As Jose Mourinho raised the Europa Conference League trophy high into the sky in Tirana on Wednesday night, it was just the latest addition to his already extensive European highlights reel.
The Master of the Continent, or as the Italian papers called him on Thursday, ‘The King of Rome’, Mourinho became the first manager to win every UEFA club competition, lifting a European trophy with his fourth team.
Add in too that this was Roma’s first European trophy since 1961 and their first trophy of any kind in 14 years.
Jose Mourinho lifts the Europa Conference League title as Roma defeated Feyenoord 1-0
When Mourinho walks away from the game, whenever that may be, he will do so with a CV full of great nights in Europe.
There was taking Porto to Champions League glory, knocking Manchester United out en route, in 2003-04. There was the ‘greatest night of his life’ in edging out Barcelona over two legs before sealing a famous 2010 treble for Inter Milan. There was the time he avoided a UEFA ban by sneaking into Stamford Bridge in a laundry basket. There’s loads.
With that in mind, Sportsmail has picked out five of the best where ‘The Special One’ really showed all his quality …
THAT touchline run
Manchester United 1-1 PORTO (2-3 agg), March 9, 2004
Only one place to start and that is the near touchline at Old Trafford.
Porto were leading 2-1 from the first leg in Portugal but looked to be heading out on away goals thanks to a crisp near post header by Paul Scholes midway through the first half.
United were left furious with the decision to disallow a second goal from Scholes for offside. Replays showed he was well onside prior to finishing.
But there was to be a final twist in the tale when Francisco Costinha capitalized on an error by goalkeeper Tim Howard to score, sending Porto’s traveling fans, as well as Mourinho and his staff, wild.
Mourinho’s most famous celebration came at Old Trafford in 2005 when Porto earned a draw
Howard parried a routine stop from a Benni McCarthy free-kick back into a central area of the box and Costinha was alive to it. Cue pandemonium.
Mourinho, in his long, black trenchcoat, raced down the touchline to celebrate with his jubilant players having realized they were moments from knocking out Manchester United.
He then turns to the away fans and raises both arms in the air to ask them to raise the roof in their celebrations.
It has become one of the most iconic moments of Mourinho’s career and one that many see as the springboard for the reputation and success that has followed since.
Laundry saves the day!
CHELSEA 4-2 Bayern Munich, April 6, 2005
Mourinho’s mouth running away with him at times is perhaps one of the least surprising remarks in this entire piece. Bans and fines have been a pockmark across his career.
But with UEFA slapping him with a touchline ban in April 2005, meaning he was unable to be with his players before, during, or after, he had a dilemma on his hands.
Not much gets past Mourinho, though, and he hatched a staggering plot to be smuggled in and out by hiding in a laundry basket, of all things. And best part of all – it worked.
At Stamford Bridge in 2005, Mourinho snuck into the dressing room hidden in a laundry basket
‘He was suspended for the Bayern Munich game, he’s obviously not allowed in the stadium,’ Chelsea icon John Terry once explained to Jamie Redknapp on Sky.
‘The kit man had to bring him through all the security … and about halfway to the dressing room, he’s banging on the top going: “I can’t breathe! Get me out! Get me out!”
‘So the kit man had to speed up and get him in. We’re all thinking that the assistants, Mick McGiven or Andre Villas-Boas, are going to give a speech at half-time. All of a sudden, he just gets wheeled in in a skip – and out he pops.
‘Still looking a million dollars! He still looks unbelievable – his hair has not moved or anything. ‘
Given Mourinho has himself outed himself as a claustrophobic, it was a sensational level of commitment to flouting the rules and it sure paid off.
His speech clearly had an impact as Frank Lampard (center) scored twice in a 4-2 victory
Chelsea went on to win 4-2 that night and took whatever Mourinho said behind closed doors in as they ran riot against the Germans.
Joe Cole’s effort was deflected in by Lucio to put Chelsea in front before Frank Lampard restored their lead, having seen Bastian Schweinsteiger equalize.
Lampard added his second and Chelsea’s third with a spectacular individual goal, turning smartly before smashing in a half-volley.
Didier Drogba grabbed a fourth before Michael Ballack gave Bayern some late hope with a penalty in the thrilling quarter-final.
We’re pretty sure laundry baskets get a once over from UEFA officials ever since.
Brilliance in Barcelona
Barcelona 1-0 Inter (2-3 agg), April 28, 2010
‘It’s the greatest moment of my career,’ exclaimed Mourinho, having calmed down from running across the pitch with his arm in the air.
