Point-Counterpoint: Mourinho in MLS?
Real Madrid manager José Mourinho recently told Sky Italia that he would like to coach in MLS 10 to 15 years from now. "The Special One" is considered one of the best tactical minds in the sport due to countless honors won with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
But would he fit in this league? MLSsoccer.com editors Matthew Doyle and Simon Borg discuss that, how he would do in a league with a salary cap and if perhaps he'd be a better fit for the US national team.
Doyle: So it looks like “The Special One” is planning to find a special home in Malibu. Eventually. Gotta say, doesn't sound like his heart's in it.
Borg: Absolutely comes across like he's looking at MLS as a post-Europe option. Although he'd bring charisma and personality to the coaching ranks of MLS – even at the age of 60 – I'd question whether his is a brand of soccer that any one team wants to associate with: pragmatic and speculative, but rarely spectacular.
Doyle: Forget the brand of soccer, I'm more chagrined by the attitude. I've seen college kids put more thought into doing junior year abroad than Mourinho did about his "different experience" here in the States. Newsflash to José: If you don't prepare and learn to win within the confines of the cap, MLS will eat you alive. Just ask Ruud Gullit and Bora Milutinovic.
[inline_node:327834]Borg: Agreed. Cherry-picking talent from around Europe's top clubs with unlimited budgets is a completely different reality and one that few teams around the world can afford to live by.
However, he is a coach who has clearly shown that his best skills are managing a group of stars, helping them set their egos aside and giving them a blueprint to grind out games.
He did it at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and now Real Madrid, which is why I think he could be a better fit as US national team coach in 10 years. He'd be just what the US could very well need at the time to take another step forward. So no to Mourinho in MLS, yes to his tactical genius with the USMNT.
Doyle: Wow, that's actually a damn good point that I hadn't considered before you mentioned it. Mourinho's managerial style and personality could work a lot better at international level here than at club level.
That pragmatism and willingness to play toward the result is the lifeblood of international soccer everywhere but Brazil, and could be a great way to maximize a talent pool that, in all honesty, still won't be elite a decade from now.
And with the Home Depot Center as the de facto home of the Nats, he'd get to keep his posh Malibu dreamhouse. Hate to say it, Simon, but I think we're in perfect agreement on this one.
Borg: Regardless of whether we believe that he might be looking at MLS as an option when he's done conquering Europe, the fact that he's thinking about American soccer is very telling. It'd be a great media experiment to watch that pan out. Who could we compare him to in US sports? How would the media receive him?
Doyle: Well, the results would determine that. If they held up – if he produced as a USMNT coach the way he has at Chelsea, Inter and Porto – he'd be American soccer's Phil Jackson: undeniably great, undeniably smarmy and undeniably someone you want on your side.
Borg: I can deal with that once a month. Sign him up, Matt.