Mourinho & Terim: Two colossally passionate and eccentric managers to lock horns on Wednesday in the Champions League

We take a look at Mourinho and Terim’s flamboyant yet distinctive personalities in the dugout in what promises to be a breathless encounter between their sides...

By Harsh Shah

Jose Mourinho will find himself pitted against an equal of sorts when it comes to passion, aggression, mind-games and maybe even genius when he takes on Galatasaray’s Fatih Terim in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final matchup. Both these managers have always stood out when it comes to their respective teams, hogging the headlines one way or the other. Intriguingly so, while their ways of handling affairs set them apart from the rest of the pack of trainers from world over, they still are strikingly distinct when compared individually. And that is what will make the duel between the coaches as well as the teams they put out on the field an absolutely entertaining and gritty affair!

In a world of managers who are mostly controlled by the boardroom level decisions and owners’ whims and fancies, Mourinho and Terim with their years of globetrotting in the world of football and tremendously commendable feats in the process have elevated their stature to such a level that the trend in their case is the other way around – their opinions and suggestions are given relative priority and considered highly before arriving at any conclusion when it comes to the clubs’ proceedings.

Mourinho who is widely nicknamed ‘The Special One’ for his heroics at the clubs he has managed and Terim who is known as the godfather of Turkish football for his remarkable years of service to the sport in the country are now names that most clubs would spend a fortune for to see in their dugouts.

One highly valid reason that places these two helmsmen at a higher level than other coaches is their success rate over a number of years at the top level. For almost a decade now, ‘The Special One’ has been lighting up the legacies of every club he has managed. Two league titles and a Champions League with FC Porto, two Premier League triumphs with Chelsea, Two Scudettos and a Champions League title with Inter Milan and one La Liga and Copa Del Rey medal with Real Madrid more than just proves Mourinho’s ‘Galactico’ traits.

But the icing on the cake and definitely what in the end has helped him made a name for himself is his attitude and approach. The Portuguese has no doubts about his abilities and is one of the shrewdest tacticians currently in the sport. He has an uncanny swagger about him which has earned him infamy yet has turned him into the most respected and spoken about managers for quite some time now.

His quote on arriving at Chelsea from Porto in a bid to shun his critics away is testimony to the fact that Mourinho is a man who means absolute business: Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a "Special One"!’

Much recently, Mourinho gave another example of his integrity as well as frank demeanour that distinguishes him from others after defeating Manchester United in the previous round of the Champions League, commenting on Nani’s controversial red card. He portrayed volumes of honesty by saying, ‘The best team lost, we didn’t play well and we didn’t deserve to win. I doubt with 11 against 11 we could win the match.’ All these aspects have increased the Madrid trainer’s grade as a world-class manager.

On the other hand, the Turkish supremo Terim has been a much more seasoned and experienced campaigner than Mourinho. Many people forget that despite being a legendary symbol of Turkish football, Terim has also had stints with Fiorentina and AC Milan. He has also had a taste of the international culture as he has managed the Turkish national team at various levels.

Terim managed Galatasaray from 1996 to 2000 before having brief roles with Fiorentina and AC Milan. While his work at La Viola was highly praised, his Milan tenure was not that great in comparison. His time at the Florence club lasted only 23 games, but the effect he had on the team was phenomenal. Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi had this to say about Terim; ‘In five months, he built up a phenomenal side at Fiorentina. Name me one foreigner capable of that. He’s extraordinary – he could coach any side.’

For all his experimenting in Italy, Terim’s true calling was always at Galatasaray. He was back at the helm between 2002 and 2004 before taking up the Turkey job which he held till 2009. And since 2011, he is back at the Turk Telekom Arena. Nicknamed the ‘Emperor’, Terim has 5 Turkish Super Lig titles with Galatasaray over his many regimes. He also boasts of a singular UEFA Cup triumph bagged in the 1999-2000 campaign.

When it comes to flaunting the swashbuckle of a man who can’t be messed with, Terim is very much synonymous with Mourinho. Terim has a rebellious and aggressive look about him which is meant to convey to the opposition that he along with his side will be a tough nut to crack. At 59, his age and experience blend well with the stylish way in which he carries himself, portraying his youthfulness and passion for the game at heart.

A man who rarely follows convention, Terim very much like Mourinho is one to embrace grandeur and unorthodox methods. Both managers stand the chance of being hated (as they already are by a few) given their arrogant ways in handling affairs. Like Mourinho is loathed by the Barcelona faithful, so is Terim disliked by the supporters of Galatasaray’s fierce rivals Fenerbahce. But still both managers go on with business as usual, showcasing a thick skinned approach to any type of criticism, allegations or accusations hurled; with the highpoint being the fact that they have more often than not come out as winners from such confrontations.

Both managers very well know who they are about to go up against, with Terim saying a little something about his counterpart. ‘I've known José for many years. He's not your typical coach, he's different. We have always enjoyed a good friendship and the game between us will not change that.’ 

In stark contrast, Terim and Mourinho can be considered poles apart in more than one facet. As mentioned earlier, this proposition along with their general eccentricity is what will make Wednesday’s game a whirlwind affair. To start with, Terim’s presence at the top level is very much in excess of that of Mourinho’s. He played 11 seasons straight for Galatasaray till 1985 before turning to management in 1990. Mourinho in that respect falls short as he turned to coaching very early on as he lacked the necessary pace and power to turn professional.

Another front on which Terim’s credentials tip the scales a bit higher is managing a country. He started out as Turkey’s U-21 team coach from 1990-1993 and then went on the coach the Turkey senior team the ensuing 3 years. His latest international stint was from 2005-2009 with his best achievement coming in the latter phase with Turkey reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

But leaving out numbers and experience, Terim and Mourinho also stand at crossroads when it comes to a few manners of approach. Though both managers are never ones to shy away, Terim can be relatively less shrewd than Mourinho. Though both of them are capable of being point-blank, the Turkish legend can be more pleasing than Mourinho even in passion or aggression. Between the two, Terim is definitely the bigger of the diplomat.

While showing no mercy in giving a dressing down to either side’s player or the referee, the Istanbul great does score higher than Mourinho when it comes to being jovial, light-hearted and humourous.

So the Champions League encounter between the Spanish giants and the Turkish class-acts promises to be a masterful rendition of the two coaches’ raging yet artful symphonies. The style of play by both sides will be an extension of their managers’ philosophies with a passionately aggressive Galatasaray side sure to make sparks fly against a lethally talented Real Madrid outfit.

Banter or good stead? The episodes that play out at the Santiago Bernabeu and Turk Telekom Arena will bear witness to one of the options as two legends of the dugout set their troops out…

Which manager will come out the one on top in this tantalizing Champions League tie? Do LET US KNOW by leaving a comment below…

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