Top 10/50/100

9 players who've been publicly savaged by Jose Mourinho

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Despite his vast experience and mighty medal collection with Bayern Munich and Germany, Schweinsteiger wasn't necessarily a logical buy for Louis van Gaal's Manchester United in 2015. Injury problems had befallen him during his latter days in Bavaria, and sure enough a ruptured ligament cut his debut campaign at Old Trafford in half. 

Mourinho replaced Van Gaal in 2016 and immediatrly cast the experienced German aside, belittled the fading great with his actions rather than words. The Portuguese demoted the 121-cap star to United's under-23s, presumably in the hope of forcing his swift exit. That didn't happen, though, and Schweinsteiger left on a free transfer for MLS side Chicago Fire in summer 2017. 

On this occasion, however, Mourinho admitted regret at his handling of the situation. “He is in the category of players I feel sorry for something that I did to him,” said the Manchester United manager last year. “I want to speak about him as a professional, as a human being. It was the last thing I told him before he left – I was not right with you once, I have to be right with you now.”

Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne is favourite for the 2018 PFA Player of the Year award after a breathtaking season with Manchester City – and how Chelsea must be kicking themselves for letting the Belgian wizard leave in 2014. 

The 26-year-old has since established himself as one of the world’s finest midfielders under Pep Guardiola, but Mourinho was unwilling to give him the minutes he craved during his days at Stamford Bridge.

“With De Bruyne, if you have a player knocking on your door and crying every day he wants to leave, you have to make a decision. At that time, Chelsea did well,” Mourinho said in 2015. "But, if he was at Chelsea and not at Wolfsburg, he wouldn't have reached this level. It was like a wall, a block. He was not ready to compete. He was an upset kid, training very bad.”

Romelu Lukaku

They may be on great terms now - and clearly no long-term damage was caused, as Lukaku was happy to sign for Manchester United and play for Mourinho last summer. Yet as Chelsea boss in 2013, the Portuguese wasn’t shy of criticising his player while the Belgian was on loan at Everton.

"Romelu likes to speak. He's a young boy who likes to speak,” said Mourinho in response to one of Lukaku’s post-match interviews. “But the only thing he didn't say is why he went to Everton on loan. That's the only thing he never says. And my last contact with him was to tell him exactly that: 'Why do you never say why you are not here?'

"It's something he should say, the reason why he's not with Chelsea and is in Everton. There are things in our lives that we have to keep private but one day he scored and said he hoped Jose was watching. It was like saying: 'Why did he let me go?' And that's what I'm telling him now: 'Tell the country why you left.' When you enjoy to speak, speak everything. Don't speak only half of it. Speak everything. It's a simple question: 'Why did you leave Chelsea?' Ask him."

Cristiano Ronaldo

Mourinho faced a tough task during his three-year spell as Real Madrid manager: attempting to overthrow a dominant Barcelona, while persuading star player Cristiano Ronaldo to follow his gameplan.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Mourinho hinted that Ronaldo needed to improve his understanding of the game from a tactical perspective – helping to hammer the nail in his own coffin as Blancos boss.

“I had only one problem with him,” said Mourinho in 2013. “Very simple, very basic, which was when a coach criticises a player from a tactical viewpoint trying to improve what, in my view, could have been improved.” 

New features you'd love on FourFourTwo.com