Mourinho rules out Chelsea return
Published 22:31 29/02/12 By Martin Lipton
Jose Mourinho has ruled out making an emotional return to Chelsea.
The Special One was seen househunting in London on Tuesday - sparking rumours of a Stamford Bridge comeback.
According to Spanish reports, he chose a property in the capital and will pay a deposit this week.
But the Real Madrid boss told fans he has no plans to manage Chelsea for a second time.
Mourinho took advantage of his visit to the capital on Tuesday to dine at his favourite restaurant, the family-owned La Famiglia.
He was joined for lunch in the popular West London eatery by his wife Tami, 41, and her sister and husband.
Before the meal he asked to personally speak to the restaurant’s owner, Italian Alvaro Maccioni.
Mr Maccioni’s daughter, Marietta, told the Mirror: “It was lovely to see him again after so long away.
“He came in with his wife, sister-in-law and her husband. They had a leisurely lunch and enjoyed themselves.
“Jose was speaking to my father for quite a while, just about family and how the business was doing.
“He said he was house-hunting in the area and was looking for a big place for the whole family.
“A lot of the staff are Chelsea fans, including me, and they were asking him if he was coming back to the club.
“Unfortunately he said he wasn’t. We’re all disappointed as he was a great manager for us. I wish he was coming back.
“He didn’t tell us anything else about his plans, and we didn’t pry as he’s a good customer and a friend.”
The Chelsea snub will fuel speculation that a move to Spurs or Arsenal is a strong possibility but he will want to pick his next move carefully.
At 49, he has proved he can change any club, turn them into winners.
But so far in his career, Mourinho has only been a short-term fix.
Two months at Benfica, eight at Uniao de Leiria, a trophy-laden two and a half years at Porto.
Incredibly, for all Mourinho has achieved, his longest stint at any club was the three and a quarter years he spent at Stamford Bridge, with him quitting Inter Milan for Real Madrid in May 2010, after just two seasons at the San Siro.
And as Mourinho’s love-in at the Bernebeu has turned into a more acrimonious marriage of convenience, with the Portuguese’s wandering eye resurfacing as he prepares to exchange contracts on his new family pad in London, the Special One wants to show that he can, truly, lay down long-term roots.
Sources close to Mourinho maintain that what he wants now is something different.
Money is not a huge issue when you are a multi-millionaire. Although Mourinho will want a salary and bonus package that reflects his status as the greatest manager of his generation.
But he seeks a project for the longer term, a challenge, the opportunity to do something new, fresh, unprecedented at the club he chooses.
That does make two of the six options the Premier League provides likely to be the most interesting to a man who craves the spotlight more than anybody in the game.
It is a typical Mourinho inconsistency that where he delighted in opening up new fields of conflict with Arsene Wenger, he has long spoken in almost awed tones of the only man who exceeds the Arsenal boss in terms of longevity.
Maybe the Portuguese was shrewd to realise he probably would not win a verbal battle with Sir Alex Ferguson. Maybe he just wanted to let Wenger and Rafa Benitez - his other personal bete noir - take on the Scot.
But even since vacating Chelsea, it is Ferguson that Mourinho always points to as the model, the epitome of what a manager should be.
Even at the start of his spell at Madrid, Mourinho seemed keen to change his spots.
“I’m someone who likes to go around and around,” he said. “After England and Italy I had to go to Real Madrid or it would have left my career empty.
“But the No.1 in the history of the Premier League disagrees with me because United are an incredible club and he wants to stay there all his career.
“And I want to stay for a long time, at least four years or up to 10, to build something.”
Instead, after less than two years, of internal feuding with ousted Jorge Valdano and this season’s dressing room disputes with Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, external fights on and off the pitch with Pep Guardiola and Barcelona, and an ongoing anger at the Real fans he feels do not show him the love he had at Chelsea and Inter, Mourinho wants out.
But the idea of a project has grown and with Ferguson insisting he is not going to opt for carpet slippers and a place in front of the fire any time soon, Mourinho is ready to embrace a return to England.
Even after ruling out a return to Chelsea, stranger things have happened in football so Stamford Bridge would have to be a possibility, even though his relationship with the club’s top brass would be difficult to repair.
While Mourinho would have the personality to replace Ferguson, bringing teams back to their former glories, or taking sides into previously uncharted waters, remains the speciality of the Special One.
That would make Spurs - desperate to prove themselves worthy of dining at the High Table of the game after the wilderness decades - or City, backed by the black gold that makes Abu Dhabi so wealthy, the most natural fits.
Tottenham have heritage and a team ready for the next step, with Daniel Levy aware that funding the future - and perhaps sending the value of the club soaring to the £1billion mark at which a hugely profitable sale could be realised - would become far more realistic with the most charismatic coach in world football at the helm.
The White Hart Lane fans would instantly take Mourinho to their hearts, aware that suddenly it would all be real, not just the wonderful but at times almost infeasible dream they have lived through under England-bound Harry Redknapp.
Likewise, replacing Roberto Mancini for the second time, and once again taking a side inherited from the Italian to heights the scarf-clad former Italy and Sampdoria striker could not conquer, would certainly match the pattern.
At Chelsea, bankrolled by Roman Abramovich, Mourinho liked to play the underdog, using David Dein’s position at the FA as part of the constant propaganda barrage.
Replace one highly-placed FA David with another - Old Trafford chief executive David Gill - and the same game could be played, with Sheikh Mansour offering even more cash than Abramovich with which to play.
On that LMA tribute night 15 months ago, Mourinho pulled at the heartstrings as he told the audience “I’m probably missing you more than you are missing me.
“I love everything here. It was a great experience for me as a professional but also as a person. My family loves it here, the kids grew up here. I love the emotion, respect, and fair play here. I love absolutely everything.”
Lifestyle, funds and the vision. Exactly what Mourinho now wants.