The former Chelsea boss gives a fascinating and personal insight into Sir Bobby’s character, reflecting on the man who became his mentor during his time at Barcelona over 20 years ago.
Here’s what he’s had to say in a brilliant tribute to the late great Sir Bobby Robson in an exclusive chat with Sky Sports:
“What did he give me? I couldn’t describe by words, and I wouldn’t go in the football direction,” he said.
“I would go more for who Mr Robson was as a man, as a person. That’s the way I prefer to remember him. There are so many football memories and so many football moments, but the ones I keep are more the ones on the personal level.
“My little baby, a month of age, and me and Mr Robson watching football on TV, and Mr Robson with my baby in his arms…
“Me having lunch with him and I could never pay once because he was always saying: ‘I have more money than you and I have less time to live than you, so with me you don’t pay for one single lunch.’ I never paid for one single lunch with Mr Robson…
“Mr Robson coming to the training ground and saying: ‘What are you going to do? What’s the training session? Because today I’m very focused on the golf match that I have after training so today you make the decisions’…
“After a defeat, Mr Robson was saying: ‘Don’t be sad, just think that in the other dressing room the other guys are jumping with happiness, so be happy for them’…
“Mr Robson doesn’t come to my memory just for tactics or training or method, he comes to me as this person.”
“It’s incredible what he means to the people and for me it’s hard to speak about him,”
“I think the most important thing in a football manager is charisma. It comes in front of everything else. Academic qualifications, football experience, football knowledge, strategies of leadership.
“You can go for an incredible number of sciences that in this moment can make a football manager better, but above everything is charisma, and if you want an example of a manager with charisma, Mr Robson is, for sure, one who comes immediately to the discussion.
“He’s a manager with charisma 50 years ago, 30 years ago, 10 years ago, in 2030. He was very, very, very charismatic.”
It’s quite telling that Mourinho remembers him as a great person and inspirational character above all else, showing how much influence he had on people’s lives both on AND off the football pitch.
10 years ago today we lost a great manager, a legend of the game and a truly special human being who inspired a generation in Sir Bobby.
His legacy now lives on through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation – a charity that’s raised £13.5m since his passing.
RIP Sir Bobby – a Newcastle United legend and a football great.
Gone but NEVER forgotten.