When asked why he was so fluent in Italian, Jose Mourinho replied nonchalantly, "I am very intelligent."
Yes, the Special One is back and you can't wipe the smile from my face.
He may have tried to distance himself from that self-prescribed tag in his first news conference as Inter Milan coach by saying he is a "normal manager at a special club." But despite the uncharacteristic humility he exuded at that presser in Italy, Mourinho is extremely special.
Not just in my eyes, although I have to admit I am a huge fan of the Portuguese man. How can one not be drawn to a person who emits such charisma, intelligence and mystique? I hang on to his every word, not because what he speaks is true, but because he is so entertaining; unpredictable and delightfully obnoxious.
No, Mourinho is particularly exceptional because he is excellent at what he does as coach/manager of football teams. His achievements are well documented and Inter Milan have put a price on his special powers by giving him a contract worth more than $13.7 million per season for three years. That makes him the best paid football manager in the world, and by some distance, the best paid in Italy. (Carlo Ancelotti of AC Milan takes home US$7 million per season, but Roma coach Luciano Spalleti who finished runners-up to Inter only earns US$3.15 million).
And contrary to what most may think, I believe Mourinho deserves every cent he's getting from his new employers. His popularity and image will generate returns for Inter they will probably never have obtained before. If anyone has the ability of boosting the ‘Inter Milan' brand, making it as popular as AC Milan and giving it the same global reach as their city rivals - Jose ‘The Special One' Mourinho has.