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Mourinho, Chelsea's 'Special One,' abruptly quits
by Paul Kennedy, September 20th, 2007 7AM

TAGS:  england, uefa champions league


Three years after Jose Mourinho arrived at Chelsea in a blaze of glory, he quit quietly.

Having just led FC Porto to the UEFA Champions League, he delighted reporters at the press conference introducing him as Chelsea manager in 2004 by talking about himself.

"Please don't call me arrogant," said the Portuguese coach, "but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one."

Special he was with his flair for the dramatic, concluding with his shocking exit on Wednesday night.

Just a day after Chelsea opened its 2007-08 UEFA Champions League campaign at home with a 1-1 tie against Norwegian club Rosenborg, Mourinho sent his captain, John Terry, a text message saying he was quitting.

Mourinho led Chelsea to its first English league title in 50 years when the Blues won the 2005 Premier League championship, and they repeated as champion in 2006. In 120 league games with Mourinho in charge, Chelsea won 85, tied 25 and lost only 10.

But it struggled in three-plus seasons under Mourinho in the Champions League and lost its EPL crown to Manchester United last season.

The Blues experienced a poor start to the 2006-07 season, sitting fifth. Chelsea had a long list of injured.

"You cannot make an omelet without eggs," Mourinho said, referring to injured stars Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack.

But Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who had early on given Mourinho an open pocketbook to construct the deepest squad in Europe, was reportedly furious that Chelsea couldn't beat Rosenborg -- in a game that attracted a crowd of only 25,000 fans at Stamford Bridge.

Tension between Abramovich and Mourinho went back several years. Last year's signing of Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko, a close friend of Abramovich, was seen as an effort by Abramovich and his executives to dictate player choices on Mourinho.

Ironically, it was Shevchenko who scored the only Chelsea goal against Rosenborg on Tuesday night.

Mourinho, 44, had three years remaining on a contract worth more than $10 million annually.

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