Carlos Carvalhal: Jose Mourinho is the king of Portuguese football

by Leo Nieboer

Swansea City boss Carlos Carvalhal has hailed Jose Mourinho as the “king” of Portuguese football ahead of his side’s trip to Old Trafford this Saturday.

Carvalhal was appointed Swansea manager back in December having impressed with fluid, calculated style at Sheffield Wednesday.

He is just the fourth Portuguese manager to grace the Premier League, with Mourinho, Andre Villas-Boas and Marco Silva coming before him.

Speaking ahead of his first ever meeting with Mourinho, Carvalhal was full of praise for the way the 55-year-old played a pioneering role for Portuguese managers abroad.

“He is our king of football,” he said. “He is the best manager ever for Porto.”

“He opened the doors for the new generation of managers to go abroad. He opened the ideas of the world on Portuguese coaches.

“He’s a fighter – what I mean is he’s very good at mind games. The way he acts, he likes the theatre of it, and he usually wins all these battles. I am completely different, I prefer to be out of the theatre.”

Portuguese football had yet to make a splash outside of its borders until Mourinho came along in 2003 and forced the world to take notice. The country had failed at the World Cup the year before. Hardly any of their players were in the top five divisions.

Bit by bit, however, Mourinho started to change that – the watershed moment coming with a totally unexpected Champions League victory with Porto. He then went to England and, having declared himself special, won more silverware. At the same time, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo was starting to become an internationally known figure, coinciding with Portugal’s trip to the final of the European Championships in 2004.

It was a whirlwind couple of years for Portuguese football, and Mourinho, as ever, was right at the centre of it all.

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