‘I was dying… I’m serious’: Jose Mourinho lifts lid on infamous laundry basket incident for first time ever – and admits he nearly SUFFOCATED as UEFA staff tried to find him
- Jose Mourinho has finally opened up about his infamous laundry basket episode
- The former Chelsea boss was banned from the Bayern clash back in 2005
- However, the Portuguese remained in the dressing room to deliver his team talks
- He has admitted that he escaped undetected thanks to the help of the kit man
- Mourinho says he almost died due to the laundry hamper being sealed shut
Jose Mourinho has, for the first time, opened up about his role in defying a UEFA ban by admitting he did hide in a laundry basket to escape detection by officials during Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich in 2005.
The infamous incident took place during the first-leg of that season’s Champions League quarter-final, with the Portuguese boss having received a two-game stadium ban for his behaviour during the previous round against Barcelona.
The story goes that Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge, long before any UEFA officials arrived for the evening kick-off, and took his place in the Chelsea dressing room.
Jose Mourinho admitted he was wheeled out of Stamfrod Bridge in a laundry basket in 2005
The 55-year-old revealed that he nearly choked as he tried to evade attentions of UEFA officials
His entire story made the beIN Sports panel of Andy Gray and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink laugh
There he stayed, delivering his pre-match and half-time team talks. During the match itself, he watched on a monitor and was in constant contact with Rui Faria for the first half, his assistant wearing an ear piece which was hidden under an ill-fitting beanie.
Rumbled at the break, when members of the media alerted UEFA officials to Faria’s constant scratching of his ear, goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro became the messenger, heading down the tunnel and emerging back with a piece of paper every time, which was passed among the backroom staff.
It just so happened every time he re-emerged, it appeared to coincide with a Chelsea substitute.
Legend had it that the Chelsea manager was then snuck out the ground via a laundry basket 10 minutes before full-time, hiding under a mound of unwashed kit in a bid to escape and return to the leisure centre where he was supposed to have been all evening.
This had never been confirmed, but on Saturday evening, nearly 14 years after the events, Mourinho admitted the story was, indeed, all true.
Rui Faria wore a beanie hat during the clash with Bayern to hide the ear piece he was wearing
It is the one and only time Mourinho’s assistant has ever been seen wearing a hat in the dugout
He was seen touching his ear several times in the first half as he communicated with Mourinho
Asked during an appearance on beIN Sports whether he had in fact been in the laundry basket to escape, he replied: ‘Yes, yes I was.’
‘The fundamental thing of it is: Chelsea v Bayern Munich, a big match in the Champions League. I need to be with my players… and I did it, yeah.’
‘Let me tell the story. You know Stewart Bannister, the Chelsea kit man. Skinny Stewart. I go to the dressing room during the day, so I was there.
‘I’m there since midday, and the game is seven o’clock. I just want to be in the dressing room when the players arrive. So I go there, nobody sees me. The problem was to leave after.
‘Stewart put me in the basket. The metal one, the hard one. Puts me in there. I go in there with a little bit open, so I could breathe, but when Stewart is taking that outside the dressing room, outside the stadium, the UEFA guys are there desperate to find me.
‘So when I was there, Stewart closed the box. I couldn’t breathe. When he opened the box, I was dying. I’m serious. I was close to dying. I’m serious, I promise. It’s true, it’s true.’
Members of the media alerted UEFA officials to the odd behaviour, as they intervened
In the second half, goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro (right) was the go between
Mourinho’s retelling of the events had the panel of Andy Gray, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Richard Keys in stitches. Whether UEFA or Bayern Munich find the revelation funny is another issue entirely.
Mourinho had kept beIN Sports viewers entertained all evening during his appearance as a pundit for Chelsea 2-0 defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates.
His insight was so compelling that the broadcasters even cut to a split screen midway through the second-half to continue Mourinho’s conversations on his recent trials and tribulations and Manchester United.
It was Mourinho’s most infamous episode, but one that had not bee confirmed before now
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