A defeat on the night but a win on aggregate. Battle lost, war won.
This was a defensive masterclass, one of Mourinho’s best career.
Leading 3-1 from the first leg at the San Siro, Mourinho willed his team to the final, despite having to play an hour with 10-men after Thiago Motta was given his marching orders for a foul on Sergio Busquets.
Inter scrapped, and scrapped, and scrapped until the final whistle went and their first European Cup final since 1972 was booked.
Mourinho says the greatest night of his life came in knocking out Barcelona in Spain in 2010
‘For the players, me, the fans, it’s the greatest. We were a team of heroes. We sweated blood, ‘Mourinho said.
‘It’s been 38 years since Inter played in the final. This is not a team of young players who can wait 15 years to make the final – they will not have another 10 opportunities to play in one.
‘Against Barcelona, it’s difficult with 11 players but with 10, it’s an historic achievement to win like this. It’s the most beautiful defeat of my life. ‘
Mourinho’s history with Barcelona was well documented in the build-up.
Dismissed and mocked by their supporters as ‘The Translator’ – having worked at the club under Sir Bobby Robson – and his celebrations at the end made a point of telling those same cynics what he had just accomplished.
He raced off with a pointed salute, almost as iconic as the original touchline sprint at Old Trafford.
If Mourinho believes that is his greatest night, who are we to argue with him?
Mocked as ‘The Translator’ by Barcelona fans, Mourinho had the last laugh following a 1-0 loss
Delivered United’s only European trophy since Fergie!
Ajax 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED, May 24, 2017
For all the stick he said, no trophy has arrived at Manchester United since the on Mourinho won in 2017.
A proven winner and he won the Europa League against Ajax in 2017. Now it will be the turn of a former Ajax boss in Erik ten Hag – not in place when Mourinho was victorious in Sweden – to end the barren trophy run.
This one was special for Mourinho and for United as it represented their first European title since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal had both found the size of the United task enormous but Mourinho did deliver in Europe, even if some dismissed it as a second-rate competition.
Manchester United’s Europa League win in Sweden in 2017 has proven to be their last trophy
Mourinho clearly does not devalue it given he still has a picture of his Europa League win with United hanging up in his office in Rome.
‘For the team it means everything,’ he told ManUtd.com at the time.
‘It means a third trophy, it means going back to the Champions League, it means playing the European Super Cup in Macedonia next August.
‘For the club it means the last piece of the puzzle – now a club with every trophy in the world of football. It means a lot for me and the club and the boys. ‘
While Mourinho has gone on to deliver trebles and huge upsets like the ones delivered with Porto, this was a fine win given the horrendous backdrop it was played in.
United’s supporters, players and officials were reeling in the hours before the game after hearing a bomb had been detonated at Ariana Grande’s concert at Manchester Arena.
Mourinho (left) was later binned but he won their first European title since Sir Alex Ferguson
UEFA wanted the game to go ahead and United’s players battled through the emotion of the day to win the trophy.
He added: ‘My thoughts are obviously with the victims of the tragedy in Manchester and with the families. The tragedy is in my mind.
‘Maybe this victory will bring some happiness to Manchester, I do not know.
‘I would obviously, me and everyone else, we would change this trophy for the people who lost their lives, that’s obvious. But if I focus on the football side, I am really proud. ‘
Few moments in Mourinho’s career will come with as much emotion as this one.
Roma’s painful wait is OVER!
ROME 1-0 Feyenoord, May 25, 2022
And to his most recent success – and perhaps one of his sweetest.
The Eternal City of Rome has been starved of tangible success for far too long given the size of the club and legend status was to be secured if Mourinho was able to mastermind a European title for the first time since 1961.
To the thousands in Tirana they sang and many more thousands gathered across Rome as Zaniolo won it with the only goal of the game.
Tears have flowed for Mourinho during this run to the trophy and after being derided at the end at Manchester United and dismissed at Tottenham, this one will have felt sweet.
AS Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord
‘The great thing about my career is that, aside from the Europa League with Manchester United, doing it with Porto, Inter and Roma is very, very, very special,’ Mourinho said in Tirana.
‘It is one thing to win when everyone expects it, when you made the investments to win, but it’s quite another to win when something feels immortal, that feels truly special.
‘This remains in the history of Roma, but also mine. I was told only I, Sir Alex (Ferguson) and Giovanni Trapattoni won trophies in three different decades.
‘It makes me feel a little old, but it’s nice for my career.’
Roma manager Mourinho is the first ever boss to win all three of UEFA’s European competitions