The Special One: The Dark Side Of José Mourinho has been translated from its original Spanish and so it’s commendable that so much of the original rhythm and flow remains.
But this isn’t meant as a great work of prose, rather a deep exploration of who Jose Mourinho actually is. Not the tactician, not the pragmatist and not the face which stares down the camera’s lens, but the person who plots and schemes in the dark and who is as hungry for authority and power as he is more tangible reward.
The book covers the three years Mourinho spent at Real Madrid and, clearly, Torres’ sources went right to the heart of that dressing-room. Much of the Portuguese’s legacy has been constructed from the ethereal mythology with which he has surrounded himself, but this account deals in hard fact – and is built from first-hand accounts of his often contrary, frequently self-serving and sometimes even cruel behaviour.
It’s a timely read, too. Now employed by Manchester United, Mourinho is repeating many of the same behaviours and, so, anyone baffled by the treatment of individual players at Old Trafford or perplexed by his outbursts in front of the press would find this particularly illuminating.
What can be said for absolute certain is that nobody should attempt to understand Mourinho or write any sort of assessment of him without digesting this first. It’s obviously fascinating in the fly-on-the-wall sense, but it’s the doses of megalomania which make it truly compelling. Shocking, even.