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Why did Jose Mourinho hide inside laundry basket at Stamford Bridge?

The former Manchester United manager has written his own legend with an alchemy of spectacular triumphs on the pitch.

Last updated: 15.03.2019
Jose Mourinho | Sports Social Blog

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Jose Mourinho is a coach who has enthralled the media around the world with his park the bus tactics and sabre-toothed soundbites from which no-one in the football world could count themselves safe. He has had a managerial juggernaut that has been powered through controversy and success alike in his guise as the self-acclaimed ‘Special One’.

The former Manchester United manager has written his own legend with an alchemy of spectacular triumphs on the pitch and volatile behaviour off it. One of the folktale that will live on for generations is when he hid inside a laundry basket vs Bayern Munich. But why this Basket Case?

The incident took place in 2005 Champions League quarter-finals. The Special One was handed a two-game touchline ban by UEFA after his allegations that the then Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard had influenced the second half by visiting Anders Frisk room, which resulted in Didier Drogba’s sent off. Interestingly, Mourinho’s men knocked out the Catalans 2-1 to march into the quarter-finals.


The incident was yet another example of how the ex-Chelsea manager would use anything at his disposal to play mind games with his opponents. The price that he paid was a two match-ban stadium ban.

If this is Mourinho at his scheming best, then what is to follow is arguably the most bizarre and laughable moment in the modern football.

The Portuguese, as required, was nowhere to be seen on the touchline, and was presumed by many to be watching the first leg against Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge in leisure. But there was more to the story then to normal eye.

The assistant manager Rui Faria had worn an ill-fitting beanie hat for the occasion and was wearing an earpiece to stay connected with his boss. Another twist to the great plot was the disappearance of goalkeeper coach Silvinho Louro at three different instances. Whenever Louro reappeared he could be seen carrying pieces of paper.

If these were the clues to Mourinho’s crafty plot, his admittance to how he managed the whole scheme is wonderfully cartoonish. Fourteen years after the incidence, Mourinho in an interview told how and why he plotted this scheme.

“I go to the dressing room during the day so I was there from midday and the game is seven o’clock. I just want to be in the dressing room when the players arrive,” the 55-year-old recalled.

“I went there and nobody see me. The problem was to leave after. And the kit man put me in the basket. It was a little bit open so I could breathe. But when he is taking it outside the dressing room, the UEFA guys were following and desperate to find me so he closed the box and I couldn’t breathe. When he opened the box I was dying,” he added.

Time can be a cruel mistress. It is the same time that has seen the Portuguese transform from Machiavellian mastermind of conquest to the weirdo with a bag full of blames and reasons.

The ‘Beautiful Game’ has made people do strange things, but the question that stands is whether  it is weirder than the time when Jose ‘Special One’ Mourinho hid in a laundry basket.

Video: Jose Mourinho talks about Ronaldo and Messi

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