Top critical review
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.