still hope that one day we will get a chance to talk about this, maybe even laugh about it. Perhaps he will prove me wrong and show all of us a different side to his personality. I sincerely hope his belligerent nature does not destroy his career; it would be a waste.