Alexi Lalas: Mourinho the ‘villain’ playing the role he was born to play

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Alexi Lalas dishes on why the embattled Jose Mourinho is vital to the sport in his State of the Union Podcast.

- Hello, people. It's Alexi Lalas, and welcome to another episode of the State of the Union podcast. We're going to talk about José Mourinho. Hmm, what's going on with him? My good friend David Mosse will be along very, very shortly. But first, we start off, as we always do on the State of the Union, with my State of the Union.

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If all the world's a stage, then sports often provides a script. In this theater of sports, we love big personalities. We love larger-than-life characters. Yes, we love heroes, but we love villains even more. They command our attention, if not always our respect. We love to build them up and tear them down. And there is no bigger villain than José Mourinho.

The not-so-dirty little secret is that outspoken, brash, and controversial figures-- they sell. They drive content that, despite what we may say publicly, we all love to eat up. Just as in the political world, where many in the media secretly love having President Trump, because he's content manna from heaven, in the sports world, the media thanks their lucky stars every day that José Mourinho is still employed. He is the gift that keeps on giving.

Oh, we'll dissect and criticize and chastise people like Mourinho from our high horse, but behind our sanctimony, elitism, and hypocrisy is the quiet recognition that Mourinho is not only good for the game, he's vital to the game. He plays the role he was born to play, and his performance informs everything around him. Pep Guardiola-- he looks like a very different person and coach without the juxtaposition with Mourinho.

So as we smell blood, revel in schadenfreude, pick up our pitchforks, and look to run Mourinho out of town for throwing a fit on stage like Elton John, or playing to the cameras like a Kardashian, or baiting the audience like Johnny Rotten, let's just be careful what we wish for. Because a world without villains like José Mourinho is boring. And on any stage, being boring is the kiss of death.

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