The Real Footie Analyst

Just who is the ‘next Jose Mourinho’ Andre Villas-Boas?

Just who is this no-name manager that seems to grab the headlines of late and is being linked with the vacant Chelsea manager’s job? The 33-year-old who managed FC Porto to a recent Europa League title, is formerly a close associate of Jose Mourinho during his spell as assistant manager to the Special One. Many say he is the ‘next Jose Mourinho’. Here are some facts:

  • Born on October 17 1977, Luís André Pina Cabral Villas-Boas speaks perfect English, having been taught the language by his dad’s mum Margaret Kendall. Her own mother moved to Portugal from the Stockport suburb of Cheadle to start a wine business in the early years of the 20 century.
  • Married with two children, Villas-Boas comes from a wealthy background, with a count and a baron among his relatives.
  • A schoolboy midfielder who realised he would never be good enough to play the game at a high level, Villas-Boas planned a career in sports journalism before famously getting his start in coaching through the late, great Sir Bobby Robson, a friend of his grandma. He explained: “When Mr Bobby Robson came to Porto to be a coach in 1994 he moved into my building. I was a small boy, but because I was so interested in football I went to his flat to try to meet him. He liked my passion so helped me to enrol at Lilleshall. I shouldn’t really have been there, because the law doesn’t allow a minor to take qualifications. I was the youngest coach there by a mile, but I was so determined to make it that it didn’t bother me.”

  • Villas-Boas was still only 21 when he became the British Virgin Islands’ technical director of football in 2000 – not that the tiny country’s FA were aware of that. He said: “I was a kid, but they didn’t know that. I only told them my age the day I left the post.” The Portuguese was in charge for a 14-1 defeat in Bermuda during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in which then-Manchester City striker Shaun Goater scored five goals.
  • Jose Mourinho became Villas-Boas’ second mentor when he joined Porto as coach in 2002. He have the youngster a job as ‘head of opposition observation’ and by the time the pair arrived at Chelsea, the Special One was calling his assistant “my ears and eyes”. Villas-Boas immediately endeared himself to first team players by providing individual DVDs on their direct opponent in each forthcoming game, detailing their rivals’ strengths and weaknesses.

  • Redhead Villas-Boas was renowned as one of the most volatile of Mourinho’s Chelsea’s assistants – at times even more controversial than the boss himself. Frank Rijkaard is alleged to have taken a swing at him following one of the Blues’ epically bad-tempered clashes with Barcelona, and it was Villas-Boas who claimed to have seen referee Rijkaard approaching Frisk three times during half-time in their February 2005 Champions League first leg. Mourinho was banned from the second leg after repeating the allegation. Villas-Boas has never been backward about coming forward – it’s claimed that the only reason the youngster talked to Bobby Robson was to slate him for dropping his Porto hero as a schoolboy, Domingos Paciencia.
  • Villas-Boas also worked with Mourinho at Inter Milan but the pair are thought to be no longer speaking, for reasons Villas-Boas will not disclose. He says: “We have different personalities and different views towards the game. I respect José, but don’t want to be a Mourinho clone. I want to be able to work freely, without restraint, without worrying what he thinks.”
  • Villas-Boas quit Inter in October 2009 for his first role as a club No.1, with struggling Academia De Coimbra. Rock-bottom at the time and winless in their first seven games of the season, he led them to a comfortable 11 place finish in a 16-team league and into the semi-finals of the Portuguese Cup. He was such an instant success that less than two months into his reign, Sporting Lisbon tried to poach him to be their coach in the 2010/11 season. But he preferred to return to Porto.
  • Villa-Boas’ record-breaking season at Porto last term saw them become the first-ever European club to twice win a treble of domestic league, cup and a European trophy. Victory in the Europa League also made him the youngest coach ever to win a major European competition.
  • Villas-Boas plays a more fluid and attacking version of Mourinho’s famous 4-3-3 in which wingers are encouraged to get forward and support strikers and full backs give license to cross the halfway line.

He was also linked with the Liverpool job before Kenny Dalglish was installed as caretaker manager in January. Will we see him in the EPL? I certainly hope so.

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