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Mourinho Dancing on Ice – at last, He’s Served up Something Watchable

Mourinho Dancing on Ice – at last, He’s Served up Something Watchable

Thursday, 14 February, 2019 - 09:30
Jose Mourinho, center, falls as he drops the puck to start a Continental hockey league match in Balashikha. (AFP)
London – Marina Hyde
After so many years of refusing to give the public what they want, it’s great to see José Mourinho finally serving up something highly watchable. On February 4, the erstwhile Manchester United manager staged a spectacular pratfall at an ice hockey game in Russia. A day later, he was being handed a prison sentence. (Suspended, agonizingly, but still.)

Barely a week after Gemma Collins made her ice‑fall in ITV’s Dancing on Ice, the Portuguese supplanted The Only Way is Essex star as the most hilariously viral rink‑based tumble of 2019.

By now you are likely to have played the unfortunate clip a number of times; I myself am responsible for only seven or eight thousand of its eleventy million views. If you do require a recap of the action, Mourinho sauntered down a red carpet to drop the puck at the start of the KHL match between Avangard and SKA. Having done so, he turned tail, only for the carpet to sabotage his dignity by rumpling and tipping him on to his arse.

What can it portend? According to one Russian habitué, the city of Balashika is well known for its noxious garbage fumes – and Mourinho’s decision to stink it out further suggests he may now be irrevocably trapped in a series of sledgehammer metaphors. The rug pulled itself out from under his feet.

There is no need to fully grasp why Mourinho accepted the invitation to drop the puck, beyond one’s generalized sense there would have been money involved, and that his destiny will at some point logically entwine itself with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Had Mourinho been born under other stars, you can quite see him having been given a mining concession in the Urals or whatever, out of which he would have built something grim and unhappy, but lucrative. Certainly, José’s connection to the game of football is beginning to feel increasingly incidental. Long ago he seemed something more rounded, but Mourinho is now one of that class of people who seem to be eternally seeking an answer to the question: how much money is enough? Depending on where he next ends up, it could all go rather Sven‑Göran Eriksson rather quickly.

Which brings us to what was the week’s second Mourinho highlight. As the Guardian headline put it: “José Mourinho accepts prison sentence for tax fraud but will not serve time.” During an appearance at Madrid’s provincial court, the former Real Madrid manager confirmed a plea deal over charges that he had defrauded the Spanish tax authorities of €3.3m, by failing to declare revenues from image rights in 2011 and 2012.

Ah, the old image rights fraud. Like taking manscaping too far, it seems to be one of the rites of passage of top‑flight Spanish football. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have both dodged tax in this way, along with numerous lesser stars, and Mourinho’s admission to this club is arguably the highest-achieving company he’s been in for a quite some time.

On the one hand, then, it feels prudent of Mourinho to face up to what he’d done. He is not temperamentally suited to a life on the run, even though as a younger man he once engineered his Yorkshire terrier’s flight from justice. (Little Leya managed to evade the pursuit of various police and welfare officers who had attended his London address. The dog was later revealed to have surfaced in Portugal.)

On the other hand, though, it’s a shame Mourinho dodged the chance to play Spanish prisoner and serve a bit of time. As his Russian wipeout shows, he is clearly drawn to novelty appearances, and pulling a Mean Machine and managing the lags’ side might have been the redemptive storyline his career desperately needs.

On Monday, it was revealed that Mourinho will host a football show on RT providing coverage of the Champions League.

The role marks a return to Russian television for Mourinho, who worked with the Moscow-based network during last summer’s World Cup in the country.

The Guardian Sport

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