With confirmation coming in yesterday that Gerard Pique is indeed dating Shakira, the Barcelona defender moved into the number one spot on the "which soccer player would you most want to trade places with" list. After all, how could you not want to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, get paid millions, live in one of the world's greatest cities where it's routinely warm and sunny and at 24 years old already have been named to a UEFA and FIFA Best XI for a season, a U-19 UEFA Championship, a Copa del Rey winner's medal, two La Liga titles, a UEFA Champions League title and oh yeah, he's also won that little thing called the World Cup. Now you add in Shakira and it's not really a fair fight.
When little kids dream of what they want to be when they grow up, professional athlete is a common answer. Their thoughts are pretty simple. Who wouldn't want to get paid a ton of money and be famous for playing a game? Little do they know that there are additional perks to be a professional athlete, such as no need to follow the law, women and other less legal things, should the player choose to indulge, but the point is being a professional athlete is great and who wouldn't want to be one.?
There's a reason kids wants to be professional athletes when they grow up and don't dream of being a coach or manager, but Jose Mourinho may be the exception to the rule. As fantastic as Pique's life may sound and no matter how willing nearly everyone would be to trade places with him, it might be even better to be Mourinho.
Mourinho is the exception to the rule. It would be tough to find anyone who would rather be any manager in the entire world than they would Pique, except Mourinho. Pique enjoys living in Barcelona, but take a look at where Mourinho has lived. Since taking over as a manager at major clubs he's lived in Porto, London and Milan before taking his current job which allows him to live in Madrid. He's floated the possibility of coaching in MLS and living in New York or Los Angeles too. Not a shabby lifestyle in those cities.
Not only does Mourinho live in the best cities, but he manages the best clubs. There was Chelsea, then Inter Milan and now Real Madrid. He's been rumored to be in line to take over for Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchested United, be paid obscene amounts of money to manage Manchester City and a return to Serie A where he could manage Inter again or AC Milan or Roma or Juventus is also a possibility. If Mourinho wanted to have a shot at managing an international team there aren't many countries that wouldn't jump at the chance to have him manage their team.
Currently, Real Madrid is paying Mourinho $13.6 million per year, $4.8 million more than the highest paid defender in the entire world, John Terry. Yeah, Mourinho bests Pique in the pay category, which is good because he has an expensive wardrobe.
Why does Mourinho have his choice of teams and millions of dollars awaiting him? it all started at U.D. Leiria, where he took the club to fifth place and Purtuguese Cup Final. A year after Mourinho left Leiria, the club was relegated. A two year spell with Porto netted Mourinho two Portuguese Liga titles, a Portuguese Cup, a UEFA Cup and maybe most impressive in his entire coaching career, Mourinho won the UEFA Champions League with Porto. Next up for Mourinho was Chelsea where he won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and the FA Cup in three full seasons. Finally, Mourinho found himself in charge of Inter Milan, where he won Serie A in his first season and then the treble in his second year by taking Serie A, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League. Yes, he's really that good.
Most of all, Mourinho has a longer career ahead of him than Pique. At 24 years old, Pique has maybe 10 elite years left in him as a player. At 48 years old, Mourinho has a comfortable 20 years and possibly even more as an elite manager. Best of all, Mourinho doesn't have to deal with injuries and the physical pounding of being a player like Pique either. It is possible that Pique could suffer an unfortunate injury this weekend and he will never be the same. Unless Mourinho celebrates a goal doing the penguin dance in front of Nigel de Jong, he probably doesn't have to worry about a career ending slide tackle. Pique will see his skills erode at some point and his value decline, but it will be a long time before Mourinho isn't one of the sport's most brilliant men.
If you asked someone if they would like to be Pique, 99% of people would jump at the opportunity. Everyone wants to be a player, but does anyone dream of being a manager? It's rare, but if you can be Mourinho, you'd have to think twice...or thrice.