Mourinho once told duo to get sent off and was punished by UEFA

Jose Mourinho interrupted by Roma stars celebrating Conference win

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Jose Mourinho has an extensive highlight reel from his stints managing some of the top clubs in Europe. One of his most infamous nights, however, came in the 2010/11 Champions League when two mysterious red cards appeared to benefit Real Madrid in the later rounds of the competition. 

With his Los Blancos side 4-0 up against fellow European giants Ajax and cruising through from Group G, Mourinho sought to take action ahead of a dead-rubber group finale against French side Auxerre.

Sitting comfortably with a four-goal buffer over his Dutch opponents, the Portuguese brought key players Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos on from the bench with the clear instruction to get sent off. Both players were teetering on thin ice due to yellow cards received earlier in the group stage.

A sending off would therefore allow them to serve a one-match suspension against Auxerre and have a clean slate for the all-important knockout rounds. 

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Sure enough, Alonso got the job done in efficient fashion with his second booking dished out for time wasting. Ramos then took it a step further by volunteering for goal-kick responsibility and taking an age to put the ball back in play. 

Unsurprisingly, referee Craig Thompson did what was expected and gave the Spaniard his marching orders. Ramos then made it even more obvious that he was under instruction by going over to the official and shaking his hand. 

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Although Mourinho’s bold call had the desired effect, it also came with a number of detrimental side-effects for Real Madrid as they were ordered to pay a hefty fine. The self-proclaimed ‘special one’ may not have been too popular with his players, either, as both Ramos and Alonso were ordered to pay fines too. 

In spite of the crafty tricks, Mourinho would go on to face agony at the hands of bitter rivals Barcelona not once, but twice later on that season. First of all, La Blaugrana came off best over two legs in the Champions League semi-finals to dump Los Blancos out. 

Led by manager Pep Guardiola at the peak of his powers, Barca also romped to the La Liga title be a four-point margin over Real. Mourinho eventually left Madrid in 2013 to return for his second spell at Chelsea. 

After winning another Premier League title at Stamford Bridge, the 60-year-old’s stock steadily decreased from then onwards, with underwhelming spells at Manchester United and Tottenham before joining Roma in 2021. 

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