Bellingham and Vinicius, the most decisive players in the Champions League by José Mourinho

Bellingham and Vinicius, the most decisive players in the Champions League by José Mourinho

Pulse Sports Team 18:25 - 31.05.2024

Part of an exclusive series of articles from José Mourinho, brought to you by

We are just a few minutes away from another final of what is perhaps the world's most important club competition, the Champions League, which is eagerly and passionately followed by millions of spectators. 

Real Madrid, a chronic finalist, and Borussia Dortmund will clash on a historic stage, Wembley.

Mourinho rues absence of English teams in Wembley final

For me, the biggest disappointment of this Champions League is the absence in London of a team from one of the richest and strongest leagues in football, where there are huge investments - the English Premier League. 

In fact, no team has even reached the semi-finals. It's truly astonishing, considering the millions of pounds the clubs have invested in their professional staff. 

But this isn't the only case - in Paris, another millionaire project, with millions injected over a dozen years ago, still hasn't won the trophy either.  

Ancelotti has Bellingham and Vinicius to thank for UCL run

It was with difficulty that Real Madrid managed to reach the final this season, eliminating Bayern Munich thanks to excellent performances from two young players, the English Jude Bellingham, who is only 20, and the Brazilian Vinicius Júnior, who at 23 is already an established figure. 

Ancelotti can be grateful to these two "stars" who, for me, were also the most decisive players in the whole competition.

‘I’ll be back’ - José Mourinho

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'I won't be there for these final stages, not because I've been eliminated before, but because I've been "eliminated" by someone who has little knowledge of football'.

However, I have to admit that Borussia Dortmund had some merit in making it to the final, because the way they lost the championship last year and their poor performance in the Bundesliga this season were indications of a horrible year for the Germans. 

Their humility and willingness to overcome limitations, even tactically, meant that they were able to eliminate the chronic Atletico de Madrid, who have almost always been in the final stages of the competition but have never won it, and the so-called "super" PSG who, once again, have failed to achieve their biggest goal - winning the Champions League - because being champion in France is too easy for them - and their inability to be a real team is no surprise either.

Champions League can be won before the final

My two Champions Leagues were won before the finals. They were won because of the journey we made, because of the way we strengthened ourselves by eliminating very strong teams, because of the continuous growth and evolution we had in two years of work, combined with a growing belief and a remarkable tactical maturity.  

Thanks to this and to two groups of players/men, the finals ended up being nothing more than the confirmation of what I've said. The results, 3-0 with FC Porto against Monaco, and 2-0 with Inter against Bayern Munich, leave no doubt as to the rightness of the triumphs.

However, while these were obviously a source of satisfaction, the semi-finals that were lost, after extra time, in penalty shoot-outs, were very hard to take in, also because my teams, Chelsea and Real Madrid, were teams that deserved to win, as they would in subsequent seasons. 

And I drew one conclusion from them: penalties aren't just about luck, they're about talent, preparation and concentration. When three of the best penalty takers in the world - Ronaldo, Kaka and Sergio Ramos - miss, all theories fall apart.