Mourinho Making Management Return at Roma with Project for Next Season

It has been more than a decade since Jose Mourinho last managed in Italy, but he returns to Serie A next season with AS Roma after it was revealed fellow Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca would not have his contract renewed.

“The Special One” is still regarded as very special indeed in Italian football. He guided Inter Milan to a historic Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League treble in 2010 (Via, then he left for Real Madrid on the crest of that wave. Three years at the Bernabeu changed Mourinho. The swagger and arrogance, which he backed up in spades during his first spell at Chelsea, were replaced by a more middle-aged agitated demeanour.

His second spell at Stamford Bridge brought another Premier League title but ended acrimoniously. With Manchester United, Mourinho won a fourth League Cup and the Europa League. His most recent job at Tottenham Hotspur finished with the sack just days before a cup final and during the immediate aftermath of the ill-fated European Super League reveal. He will have also noted that his old club Chelsea are doing well without him as Thomas Tuchel guiding them to a Champions League final where they were classed as underdogs in the football betting, even though opponents Manchester City were in their first final so that was something the Blues took advantage of.

What is he getting himself into?

Roma represents a very different challenge for Jose Mourinho. They haven’t won Serie A in 20 years and the last trophy lifted by the Giallorossi was retaining the Coppa Italia in 2008, so expectations aren’t high. Immediate pressure being off Mourinho for once might make for a refreshing change.

Everything points to the outgoing Paulo Fonseca leaving Roma after failing to make the top six for only the second time since 2005. To rub salt in the wounds, local rivals Lazio finished above them in consecutive seasons. Mourinho joins the club at what looks a relatively low ebb.

Antonio Conte, his permanent successor at Chelsea the second time, has just guided Inter to the Scudetto, ending almost a decade of dominance by Juventus. Serie A may have a more open look to its domestic league for the first time in a long while as a result.

Mourinho inherits a Roma squad where senior backup keepers Simone Farelli and Antonio Mirante join Brazilian defensive duo Juan Jesus and Bruno Peres as out of contract in the Eternal City. Former Spurs loanee and Spanish stopper Pau Lopez should come back in goal next season following a shoulder injury. In defense, Mourinho has a couple of familiar faces from former jobs.

Mourinho clearly isn’t coming back to Italy just to relive past glories. This is very much a project that involves developing players, so there won’t be the kind of bankrolling transfers adding to the roster at his disposal he enjoyed when working for Roman Abramovich at Chelsea or Florentino Perez in Madrid.

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