Former Brazil and Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar has revealed the complexities of working with manager Jose Mourinho, in a story about how he got into a swearing match with the ‘Special One’ over the right to celebrate his team’s Serie A title win with the fans back in 2009.
Cesar, who played for Inter between 2005 and 2012, was one of the key figures in Mourinho’s treble-winning side back in 2010.
However, while at the height of his managerial success, Mourinho was not the easiest on his players – as Cesar attests.
Writing about his life and career for The Players’ Tribune, the Brazilian legend revealed how Mourinho was always concentrating on the next game, even if that meant putting title celebrations on hold.
Mourinho’s particular ‘work first’ attitude came to a head with his goalkeeper back at the tail end of the 2008/09, after Inter were mathematically made Serie A champions.
Cesar recalled: “We were in a hotel in Milan on a Saturday, preparing to play Siena on Sunday. We knew that if Milan lost to Udinese that night, we would be champions. So we were all watching the game together. When Milan lost, we went crazy.
“Where to go? Easy. We have a place called the Piazza del Duomo, which is the main square of Milan. This is where Inter celebrate their titles with the fans. But when I spoke to Javier Zanetti, our captain, and some of the other players, they said that Mourinho didn’t want us to go there.
“Mourinho wanted us to rest before the Siena game. It didn’t make sense! We had won the title. We had no other competitions left to play.
“Then I realised that Mourinho wanted to break the record for the number of wins in a Serie A season, or something like that. It was a milestone that would make him look good.
“So I got really mad, hahaha. I told Zanetti, ‘We have to go to the Piazza. We deserve it.’
“Just then Mourinho walked past. He shouted, ‘Julio Cesar, why don’t you go there by yourself?’
“I shouted back, ‘Everyone wants to go. They’re just afraid to tell you, but I’m not.'”
Unperturbed by Mourinho’s comments, Cesar continued to argue with his manager until it turned into a swearing match.
Cesar wrote: “Mourinho kept walking towards his room. I wasn’t going to just accept this, so I went after him. When he went into his room, I followed him. He lay down on the bed and I told him, ‘Look, if you don’t go to the Piazza, you will never win a championship again.'”
“Suddenly Mourinho got up and began swearing at me. He was calling me every name under the sun. I’m not sure, but I think he might have taken what I said seriously.
“In either case, two buses soon arrived to take us to the Piazza del Duomo.
“Moments later we were in the square singing and celebrating with the fans. At one point — I was pretty drunk — I grabbed Mourinho by the neck and said, ‘So you really wanted to stay at the hotel?! Look at this! This is for you!'”
Inter – despite the late-night celebrations – went on to win the following game against Siena 3-0 anyway.
Read Julio Cesar’s full piece ‘My Book of Moments’ only on the The Players’ Tribune