Milan (AFP) – Jose Mourinho took just two weeks to bounce back after his sacking from Tottenham Hotspur with a surprise appointment on Tuesday Roma coach on a three-year deal from next season.
His departure from Spurs marked the first time since the early years of his managerial career in Portugal that the self-declared ‘Special One’ left a club without winning any silverware.
The outspoken 58-year-old returns to Italy, where he left as a hero back in 2010 after leading Inter Milan to the treble — Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia.
Mourinho will replace fellow Portuguese Paulo Fonseca who leaves the capital side at the end of the current campaign with the team seventh in Serie A with four games to play.
“The incredible passion of the Roma fans convinced me to accept the job and I cannot wait to start next season,” Mourinho said in a statement.
“It is the same ambition and drive that has always motivated me and together we want to build a winning project over the upcoming years.
“After meetings with the ownership I immediately understood the full extent of their ambitions for AS Roma.
“It is the same ambition and drive that has always motivated me and together we want to build a winning project over the upcoming years.”
Mourinho will lock horns again with great rival Antonio Conte, who at the weekend ended Juventus’ nine-year reign as Italian champions by winning Inter’s first Serie A title since Mourinho’s time in Milan.
“We are thrilled and delighted to welcome Jose Mourinho into the AS Roma family,” the club’s American owner Dan Friedkin said.
“A great champion who has won trophies at every level, Jose will provide tremendous leadership and experience to our ambitious project.
“The appointment of Jose is a huge step in building a long-term and consistent winning culture throughout the club.”
Mourinho has claimed 25 major trophies in his career to date and joins a club that hasn’t won Serie A since 2001.
As well as his triumphs with Inter he won the Champions League with Porto in 2004, three Premier League titles with Chelsea and La Liga with Real Madrid in 2012.
He also led Manchester United to the Europa League in 2017.
– ‘One of the greatest’ –
Mourinho is one of only three managers to have won the Champions League with two different clubs, a feat he has also repeated in the Europa League.
“When Jose became available, we immediately jumped at the chance to speak with one of the greatest managers of all time,” said Roma general manager Tiago Pinto.
“We were blown away by Jose’s desire to win and his passion for the game: no matter how many trophies he has won, his primary focus is always on the next one. He possesses the knowledge, experience and leadership to compete at all levels.”
Mourinho arrived at Spurs 17 months ago with a point to prove after his reputation was tarnished during a two-year spell in charge of Manchester United.
While he claimed three trophies at Old Trafford, including the 2017 Europa League, the end came with a dismal run of results and high-profile disagreements with players.
Much the same dynamic had played out in previous spells at Chelsea and Real Madrid, marked also by running feuds with opposition managers and the press, and a surly unwillingness to admit any shortcomings.
Despite periods of optimism this season at Tottenham, including beating United 6-1 at Old Trafford and briefly topping the Premier League table, a barren 2021 has seen the team repeatedly squander winning positions.
– Champions League ambitions –
Earlier Roma confirmed that Fonseca would leave after two years with the three-time Italian champions who are trophyless since 2008.
Fonseca, 48, joined the club in 2019 with the option for a third year if the club reached the Champions League next season.
The club finished fifth in Serie A last campaign and are currently seventh, nine points behind city rivals Lazio who sit sixth and have a game in hand.
Roma trail Mourinho’s former club Manchester United 6-2 going into Thursday’s second leg of their Europa League semi-final in the Italian capital.
Fonseca replaced Claudio Ranieri, who had a brief spell as coach after Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked in January 2019.
Di Francesco had guided the club to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018.
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