Jose Mourinho’s most controversial moments

Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund Homecoming

Jose Mourinho is no stranger to disagreements and disputes. His recent brushes with the FA as Manchester United manager are just the latest in a long series of indiscretions. We take a look at some of his most controversial moments.

Mourinho vs the Fans

It seems Mourinho has always been stirring up controversy. The Portuguese’s introduction to the British football public came in the Champions League in 2004 with Porto at his current home ground, Old Trafford. Costinho’s equaliser for Porto late in the game prompted Mourinho to sprint down the touchline and celebrate with his players – much to the annoyance of United fans.

The following year, Mourinho – now in charge of Chelsea – stood in front of a large throng of Liverpool fans and placed his finger in front of his lips to shush them after the Blues scored a late equaliser.

Mourinho 2005

Mourinho vs Barcelona

Later that season, Mourinho accused Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard of trying to influence referee Anders Frisk during half-time of their Champions League clash at the Nou Camp. A complaint followed to FIFA and Frisk announced his retirement shortly after, claiming he had received death threats. Volker Rioth, the head of Uefa’s referee committee, said afterwards Mourinho was “an enemy of football”. ‘The Special One’ was slapped with a £8,900 fine and a two-match touchline ban. Not content with missing a subsequent Champions League clash against FC Bayern München, Mourinho allegedly hid in a laundry basket to circumvent his ban.

Signing Ashley Cole

ashley cole

Mourinho received the first of many fines to come in Britain – this one for £75,000 – when he was found to have illegally approached Arsenal’s Ashley Cole at a London hotel when he was out of contract. Mourinho paid the price – but got his man.

Incidents at Inter

Mourinho received a one-match ban for abusing the referee in a match against Cagliari in his very first season in Italy with Inter Milan.

Following a spat with Italy national team coach Marcello Lippi in the summer, Mourinho was handed a three-game ban and €40,000 fine for making a handcuff gesture to Sampdoria fans after two of his players were sent off in the first half of the Serie A clash.

Squabbles at Real Madrid

Mourinho moved to Real Madrid in 2010, and controversy soon followed. He received a two-match ban for being sent off after protesting to the referee during a 5-1 Copa del Rey victory against third-tier outfit Real Murcia in November.

A month later, he was slapped with another two-game ban for telling his players to get booked in a game against Ajax.

It got even worse in April 2011, when Mourinho unleashed an angry tirade at UEFA and Barcelona after a 2-0 defeat to the Catalans in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. Mourinho claimed his side simply had “no chance” when playing Barca. He was given a five-match ban, later reduced on appeal.

Mourinho Vilanova

Then in August came arguably his most controversial moment as a manager to date. With Barcelona once again the opponents, Mourinho added significant fuel to the El Clasico fire by poking his finger into Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova’s eye during a touchline altercation. His two-game suspension was eventually lifted.

In May 2013, Mourinho picks up a two-game ban for his behaviour in Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey final loss against Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea Blues

Even by Mourinho’s standards, his second spell at Chelsea was notable for the sheer volume of trouble he found himself getting into:

October 2013 – Sent to the stands by Anthony Taylor for angrily protesting on the sidelines during a 4-1 win over Cardiff City. Charged with improper conduct and slapped with an £8,000 fine.

March 2014 – Once again sent to the stands during a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa. Another charge of improper conduct and another £8,000 fine.

April 2014 – £10,000 fine for sarcastically praising Mike Dean and referees’ chief Mike Riley after Sunderland ended his 77-game unbeaten run in Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho Wenger

October 2015 – The famous touchline clash with Arsene Wenger, where the two Premier League giants got into a remarkable shoving match during Chelsea’s 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho had irked the Frenchman earlier in the season by referring to him as a “specialist in failure”.

December 2014 – £25,000 fine for saying there was a “clear campaign” against after Cesc Fabregas was denied a penalty and yellow carded for diving during a 1-1 draw with Southampton.

August 2015 – Mourinho berates his medical staff for entering the pitch in the closing stages of a 2-2 draw with Swansea on the opening day of the season. Club doctor Eva Carneiro claims constructive dismissal relating to the incident, forcing Mourinho to attend a tribunal.

October 2015 – £50,000 fine and a suspended one-match stadium ban for saying officials were “afraid” to give Chelsea penalties during a post-match interview.

Mourinho Chelsea

October 2015 – Sent to the stands and handed a subsequent £40,000 fine and one-match stadium ban for launching an explicit rant at Jonathan Moss in the referee’s dressing room at Upton Park. Mourinho was angered by the ref’s decision to send off Nemanja Matic. He reportedly told Moss: “Arsene Wenger was right, you are f****** soft.”

December 2015 – In what would turn out to be his final post-match interview for Chelsea, Mourinho claimed to have been “betrayed” by his own players for their poor results in the first half of the season.

New Chapter, Same Old Story

Mourinho took over at Manchester United ahead of the 2016/17 season, and if you thought his tumultuous second spell with Chelsea would have prompted a rethink and a change in his behaviour, you would be very, very wrong.


On October 27, Mourinho was hit with another misconduct charge for questioning if referee Anthony Taylor would be able to have a “good performance” ahead of Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool. He was fined £50,000, accepting his comments constituted improper conduct but denying they brought the game into disrepute.

Just two days later, he was sent to the stands for the first time as United boss after reacting furiously to his side not being awarded a penalty during a goalless draw with Burnley.

As recently as Wednesday, Mourinho received a one-match ban for kicking a water bottle in frustration during United’s 1-1 draw against West Ham three days earlier.

With results in the Premier League not going United’s way, it seems Mourinho could be in for even more controversy and brushes with the footballing authorities – whether his players need it or not.

Michael Schmitt