Long before the Manchester United boss became one of the most famous and successful managers in world football, he showed incredible courage to stage a dramatic rescue.
As his own unremarkable playing days were coming to an end, Mourinho found himself playing for minnows Comercio e Industria, of the Setubal District League in 1985.
The club was close to his family home and it was after training when an incident occurred that has given Mourinho a mistrust of motors that exists to this day.
He had finished a training session and was enjoying lunch in the Praca de Touros, the town’s main square.
Mourinho’s team-mate, De, was heading home. He went to his 10-year-old Fiat, turned on the ignition and the engine exploded.
The Angolan found it impossible to open the driver’s door because of the heat. The car was parked against a wall on the passenger side, leaving the player trapped.
De screamed for help.
Without a thought for his own safety, Mourinho sprang into life. He rushed over and smashed the window, yanking De from his seat and out of reach of a blaze that was threatening to claim his life.
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When the fire brigade arrived, all that was left to do was put out the embers of the wrecked car. Mourinho was feted by his team-mates as a hero.
His spokesperson Eladio Parades confirmed: “Jose says it’s true. The car was on fire and Jose pulled him out. It wasn’t about a question of pride, he was just glad to have saved his team-mate’s life.”
That near-death experience involving Mourinho and a friend’s car was just the prelude to another dangerous incident.
The next time he came face-to-face with his own mortality was during a trip home to Portugal, 10 years later, when he was on Barcelona’s coaching staff under the late Sir Bobby Robson.
He drove all the way and, only a few miles before he reached his home city of Setubal, he had a lapse in concentration and a major crash that left him with facial scars, still visible to this day.
Ironically, his heroic life-saving act in pulling De from the burning car is in contrast to the criticism he received.
A Spanish journalist said Mourinho is “the type of person who leaves after causing a car crash”, referring to his controversial spell as Real Madrid boss. Mourinho sued the journalist.
He has since admitted he doesn’t like driving.
And, perhaps, given some perspective, the defeat to Sevilla wasn’t such a car crash after all. THINK YOUR FRIEND WOULD BE INTRESTED? SHARE THIS STORY USING ANY OF THE SHARE BUTTON BELOW ⬇ PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>