José Mourinho, ‘The Special One’, is among the elite few in world football, winning in every country in which he has managed. Having navigated Roma to their second major European final in as many years, rumours of Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in the Portuguese have begun to swirl.
There is no doubt Mourinho is a serial winner, but he is hardly conventional, from bombastic celebrations to unforgettable interviews, José is quite simply box office. He has never managed in France, and PSG are desperate for the elusive Champions League trophy. It couldn’t happen… could it?
Join me for a wild story of the (completely fictional) 2023/24 season in Paris with José Mourinho at the helm. This is the tale about what would happen if José Mourinho Joined PSG.
José has in the past two months, won the Europa League with Roma, toppling the kings of the competition, Sevilla, and taken up a new role as PSG manager. The job’s previous holder, Christophe Galtier has taken up the vacant Tottenham Hotspur managerial role.
José has overseen a minor overhaul of the PSG squad in this time too, with Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr departing to Barcelona and Chelsea respectively. Paulo Dybala has joined the Parisians, following his Roma boss. Hoping to supplement some of the creative genius his Argentinian colleague produced for the club. There is seldom a player that suits José Mourinho in world football more than Rodrigo De Paul, brought in from Atletico Madrid, it is hoped he will add more passion and desire to the PSG midfield.
The final addition made by José himself is Victor Oshimen, an incredible €150 million splashed to sign the Nigerian. Mourinho felt his quality as he scored in both Serie A games against Roma the season prior. In addition, Milan Škriniar joins PSG on a free transfer agreed upon before José joined. The only other deal done was a one-year extension handed to Sergio Ramos.
PSG are clear and obvious favourites in Ligue 1, as is usual for the club, but that is not their main goal. It is clear with the backing he received, the goal this season is Champions League glory.
PSG have started the season well, comfortably beating Reims, Montpellier, and Strasbourg, their only blip being a draw away to Lyon. During which Sergio Ramos saw red for a push on the linesman in the 23rd minute.
The Champions League draw puts PSG in a group with Manchester United, Celtic, and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The only remaining group-stage game in the Champions League for PSG is Manchester United at Old Trafford. The game decides who goes through top of the group.
The game starts at a breakneck pace, with the Manchester club immediately on top, Antony opens the scoring after a cross from Luke Shaw is deflected to the edge of the box. PSG defend valiantly but are not without threat. Kylian Mbappé is the most dangerous counter-attacking player in the world and Man United have been forced into using Victor Lindelöf to deal with the French forward. He cannot match him for pace or physicality and only a goal-line clearance has kept him out. The game remains 1-0 at halftime.
The second half starts in a similar way to the first. However, the game takes a turn in the 65th minute. As Man United advance the ball toward the Stretford End, Luke Shaw approaches the halfway line on the left flank. José Mourinho sees his opportunity to change the game, and he takes it. He shouts and jeers at Shaw on the touch-line. The Englishman aims a shove at José and is instantly swarmed by both teams and coaching staff. Once the ensuing brawl calms, Shaw is sent off and Mourinho booked (as is Rodrigo de Paul for his over-the-top defence of his coach).
The game has, as intended, turned on its head. Man United have lost any control they had.
It takes only five minutes for PSG to net an equalizer through Dybala. Then, in the 87th minute Old Trafford is silenced by Kylian Mbappé. Slotting home from a through ball in behind a scattered defence. José Mourinho is booed off the pitch by the Old Trafford faithful but, he has topped the Champions League group.
PSG top Ligue 1, as expected, although Monaco are holding out some hope. Being only six points behind at the halfway point of the season. The Champions League draw is in for the round of 16, and the French side have drawn Bayer Leverkusen. There was no business to be done in the transfer window. José is happy with how his squad is handling his management. In other news, Mauricio Pochettino is sacked as Chelsea manager after only six months in the role. Ashley Cole is the favourite to take over as an interim.
Victor Oshimen singlehandedly destroys Leverkusen over two legs, scoring four goals across the two games. PSG beat the Germans 5-1 on aggregate. After the home leg, a number of the PSG players are seen celebrating into the early hours. Somehow draining a famous Parisian nightclub of most of its alcohol. Paulo Dybala arrives at training the next day with a shaven head, it’s unknown if the two situations are related.
PSG will play Atlético Madrid in the Champions League Quarter-final.
José Mourinho is getting attention around the football world for how well PSG have been playing this season so far. Their ability to be comfortable on the ball but also bypass the midfield to Oshimen makes them a very tough side to predict. Add to that the counter-attacking monster Mbappé has been moulded into and you have quite the side. The Paris club are shoe-ins to win the league, having brushed off competition from Monaco. They now face Atlético in the Champions League quarters.
