Shakespeare and the Modern Football Circus

I intend this to become a regular feature on this blog and hope it will find a lot of fans out there (no matter whether originally from the football camp or from the Shakespeare camp).

The basic idea is to compare personalities from the modern football world to Shakespearean characters because they do not seem to be too different and the first example shall be my personal silver fox obsession, José Mourinho (Real Madrid’s coach).


Believe it or not: If José Mourinho would have been born in ancient Rome, he would definitely have been just as successful as Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. The first thing, they have in common seems to be a severe obsession with agricultural issues as both of them pay close attention to the ground they are fighting on.

“On fair ground I could beat forty of them.” (Coriolanus)

“We have no technical players, so we need a potato field. We will play in a potato field.” (José Mourinho)

And this is by far not their only common feature. Just as Shakespeare’s ruthless Roman war-machine Coriolanus, José Mourinho is prepared for war… and he isn’t afraid to show it:

“You look at my haircut and you can see that. I’m ready for the war.” (José Mourinho)

“I do beseech you. By all the battles wherein we have fought, by th’blood we have shed together, by th’vows we have made to endure friends, that you directly set me against Aufidius.” (Coriolanus)

“If I play them in the Champions League, I want to go there and kill them. – That’s my message.” (José Mourinho)

And just like any great hero, they both suffer from severe hybris:

“If I wanted to have an easy job, I would have stayed at Porto. – Beautiful blue chair, the Champions League Trophy, God… and after God: me!” (José Mourinho)

“And were I anything than what I am, I would wish me only he.” (Coriolanus)

So here’s Coriolanus in a nutshell: The successful Roman warrior Coriolanus is forced to face the Roman public (which he thinks to be fairly ignorant) and when they decide to vote against him, he turns his back on Rome and joins the dark side, so to say. I guess, Mourinho knows exactly how Coriolanus must have felt back then:

“I don’t like being the villain – but the good ones are normally losers.” (José Mourinho)

But, well, it had to happen, right? Coriolanus is stopped by his mommy… Yes, that’s right. Volumina, Coriolanus’s mother, is one of the stronger female figures in Shakespeare and her passionate pleading stops her son’s actions against Rome.

Guess, Mourinho knows exactly how Coriolanus felt back then as well:

“It all depends on my wife. If I am at home, yes, I will see it. But maybe my wife would like to go somewhere. I would like to see it. I like to see football and it is a big game. But maybe I will have no permission.” (José Mourinho)

Seems, there’s a strong woman behind every Special One.