Outspoken football manager José Mourinho is fronting a Portuguese government campaign on behalf of its national cork association.

The controversial Portuguese coach, who manages UK football club Chelsea, was chosen by the National Cork Society (Apcor) because of his ‘sophistication and appeal’.

The production of cork as a bottle-stopper for the wine industry is big business in Portugal, which produces around half of the world’s corks. However the sector has been dented by the increasing popularity of different types of closure among producers.

The news of Mourinho’s sponsorship and the government push comes only a few days after the creation of the International Screwcap Initiative aimed at increasing producer-awareness of the alternative closure

‘He was chosen because he’s Portuguese, he’s sophisticated and he appeals to the wine consumer,’ said a spokeswoman for Apcor.

Mourinho will appear on the campaign in March 2006. A man who reportedly hates to have his picture taken, all images used by Apcor were taken by the manager’s personal photographer.

It is not yet known in what context the football manager will appear in the advertisements.

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Written by Ciara Earles