The first leg is taking place in the Spanish capital and is a truly bizarre game where neither team seemed at all bothered with attacking the other. As if they are unaware the tie had to have a winner.
The game does pick up in the second half and PSG have the better of the chances by the time the full-time whistle blows. The game ends 0-0.
The second leg follows a similar pattern, with one major difference. Sergio Ramos. As if channelling his time at Real Madrid, the Spaniard scores two second-half headers. Destroying any Atlético hopes of another European semi-final.
PSG will play Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Ligue 1 is in the hands of PSG once more. José lifts his ninth league title, across five countries. All attention has turned to the Champions League. The first leg of the tie is in Liverpool. The Merseyside team are third in the Premier League, saving their best performances for Europe. Worse yet, Victor Oshimen is injured, and cannot participate in the first leg.
PSG produce one of the greatest defensive performances in the Champions League era. They absorb 27 shots from Liverpool during the game but do not concede. Gianluigi Donnarumma is the hero, saving a record-breaking 13 attempts.
The only blip in the PSG performance happens in the 62nd minute. José takes Mbappé off to help hold onto the clean sheet. The Frenchman is irate, feeling he was the only chance to break the deadlock. He refuses to acknowledge Mourinho and launches a water bottle into the dugout. Eventually, the game ends 0-0.
Due to his antics in the first leg, Mbappé drops to the bench as Liverpool visit Paris.
PSG are especially poor in the first half of the second leg. Although, by some miracle, they still don’t concede. José feels the first half has been punishment enough for Mbappé, and brings him on at the break.
His impact is like a rocket being fired onto the pitch.
The Paris-born forward scores the only goal of the tie, sending PSG into the Champions League final. In the subsequent hysteria, José ends up in the stands, celebrating with the fans. Jürgen Klopp blames the loss on the floodlights being brighter than usual.
José Mourinho has been here before. The biggest game in European football. Only Barcelona stand in his way, Xavi Hernández’s team reaching his first European final as a manager. Both teams have won their respective leagues. Messi is looking to win a fifth Champions League, having already broken the record for goals in the competition during this season.
PSG are set up to absorb the Barcelona pressure in the first half. Allowing the Catalans to have the ball in defence, but applying pressure as they reach the final third. The tactic pays off early, with Paulo Dybala netting a deflected effort from the edge of the area. Barcelona continue to push until the whistle blows but without avail. The game remains 1-0 at halftime.
Xavi has encouraged Barcelona to continue moving the PSG defence from side to side, knowing their excellence on the ball will prevail. Shortly after the break, this comes to a head, and Robert Lewandowski fires into the net.
Sergio Ramos knows he should have done more to prevent the cross that caused the subsequent goal. He spends the next ten minutes markedly closer to his attacker. But his attentiveness is not rewarded. A sorely mistimed tackle results in his second yellow and an early bath. The Spaniard is brought to tears as he leaves the pitch. He has missed his chance to win the Champions League in his last game, and he has let down his boss.
Barcelona double down in attack. They feel that they can dominate with the extra man they now possess. Moreover, PSG are rattled, Ramos was the main leader on the pitch.
Despite all of this, PSG hold on into extra time. The defensive steel José has brought to the team is paying off.
The pattern of the second half continues, albeit much slower as players cramp up. However, PSG have gotten their counterattack working. Mbappé has a good chance saved, but he looks absolutely spent. He has been uncharacteristically astute defensively.
Unless Barcelona can find a way to break through the PSG defense, penalties will be on the agenda. However, it doesn’t take long for Messi to break Paris hearts. The ethereal Argentinian curls an effort into the bottom corner with a minute to play.
PSG players and José Mourinho fall to their knees simultaneously.
Barcelona and Messi have won the Champions League final.
The PSG loss in the final, and the events thereafter rocked the world of football. It was reported that Nasser Al-Khelaïfi stormed the dressing room after the game. He berated the players for losing concentration when it mattered most.
Shortly after this, José Mourinho resigned as PSG manager, suggesting a rift with the club’s owners.
Cristiano Ronaldo retired from football the day after the final, he suggested the proximity of the two events was a coincidence.
Despite the chaos at the club after the final, the fact remains, PSG remain without the Champions League. Will they ever win the trophy or are they doomed to fail?
What do you think would happen if José Mourinho took over as PSG manager for the 2023/24 season? Let me know in the comments!
Hi, I’m Jamie!
I am a professional illustrator and have also joined the team as a writer.