FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a Chelsea FC fan but yet a huge fan of Jose Mourinho. I don’t believe he is the greatest coach ever but I know he is one of the best around.
With that out of the way, I still wonder how a person of his sporting intellect would make terribly wrong calls about three players, who in my opinion, have become really good and we have yet to see the best they can offer. If someone makes a wrong call about one player, that’s understandable but to make three wrong calls, that’s huge.
Mohamed Salah, Kelvin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku…in that order.
I remember when we (ChelseaFC) bought Mo Salah; honestly, I could not see the rational then. Likewise, when Mou decided to sell him and he gave the reasons, I believed him too. The problem is that hindsight is always a good teacher.
As an amateur football pundit, I could be excused but if a professional makes a call to sell a supposedly fringe player who later turns out to stand on the same “podium” with greats like Messi and Ronaldo (even if it is just in football analysis), carries a big team on his shoulders and becomes the PFA Player of the Year; then we are justified to question the judgement of that professional.
For Kelvin, the case was different. I remember watching him, playing for ChelseaFC against Hull-City in the first match of that season and I thought he did okay. I even thought he was going to be a very good player for us. Then things went south for him and Mou thought he was not hardworking enough and he had to go. I knew Mou was wrong but I had (and still do) great respect for his judgement that I doubted my own intuition. It turned out that even the “greats” get it wrong sometimes; just take a look at what Kelvin De Bruyne has achieved in the same league where a great manager made a call that he did not belong.
For Lukaku, the jury is still out. But imagine that a player YOU sold for $28m about 3 years ago, you had to really compete to get that same player back for over $80m with add-ons, then you can understand the magnitude of that judgement call.
There are legitimate questions to be asked here. As a ChelseaFC fan, I know that the club lost huge amount of monies by selling those players early. These are some of the situations in life where you hoped you had the power to literally foresee the future. Could the players have been sent on 2-year loans like Christensen?
Was it the rejection that spurred them to move to the next gear of the abilities or was it about “a point to prove”? Was the coach just too impatient that he was blinded by his desires to “win at all cost”? What role did the “win at all cost” attitude at ChelseaFC contribute to this loss of potential future revenue? Or was the coach just right because the players were just not ready to blossom at that period in their careers?
There are so many answers we won’t and can’t get because time has moved on. It’s easy to speculate what should have or could have been. Whatsoever happens will never change the status of Mou or the things he has achieved for ChelseaFC and Football in general. But for mere mortals like me, it’s a teachable moment that we should ensure not to dwell on the mistakes of the past, make bold calls and move on from there. Even the “greats” make mistakes.
Considering how Mou has moved on from the supposedly wrong calls, we all can learn vital life’s lessons from it. Remember: fortune favours the brave. In life, if we are bold and we approach life bravely without second guessing ourselves, we might make some mistakes and wrong calls along the way but in the end, we will be vindicated.
We can allow our mistakes to determine our future or dwell on the magnitude of the “right” calls we have made which have turned out good. If I were to write about Mou’s right calls, then they surely won’t be three; as a die-hard ChelseaFC fan, I will say it will be in the region of fifty (lol). From Drogba, Costa, Ballack, Cole, Robben, Cech, Fabregas, Carvalho, Essien to many other decisions on the field that have won us titles. I will even add Lampard and Terry to it.
The moral of this story: even the “greats” make mistakes, you will make yours but don’t dwell on it, move on. Don’t be defined by your mistakes but by the right calls you made. Be bold, make big calls; if there is too much focus on posterity, you might miss the present opportunities.