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Is the Special One about to create a special Champions League record?

| 05.04.2013

Whatever you think of Jose Mourinho, there’s no denying that he’s a fantastic manager.

The Real Madrid manager has already won leagues and cups in four different countries, but his main target this season is to bring the Champions League back to the Bernabeu.

Real seem all but certain of a semi-final place after an impressive display in seeing off a limited Galatasaray side 3-0 in midweek in the first leg of their quarter-final showdown.

Succeeding in Europe’s elite club competition was the main reason that Mourinho was brought to the Spanish capital as Real bid to win the tournament for the first time since 2002.

With Real’s La Liga title hopes virtually over as they trail bitter rivals Barcelona by 13 points, Mourinho’s focus is now very much on the Champions League, especially with speculation rife that he could be all set to leave in the summer, possibly returning to Chelsea.

As ever, Mourinho has a point to prove. And he is definitely not lacking in motivation to try and be victorious at Wembley come May 25 as he targets an unprecedented Champions League triumph with three different clubs.

Bob Paisley won it three times in charge of Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s and Clarence Seedorf achieved the feat as a player with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan, but no manager has ever guided three different teams to the biggest prize in club football.

Mourinho’s previous European success came with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010. On both occasions, he led underdogs to glory, but Real are among the favourites at 21/10, just behind rivals Barca.

If Real do go all the way then they will have done it the hard way, beating the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United along the way so far.

In Cristiano Ronaldo, Mourinho has the competition’s top scorer with nine goals arguably at the peak of his power.

Ronaldo’s attacking prowess is also illustrated in the fact he has managed more shots on target (45) than any other player. Lionel Messi is next in the pecking order in both charts with eight goals from 27 attempts on target.

Indeed, it could well effectively be a straight shoot-out between Ronaldo and Messi  for Euro glory such are the talismanic qualities possessed by the best two players in world football.

Should Real and Barca be paired together in the semis or final – that’s providing of course that they do both progress – then Mourinho’s men will have cause for optimism, having beaten them twice already in 2013.

Real are also undefeated against Barca this season, reinforcing the belief that Mourinho has an uncanny knack of getting his players up for big games.

A place in the history books beckons for Mourinho – it could well be a special next month or so for the Special One.



Mark Bowering