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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 15 February 2015
The Spanish title maybe represent better this book. "Preparense para perder" means "Stay ready to lose" and that sums exactly the meaning of this book. In Madrid Mourinho seemed ready to face a defeat rather than risking to get a win, maybe because he knew he couldn't compete in sporting terms with Guardiola and Barça at the time. Although I haven't taken everything written for granted, I enjoyed the book. Obviously it portraits Mourinho as a bad coach, especially in tactical terms and that's not completely true. However most of the topics are quite interesting : the strong connection between the coach and Mendes (his agent and agent of many of portoguese players, especially those who play / played with Real Madrid), his mind-games and all the troubles Mourinho had with the dressing room and some of senior players (Ramos and Casillas above all else and even Cristiano Ronaldo) and member of club (Valdano, Zidane). As I said - the book has mostly a negative view on Mourinho but a part from few exagerations (I don't think he played Di Maria instead of Pedro Leon just because Di Maria is Mendes' player;) there are many interesting stories that explain why he didn't succeed in Spain.
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on 30 June 2014
If, like me, you've always thought Mourinho was an unpleasant, manipulative so-and-so, this book will, through excellently sourced quotes and examples confirm all your prejudices. If you have thought he's a great guy who brings out the best in his teams, it's also well worth a read if only to make you think about whether or not you're right.
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on 13 June 2016
Jose Mourinho is rather full of himself: hardly news. Diego Torres tells the story - or series of stories - of Jose's three years in Madrid. Torres clearly has a superb grasp of both on-pitch tactical battles and seemingly great "ins" amongst the Madrid players and executive hierarchy. As the book develops, it's fun to speculate on who those anonymous contributors may be.
The dressing room tales are interesting and underline the "iceberg" theory of modern football global enterprises. As mere supporters we get tiny glimpses of what's really happening behind the scenes and, more often than not, assume our club to be special in the eyes of all those fortunate to represent the team on the pitch as well as their coaches. Unfortunately egos and turf battles are perhaps more the norm. The most enlightening (and saddest) revelation is Jose's team talk before a Champions League second leg, ordering his players to save face against Barcelona rather than attempt to win the tie. As a Chelsea fan with many years of Mourinho-watching experience, that doesn't surprise me.
On the flip side, Jose gets no credit (or virtually none) for winning the Spanish league in mesmeric style with over 100 points. It's only fair to be balanced - even if Jose only succeeds, as Torres suggests, by allowing the players to play as they wish, that to me is great management. This book certainly lacks even-handedness and tries too hard to be a hatchet job.
The other drawback, and this may be due to the translation, is that the stories lack drama and perspective, too often relying on "and another thing" style of journalism.
Worth reading but no classic.
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on 8 May 2014
A remarkable and detailed expose of Mourinho. Clearly, it is written from a preconceived slant and has to be assessed accordingly. But it is certainly true that we can understand the man more for having read this work. Would that Diego Torres had written a behind the scenes account of Sir Alex. Now that would have been compulsive ......
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on 10 May 2014
What a very complex man Mourinho is. I am sure not everything is as clear cut as the author would have us believe, but the essence of his dark side is there for all to see. Who would have thought Arsenal have him to thank for the talent that is Özil!

An excellent read. I recommend it.
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on 11 May 2015
This book held me absolutely gripped. I now know that Real Madrid, who had lost four out of four matches in the previous two years to 'the greatest team in history' (Barca, but their dominance is omitted as is their dismal recent record), then won la Liga without the help of their manager (who had won domestic leagues in three major footballing nations) because they ignored him - his tactics were idiotic and only when they lost was it down to the coach. This is because Mourinho only knows how to defend and hasn't got a clue how to break down defences; yet, amazingly, 'his' Liga-winning side scored more goals in a season than any Spanish team in history and accrued more points. Mmm...
Some things I did believe: when Mourinho was unhappy with his players, he shouted at them, and when he was happy with their performance, he laughed and joked; he allowed his agent (who is also Ronaldo's agent) into the training ground quite often; he sacked the training ground chefs; he stirred up controversy in the press and caused ill-will with other teams; he was closer to the players who did what he asked than those who argued with him; he told his players to 'express themselves' in attack.
While Iker Casillas is described as 'the best goalkeeper in the world' his shot-stopping stats don't bear this out. The book reveals how Casillas held secret talks with team-mates behind the back of the coach, threatened mutiny, became sulky when he disagreed with tactics, hated Mourinho and leaked stories to the press (including, it seems, this book). He didn't view refusing to toe the coach's line as disloyal. While the world saw how inept Casillas had become for Spain in 2014, Real Madrid did win La Decima after Mourinho's departure, so hey-ho.
It's still a fascinating insight into the sniping animosities of the biggest club in the world (and I now know how Ferreira kept his place in the Chelsea side all that time!).
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on 14 November 2015
At times I have to remind myself it's Real Madrid I's reading about, and not present day Chelsea. The comparisons are unbelievable.
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on 18 May 2014
I have to really question the credibility of the source. Their is an obvious negative spin on everything and I feel it's more of an attack on Mourinho rather than a portrayal of his dark side.
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on 25 August 2014
Very repetitive and could have been summed up in the length of a newspaper article rather than padded out in a book. Very small parts were interesting but it was hardly a revelation. Main focus was that Mourinho wasn't popular at Madrid.
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on 20 July 2014
One of the best football books I have read, the author takes us into the heart of the Real Madrid changing room. What follows is jealousy, madness, paranoia and occasionally some good football. Do yourself a favour and buy this.
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