Jose Mourinho is regarded as one of the best managers of his generation – and rightly so. The Portuguese boss is a serial winner, having collected trophies from all over Europe – be it in his native country, England, Spain or Italy; he wins.
However, Mourinho has been known to make a few ‘mistakes’; in which he’s sold top quality players because they don’t fit his system, or they’re now too old, or he simply doesn’t rate them.
So what better to do than create a line-up of some of the best players he has gotten rid of?
*Disclaimer* – We’re rating these players through their ability at the height of their careers; not when they were sold, nor their footballing ability as of this very moment.
So, let’s get the ball rolling from the back…
1. Goalkeeper – Petr Cech
Petr Cech has individual awards coming out of his scrum cap.
Czech Republic’s most capped player also holds the Premier League’s most clean sheets, and the former Chelsea stopper has picked up an impressive four Golden Gloves in the same division.
One of modern football’s finest goalkeepers, Mourinho removed Cech from Stamford Bridge to make way for the increasingly brilliant (and considerably younger) Thibaut Courtois – quite a smart move.
2. Centre Back – David Luiz
It was actually Mourinho who brought David Luiz into Chelsea only months before he departed the club for the first time.
Upon his return, he sold the crazy haired defender to Paris Saint-Germain in 2014 for a world record fee for a defender. As excuses go, that’s a pretty good one. £50m is a lot for a controversial, attacking minded centre-half; although he can strike one hell of a free-kick every now and then.
Perhaps the manager was still haunted by those dark few months that led to his dismissal by having the Brazilian in his squad.
Funnily enough, the summer after Jose had left Chelsea (for the second time) Luiz returned again, where he remains.
3. Centre Back – Leonardo Bonucci
This is where Mourinho massively messed up. Granted, he wouldn’t be at Inter by the time the defender really started showing his true ability, but Leonardo Bonucci has become one of the best centre backs on the planet in recent years, and Jose sold him to Serie B side Treviso for a tiny €500.
4. Centre Back – Marcel Desailly
Regarded as one of the finest French defenders of all time, Desailly was one of the first to go when Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge the first time.
In fairness to Jose, Desailly was a shade of his former self when he arrived into London, and at 36 years old, he couldn’t really offer much to his new boss.
But still, it’s Marcel Desailly.
5. Right Midfield – Arjen Robben
Hasn’t Arjen Robben always seemed old? Even at Chelsea in 2004 as a 20-year-old, just look at that hairline.
Mourinho and the Dutchman spent roughly the same amount of time at Stamford Bridge in the Portuguese chief’s first stint there. In fact, Mourinho probably didn’t even want to sell Robben, but when a big team like Real Madrid comes calling with a £24m offer (at the time that was a lot of cash), there’s very little you can do.
6. Centre Midfield – Kevin de Bruyne
This is absolutely brilliant. Mourinho must hate himself for letting this one go.
Kevin de Bruyne – currently regarded as the best player in the Premier League (and increasingly so around Europe), was sold to Wolfsburg by Mourinho in 2014 because he didn’t train well enough, and now plays for the Manchester United manager’s rivals Manchester City.
If only you could turn back time.
7. Centre Midfield – Frank Lampard
Chelsea legend Frank Lampard saw his time with the club run to an end during Mourinho’s second stint in west London.
In fairness to Jose, it wasn’t his decision to ship the English midfielder off to the MLS for a couple of years – but he’s still one talented player departing a club under Mourinho.
8. Left Midfield – Mohamed Salah
We’ve got a bit of a Chelsea theme running through here, don’t we?
Here’s another player who may well come back to haunt Mourinho, with Mohamed Salah now sitting at the top of the Premier League’s goal scoring charts for Liverpool.
The Egyptian was deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, which meant only one thing to Jose…the boot.
9. Striker – Hernan Crespo
Yet another victim of Mourinho’s vicious transfer dealings at Chelsea. Hernan Crespo, one of the greatest strikers to walk the planet in the last 20 years, was deemed surplus to requirements upon the arrival of Didier Drogba.
Three loan spells later and Crespo was released from Chelsea – free to join Inter. Inter who incidentally, then signed Mourinho – who ended Crespo’s career with the San Siro outfit as well.
10. Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Speaking of Inter, how could anyone forget Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Mourinho axed the Swede in exchange for €46m and Samuel Eto’o in the summer of 2009 (which, to be fair, was a brilliant deal at the time).
Perhaps this was a deal that Mourinho was reluctant to make happen, considering he re-signed Zlatan for Manchester United last season – and they’ve both always spoken very fondly of each other.
11. Striker – Raul
Once again, a club legend offloaded by the relentless Jose Mourinho.
After 16 years at the Santiago Bernabeu, The Portuguese boss saw Raul leave the club in 2010, following a long spell on the sidelines through injury.
However, it can also be argued that at this point, Raul’s days at the top level were all but over – but then again, that’s not so fun is it?