Speculation is mounting over Jose Mourinho’s next destination after the 60-year-old was sacked by Roma.
Mourinho has departed the Stadio Olimpico after two years in charge of the Giallorossi, leaving them ninth in the Serie A table. He led the club to the UEFA Conference League during his first season at the helm, while a penalty shootout defeat denied them the Europa League last term.
The era-defining coach has rarely taken a break over the past 25 years and you imagine his next job will come around sooner rather than later. We’ve taken a look at five oft-suggested destinations and everything he’s said about them.
Saudi Pro League
“Doors are always open for me in Saudi Arabia. I want to feel the development there,” Mourinho told the MBC Egypt TV channel, owned by Saudi MBC Group, back in October.
“Cristiano was the first to go there and give a different perspective immediately. The players thought at first that it was a one-man show, but they realised in the summer that everything was really changing.
“Many players, not just at the last period of their careers, but also some players at the best years of their careers, are coming. Because the competition is real, not just at domestic league, but also the AFC Champions League is very interesting.”
You don’t exactly need to read between the lines there.
“On Newcastle, I don’t have anything to say. Absolutely nothing to say,” responded Mourinho in a press conference following the club’s Saudi-led takeover in October 2021.
“The only thing I can say is that for many, many years, I worked with one of the most important figures in the history of Newcastle, Sir Bobby Robson, and so because of that I have always had a bit of an emotional connection with that city and that fanbase. But it’s nothing more than that.”
As with Manchester United back in the day, that reads an awful lot like Jose planting the seeds for a future opportunity. Eddie Howe appears safe at St. James’ Park for now, but expect murmurings to get louder now that Mourinho’s lurking in the background.
“The fact that the president of the FPF [Portuguese FA] said that I was not his first choice, but his only choice, makes me proud,” Mourinho told the press in January 2023.
“But I decided not to go. I’m here [Roma] and that’s what matters.”
Roberto Martinez has a contract with Portugal until 2026. He’s led them to Euro 2024 with a flawless record in qualifying, so you imagine he’ll remain in the post until at least the World Cup unless something drastic happens.
So Mourinho likely has to wait a few years before he gets that romantic swansong job. But he’s got enough cash, and has already had enough headaches to last a lifetime, whereby it’s not totally unthinkable that he bides his time.
He’ll be 67 come the 2030 World Cup – partly held in his native Portugal – and that sounds about right for a footballing farewell. But we’d be surprised if he doesn’t take a job or two in the meantime.
José Mourinho: "In 2012, I had a crazy job offer. Portugal wanted me to manage the national team in a part-time job, at the same time I managed Real Madrid. But being in a top club takes so much of your time, I couldn't accept the offer." pic.twitter.com/X7Y8ARHtT0
— IM🇵🇹 (@Iconic_Mourinho) November 17, 2022
“I don’t know if it’s true that Brazil wants me,” Mourinho told reporters in January. “They haven’t spoken to me. I asked my agent not to tell me anything about any contacts.”
Mourinho cropped up as an alternative to Carlo Ancelotti back in January. The Selecao have never had a European coach, and their long-running flirtation with Ancelotti was controversial – even going as far as to be criticised by Brazilian president Lula de Silva – and now the matter appears settled.
Ancelotti has committed his future to Real Madrid, Brazil sacked Fernando Diniz after some disastrous results in qualifying, and have since appointed journeyman coach Dorival Junior.
Dorival has been given a contract running until 2026, so that should be that. But Mourinho’s name might reemerge if Brazil underwhelm at the Copa America this summer.
“If you ask me do I have somebody that I would love to take over from ‘my Chelsea’ let’s say that, yes, but I have but I close my mouth,” Mourinho told Sky Sports when asked about his thoughts on the pressure Graham Potter was facing last season.
“The club reached such a level that it doesn’t matter who it’s with but Chelsea will always be Chelsea,
“Chelsea will always be big and my house will always be 200 metres away from the stadium so I want to keep listening to the sound of happiness and success. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be like that.”
Was Mourinho cryptically talking about himself? You’d imagine he’d jump at the chance of a third stint at Stamford Bridge. Right now Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t appear to be under any immediate pressure, but he might be soon if progress continues to be slow.
Todd Boehly has already gone with the sentimental, fan-service interim appointment of Frank Lampard in the past, so there’d be a certain degree of logic to bringing home the Blues’ greatest-ever manager.