It wasn’t long enough, Mourinho. Sure, some could’ve maybe predicted your third season with Chelsea would go the way of your previous third seasons and end in acrimony and disillusionment, but no one could’ve foreseen this.
You gave the club a solid two and a half seasons during this latest stretch, the third-longest stint in your career, and still we have not been sated. Who will pick strange fights with fellow managers, ones that appear to be instigated by the slightest of offenses but in reality refer back to still-held grudges of years past? Who will rant and rave about questionable refereeing decisions, reading grand conspiracies for or against certain clubs into the split-second decisions of the officials? Who will we wait for now with bated breath after matches, be they wins or losses, for the at once arrogant, paranoid, insecure, honest, and always revealing post-game interviews you have made so enjoyable in your career? This season that has been so great has lost more than a little luster without your shining, gleaming, glaring eyes to brighten it.
Let us not forget, though, how much joy you have brought us in these all too short 30 months back in England, Mourinho, and let us give thanks for it.
Thank you, Mourinho, for stealing Willian right from under Tottenham’s and Liverpool’s noses, and gloating about it in that quiet way of yours, knowing that the facts are so obviously slanted in your favor that all it takes to put your foes into a tizzy is a knowing smirk and some deadpan humor:
Thank you, Mourinho, for always keeping the referees honest and abreast of their shortcomings, even if it meant getting sent off the pitch and watching the remainder of the game in the stands next to some random kid:
Thank you, Mourinho, for advising that Man City manager Manuel “Pellegrino” get a calculator before talking to you about money:
Thank you, Mourinho, for continuing to show your passion and devotion to the club and its fans, like that time you celebrated a late winner scored by Fernando Torres against Manchester City by hopping into the crowd to be embraced and kissed by the supporters who still love you to this day:
Thank you, Mourinho, for coming up against a miraculous Liverpool team needing a positive result to keep their dream of shocking England by winning the Premier League alive, then murdering all hope for said dream, and celebrating like you had just won the title yourself:
Thank you, Mourinho, for poking fun at your striker Samuel Eto’o and his questionable age in private comments before an interview in France—
—and later, when asked by the British media if you were embarrassed about the comments, flipping it against them by saying they should be embarrassed by the lack of Ethics in Soccer Journalism on display by the video’s leaker:
Thank you, Mourinho, for showing up noted assholes Paul Lambert and Roy Keane by attempting to shake their hands before the final whistle of a Chelsea win over their Aston Villa side—
—and then burning them in typically sarcastic fashion when they complained about it:
Thank you, Mourinho, for never ceasing to innovate the art of referee blasting. You invented the technique of being as coy as possible, listing the specific times of questionable calls, and asking the public to investigate and come to their own conclusions:
Thank you, Mourinho, for not settling on tired excuses like “oh, kids these days” for the deteriorated state of the world, and instead offering a fascinating philosophical treatise on possible explanations for what has gone wrong:
Thank you, Mourinho, for your triumphant and hilarious speech at the Chelsea awards banquet following your impressive EPL title in your second season, where you explained with an allegory why your rivals weren’t able to best you that year:
Thank you, Mourinho, for teaching us a lesson about how one should be wary of attaching too much value to meaningless trinkets—which are often so coveted apart from the real, human experiences and accomplishments they were meant to commemorate that sometimes the signifier becomes the signified—by tossing your Community Shield loser’s medal into the stands:
Thank you, Mourinho, for always demonstrating so much intensity in matches, like that time you told someone (a ref? a player?) to fuck off:
Thank you, Mourinho, for demanding from each and every staff member of yours an acute level of situational awareness and knowledge of the game, even if it meant blowing up on your medical staff:
Thank you, Mourinho, for even in the worst of seasons inspiring your charges to victory in the biggest of matches, like the one against Arsenal earlier this season, and then bucking shots at your long time rival Arsène Wenger after the fact to remind him who’s really boss:
Thank you, Mourinho, for taking time out of your day to correct the indecorous behavior of the bratty youth of Britain:
Thank you, Mourinho, for proving that the truly self-confident never retreat from the safety of their enormous fortresses of self-regard by doubling down on your belief in yourself in response to potentially identity-shaking failure in post-match pressers like this one:
And this one, from what we now know was your final match as Chelsea manager:
We will miss you, Mourinho, for all of these reasons and more. We are sad, certainly, but not despondent, for we know that however long you will be absent from our lives, you are sure to return to us at some point as rejuvenated and cocksure as ever. Until then, we will eagerly await more of the wisdom, humor, and happiness we’ve been so blessed to receive from you.
Photo via Getty