The Secret Diary of André Villas-Boas Pt. IV

Posted on January 30, 2012 by


The smooth, cool January sun caressed my face like a feather as I sat contented on my patio, serenely sipping a rich, nourishing espresso. The Independent‘s latest Olympics exposé sat unopened in front of me, dutifully awaiting my attention.

But my thoughts were already divided ‘twixt twin sources of comfort. On the lawn, my radiant wife Joana was enjoying an impromptu and entirely uncompetitive game of badminton with Cindy from next door (with whom we have a thoroughly continental open-door policy, which rarely – if ever – rankles). Dear JoJo (who possessed, by the way, a far superior racquet technique) occasionally cast, between strokes, playfully lustful glances in my direction, making it very clear to me that she was definitely madly in love with me.

But my mind’s true focus was, I admit, in Swansea. As a means of pre-match preparation, I have taken to a method of opposition-coach mind-tapping introduced to me by José Mourinho (and also a bit by Avram Grant) which involves a trance-like state of meditation. I tuned very successfully into the thoughts of Mick McCarthy some months ago, and since then it has been part of my modus operandi (Latin).

Brendan Rodgers would prove more difficult (not least because McCarthy’s droning brainwaves operate on several mental frequencies and can be difficult to avoid. Fortunately the message is always “4-4-2, up and at ’em,” which is easy enough to distinguish from Rodgers, thus reducing the potential for mishaps).

Despite having only met fleetingly on one or two occasions, Rodgers and I share a deep, spiritual relationship. It is, of course, entirely platonic, yet indisputably sensual. Back in September (lo’, that blust’ry month seems but an age away), after I had defeated his side comfortably, he sent me a BBM which read, simply, “Thank you x”. At the time, I thought it curious, but I have since come to appreciate his gracious taciturnity. I love his quiet, graceful movement, like the slow melting of a high-quality pâté. We also have complimentary Myers-Briggs personality types.

Anyway, through thirty or forty minutes of sheer concentration I arrived into Rodgers’ subconscious just as he was settling down for lunch (one pork chop, one lamb chop), so I naturally left him in peace with a view to trying again later.

When I returned to reality, the boys came bounding through the French windows, gambolling gleefully through the garden to sit at my feet.

“Ah, my dear boys. How are my favourite Spaniards today?” I asked, ruffling Juan Mata’s hair. He gazed up at me warmly, as if to say “I love you so much and owe you everything.”

“Today has been beautiful, André” replied the other in his Iberian-scouse accent, rearranging his medium-long blonde-highlighted hair (this one’s Fernando Torres, by the way). “We spent this morning squeezing lemons to make lemonade, but we realised we didn’t have any fizz, and oh! we laughed so much when we realised!”

“Si!” Juan nodded, giggling. “And then we had a good-natured water-fight in your wet room. With water pistols.”

“A water fight!” I exclaimed, pretending to be slightly angry even though I was actually hardly angry at all. “I hope you tidied away the towels first. Joana hates wet towels. Hates them.”

They nodded in unison.

“Well I’m glad you’re enjoying your live-in motivational rehabilitation anyway, Fernando.”

“Si, how can I ever repay you?” he replied, pleadingly. I said nothing, but arranged my face into an expression which said: “you never have to, dear boy.”

“Anyway, I hope you two have been keeping an eye on Ramires in the spare room,” I said with my mouth. “Poor boy, laid-up injured like that. It’s at times like this that he needs us most.”

“Si, is OK,” wee Mata replied, “he has been using your fibre-optic to stream Fresh Meat on 4OD. But he want for you to go and read to him, like you used to.”


“O! Trusted Ramires! How, upon observing your miserable languishing, the pain doth seem truly to affect me also.” I sighed lovingly as I looked down on the poor boy, half asleep, yet always alert like a roe deer in long grass. As I gazed into his wise, youthful eyes we could hear the boys’ gleeful exclamations downstairs as Joana presented them with slices of chopped-up apple. We both chuckled, but Ramires’ mirth gave way to a pained coughing fit. When he recovered, a single pearly tear-drop rolled slowly, silently down his cheek.

“Am I,” he coughed again, wiping the dew from his face, “going to die?”

“Not if I can help it,” I said. Then I repeated it. “Not if I can help it.”

“Hold me,” he beseeched. I pressed pause on Fresh Meat, sat on the bed and took him in my arms, drifting to sleep in concert with the warm, sweet smell of cinnamon bread which was drifting up from the kitchen.

I awoke some time later to the lingering smell of pâté, with visions of midget-metronomes and echoes of a soft difficult-to-place-but-definitely-Northern-Irish accent, along with an overwhelming sense of mental violation. “Curses!” I yelled. “I let my guard down for but one second!”

“Rodgers?” asked Ramires. “He got in?”

I looked back at him, full of regret, and nodded. “I fear it is so.”


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