Manchester United today confirmed that they have appointed Chelsea’s former manager, Jose Mourinho, as their new manager on a three-year deal.
The 53-year-old has enjoyed two spell at Stamford Bridge in the past, arriving from Porto in June of 2004 having just won the Champions League with the Portuguese side. He led Chelsea to the club’s first Premier League title and their first top-flight win in over 50 years in his first season in London, notching up a record 95 points in the process.
During his time in West London he also gave himself the nickname ‘The Special One’ when he said to reporters, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one”. In his second season at Stamford Bridge he won the Premier League again, though rumours emerged of a rift with the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, when Mourinho threw his winners medal into the crowd along with his club blazer.
An uneasy truce was agreed between the two most powerful people at Chelsea and Mourinho led the club to an FA Cup victory in his third season there. A series of publicly known disagreements between the two men continued into the manager’s fourth season, however, and the football world was shocked when he left the club by mutual consent in September of 2007, being replaced by Avram Grant until the end of the season.
A spell at Inter Milan followed, with the Portuguese boss winning another domestic title as well as a cup. He reportedly rubbed the Italian press up the wrong way, however, with numerous high profile feuds with more well-respected managers such as Carlo Ancelotti and Claudio Ranieri. In 2009 he also made suggestions that he was keen to take over at Manchester United in the event of Alex Ferguson’s retirement, saying, “I would consider going to Manchester United but United have to consider if they want me to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson. If they do, then of course”.
In April of 2010 he made history by being the first manager in history to take three different sides to the Champions League semi-finals, eventually going on to win the final by beating Bayern Munich 2-0. He also led them to the Serie A title in the same season, but after the final of the Champions League he was again touting himself for another job, saying, “If you don’t coach Real Madrid then you will always have a gap in your career”.
He promptly rocked up at the Santiago Bernabeu, taking over from Manuel Pellegrini and signing a four year deal with Los Blancos. He won the Copa del Rey in his first season and La Liga in his second, ensuring that from 2003 and 2012 he won at least one trophy every calendar year. As so often is the case with the combustible manager, however, his third season saw problems emerge and the manager suggest it would likely be his last, despite having recently signed a new contract with the club.
Sure enough, June 2013 saw Mourinho return to Stamford Bridge once more. He began his second spell at the club by saying, “In my career I’ve had two great passions, Inter and Chelsea and Chelsea is more than important for me…It was very, very hard to play against Chelsea, and I did it only twice which was not so bad…Now I promise exactly the same things I promised in 2004 with this difference to add: I’m one of you”.
His first season after his return was not such a positive one, despite the club finishing third in the Premier League. They suffered their first league defeat at Stamford Bridge under his management when Sunderland won 2-1 in April and finished the season without a trophy. They returned to form in the second year, however, winning the Premier League and the League Cup, defeating local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the final of the latter.
Much the same as during his time at Real Madrid, Mourinho signed a new four-year contract with the Blues in August of 2015, but things started to unravel rather quickly for him almost straight away. The defending Premier League champions picked up just eleven points from their first twelve Premier League games and were knocked out of the League Cup by Stoke in October. By the middle of December Roman Abramovich had again had enough of Mourinho, and he once more departed Stamford Bridge by ‘mutual consent’.
Now he has been appointed the manager of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Manchester United. Upon his appointment the club’s Vice-Chairman, Ed Woodward, said, “José is quite simply the best manager in the game today. He has won trophies and inspired players in countries across Europe and, of course, he knows the Premier League very well, having won three titles here. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome him to Manchester United. His track record of success is ideal to take the club forward”.
Mourinho himself said, “To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game. It is a club known and admired throughout the world. There is a mystique and a romance about it which no other club can match. I have always felt an affinity with Old Trafford; it has hosted some important memories for me in my career and I have always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans. I’m looking forward to being their manager and enjoying their magnificent support in the coming years”.