Jose Mourinho and Anderson Luíz de Sousa (i.e. Deco) made global superstars out of each other in the two and a half years they were together at Porto. In 2004, it even looked like they might come to Chelsea together; Deco ended up taking a four-year detour through Barcelona and by the time he made it to SW6, Mourinho had gone south to Italy. The Internazionale chairman denied a reunion there, despite Deco's disillusionment at Big Phil Scolari's firing. Eventually, the talented (although by that time certainly on the waning end of his career) midfielder eventually stayed and helped fire Ancelotti's side to the famous Double.
So no reunion between a very special player and The Special One, but Deco clearly retains a massive amount of respect and perhaps an even greater friendship with Jose. With the manager facing the toughest test of his career, Deco made an appearance on ESPN Brazil to talk a bit about Mourinho's methods, magic, and madness.
Taking advantage of the fact that we have a native Brazilian on our staff here at WAGNH, here's the transcript of Deco's revealing interview that you can view above.
Juan Pablo Sorín (former Lazio, Barcelona, PSG, Villarreal player and Argentinian national team captain): How was Mourinho's pre-match talk [at Porto]?
Deco: He didn't talk much. He spoke mostly during the week. During the week he'd speak a bit and on game day he wouldn't speak much.
Alex (former Fenerbahce player): Do you think he changed a lot since then?
Deco: With me personally, with his friend, no. I was in London six months ago and he's still a super-nice guy. If you ask any of his players until his Real Madrid spell, everyone loves him, he's a trainer that everyone likes. After Real Madrid, I don't know. I think his Real Madrid spell damaged his relationship, his trust with his players. He always trusted his players. So I don't know if his job with Real Madrid has changed him a bit. And he always was a manager whose relationship with his players was always strong but now many years have passed, he's older now... I don't know.
Juan Pablo Sorín: And can he turn things around [at Chelsea]? He said it was an "unusual situation" for him, but getting Chelsea back on track: what do you think?
Deco: Look... I have seen the [Chelsea] games and it isn't easy. Because the team isn't losing [on performances]... although when you look at the Premier League, they are very strong, right? Now that they have this TV deal, every team has a lot of money and they're all getting good players.
Rodrigo Rodrigues (TV presenter): Now Deco, do you think he changed during his Real Madrid job or is he at Chelsea someone more "relaxed" like he seemingly was in past?
Deco: Look, I don't really know... If you ask Cesc [Fàbregas], he loves him. You see Pedro, Mourinho was one of the reasons why he moved to Chelsea instead of going to Manchester [United]. What I say is I don't know how he's dealing with the "day-by-day" things because looking from the outside it's difficult to evaluate but on Real Madrid he was always someone who put a lot of trust on his players and he's always willing to shield them from harm; he doesn't have any problem with that. And I don't know if his Real Madrid spell made... The problem with Real Madrid is that Mourinho managed to put that team to play on equal terms with the best Barcelona team of all-time and sometimes even win against them. But in terms of relationship with players, he left the club a bit hurt.
Djalminha (former Deportivo La Coruña player, Brazilian international): ...And it's Mourinho's own statements, that when he worked with Eto'o at Inter [Milan] and when he worked with him at Chelsea, he said he didn't have any strikers because they were old. And Eto'o answered by scoring a goal and commemorating like he was using a walking stick.
Deco: I think Mourinho is maybe the only manager who knows the press. In a certain way he knows about what the press will talk about and he uses it... It's like a game. An asset. He motivated his players according to what he spoke on the press, even though I think he goes over the limit sometimes but he knows it very well. He plays with it a lot. I recall my Porto days, there was always the rivalry with Benfica, and he knew how to use it in a way that left me in awe.
Juan Pablo Sorín: And it also takes the pressure off the players' backs, right?
While I do think that Deco's working off of old and outdated information in certain aspects -- I certainly don't think Mourinho is as good at playing the media as we once believed he was; nor do I think everything he says is cold and calculated (a rant's a rant, as far as I'm concerned) -- the bit about player trust is perhaps quite telling.
Trust and happiness have been the foundation upon which Jose's decided to build his new Chelsea empire of stability and winning. It was all going swimmingly, too, but this season, a few cracks have started to appear. There's probably no one reason that we can pin down as the ultimate cause of this malaise. But whatever it and all the other reasons are, they must be fixed, eliminated, and resolved, somehow, before it all collapses.