Chelsea welcomed back fan favourite Jose Mourinho, their 'Special One', as manager for the second time on a four-year contract on Monday. By Alan Baldwin.
The Portuguese, who left Real Madrid last weekend, won the 2005 and 2006 Premier League titles in his first spell with the west London club but departed in 2007 after falling out with billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
“I am delighted to welcome Jose back to Chelsea. His continued success, drive and ambition made him the outstanding candidate,” said chief executive Ron Gourlay in a club statement.
“It is our aim to keep the club moving forward to achieve greater success in the future and Jose is our number one choice as we believe he is the right manager to do just that.
“He was and remains a hugely popular figure at the club and everyone here looks forward to working with him again.”
The news was an open secret long before Mourinho told a Spanish TV soccer show on Sunday that he hoped to take charge at Chelsea by the end of the week.
“I feel the people there love me and in life you have to look for that,” said the 50-year-old, who first joined Chelsea in 2004 and ended their 50-year wait for a top flight title as well as winning the FA Cup in 2007 and the League Cup twice.
“Life is beautiful and short and you must look for what you think is best for you,” added Mourinho, who has also enjoyed successful spells as coach of Porto and Inter Milan, winning the Champions League with both.
Mourinho ended his three-year reign at Real Madrid with a 4-2 home La Liga victory over Osasuna at the weekend. He won the Spanish title in 2012 but left after a difficult season with no major trophies.
Mourinho will be accompanied by three staff – Rui Faria, Silvino Louro and Jose Morais – as assistant first team coaches working alongside current first team staff Steve Holland, Christophe Lollichon and Chris Jones.
Chelsea said he will be officially presented at a news conference at Stamford Bridge on Monday, June 10.
The news was welcomed by Chelsea fans, pining for his return ever since 2007 despite the club’s success in winning the Champions League under Italian Roberto Di Matteo in 2012.
The November appointment of unpopular former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as interim coach, in place of the sacked Di Matteo, only increased the clamour for Mourinho.
“I think 95 percent of the Chelsea supporters are pleased that Jose’s come back,” the club’s former defender Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris told Sky Sports television. “I think it’s a pat on the back for Roman Abramovich for bringing him back.”
Mourinho inherits a side that again qualified for the Champions League, after finishing third in the Premier League last season.
They also won the Europa League but are in need of some restructuring if they are to overhaul northern giants Manchester United and City.
The futures of Spain striker Fernando Torres, already linked in the media to Serie A team Napoli where Benitez is now in charge, and former England captain John Terry will be under closer scrutiny than ever.
The confrontational Portuguese set the bar high the first time around, becoming the club’s most successful manager with a team that never lost any of their 60 home league matches under his guidance.
Whether Mourinho can make the magic work a second time – something that has defeated many other managers returning for a second bite of the cherry – remains to be seen.
New Monaco defender Ricardo Carvalho, who played under his compatriot at Chelsea and Real, had no doubt that he could.
“I’m sure in two, three years they can but even in his first year he can win it again,” he said at the weekend. “When we arrived together in 2004 Chelsea had not won the league for 50 years so I hope now they can win it again.” DM
Photo: Jose Mourinho (Reuters)
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