Failings of a Champion: Where does Jose Mourinho go from here?
Exactly three years and a day later after losing his job at Chelsea, Mourinho got the white slip from Ed Woodward. At the moment, the big question in everyone's mind is about the future of Manchester United.
However, another interesting aspect of the fallout will be what happens to Jose Mourinho next.
An all-time great
It is fair to say that ever since his Champions League triumph with Inter Milan in 2010, Jose Mourinho's career has hit a downward slope. While still winning a couple of league titles and a few more trophies, Mourinho lost his job at Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
At the moment, his reputation is at the lowest, it has ever been. The Portuguese's personality is something that most never liked but his footballing acumen was always respected. However, at the moment, neither has he made himself more likeable nor people have any admiration for his coaching abilities.
Despite his recent failings and criticism, nobody can take away what the Portuguese has achieved in the sport. Even if he retires today or does not win a match again, he is sure to go down as one of the greatest the sport has ever seen.
Winning league titles in four different countries with four different clubs along with two European cups is an unprecedented achievement. Despite relation souring in his stint at Manchester United, Chelsea fans will admit that Mourinho was instrumental in changing the club's fortunes.
Both Inter Milan and Porto's record in the Champions League before and after Mourinho's triumph speak for itself.
While his glorious past is there to stay, the truth is only the present really matters and it does not make good reading for Mourinho. Manchester United is the third consecutive club where things have gone drastically wrong for Mourinho in the third season.
Not only have the results taken a hit but on each occasion, the environment around each club took a huge blow. At Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester, Mourinho lost the dressing room, created a toxic atmosphere and tainted the clubs reputation.
When the same things happen at three different clubs, one cannot deny that the blame lies with the man himself.
What has gone wrong?
The big question arises where has it gone wrong for Mourinho. In the first decade of his career, Mourinho barely put a foot wrong. Currently, he can hardly do any right. The most evident difference is in his relations with his players.
At Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United, Mourinho has ended up falling out with some of the best players in world football. This is in stark contrast to his relationship with his players at Porto, Inter Milan and the first stint at Chelsea where players were ready to run through brick walls for him.
From the outside, it looks Mourinho has found it hard to deal with the new generation of players in the age of social media. If the former Chelsea coach wishes to achieve success at the highest level again, he needs to find a new way to deal with his players. It is next to impossible to find players like the ones he had previously.
Another question lies in his tactics. When he burst on the scene in the early 2000s, his style of coaching and tactics was almost a revolution and took everyone by storm. However, over the last few years, football has moved on Mourinho looks to have not followed suit.
Currently, high pressing and attacking coaches like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are thriving. Pragmatic football is no longer favoured by most. The modern-day players seem to prefer to playing in a possession-based system more than a defensive one.
Make no mistake about it, it is not that Jose cannot make his teams play free-flowing football. Chelsea fans will remember how glorious to watch their team was in the first half of the title-winning 2014-15 season. However, Mourinho's change in approach right after the humiliating 5-3 defeat to Tottenham depicts that he is fearful in doing so.
One thing that Mourino will like to point out is how his results are better than other coaches but he does not get the same criticism. Managers like Wenger earlier and Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp have retained their jobs despite Mourinho's tenure at his club providing better results.
There is a simple reason behind it. From the start of his career, Mourinho's philosophy has revolved around short-term success and got him great success. However, the side effect of it is that when the results are not falling in place, there is not much left to appreciate.
In truth, it ends up doing more harm than good to the club as Chelsea experienced with the sale of Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, and Romelu Lukaku.
Probably, it's time for the Portuguese to start thinking about a sustainable foundation and not only look to win the next trophy. Not just by words but buying and developing younger players and building a team that can stay together for a long time.
This is something Mourinho did in his first stint at Chelsea. Despite his departure in 2007, it was his core that served Chelsea till the 2012 Champions League triumph.
What does the future hold?
Most of the footballing world will have their eyes on what Mourinho's next destination turns to be. His career lies at crossroads at the moment. With the fallouts he had at his previous three clubs, will any club of similar stature want to appoint him?
Will Mourinho like to take a job of a club of smaller ambitions and financial stature. Could his salary requirements take him to China or the MLS?
Despite getting the sack, Mourinho still won two trophies at Manchester United, finished second in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup final. Not to forget, his title win with Chelsea was only three and a half years ago.
However, these days, top players are what club's care about most. The big question is whether a club is ready to take the risk of him not falling out with the team's best players again. More importantly, can Mourinho convince the biggest clubs about his brand of football?
Mourinho legendary status in football will never be in doubt but if he can win the biggest trophies again, he could further escalate his stature.