ROME (AP) – It must be fun.
José Mourinho, football’s most outspoken coach, will take charge next season in Rome, the team with some of Italy’s most outspoken fans.
“The extraordinary enthusiasm of the Roma fans convinced me to take the job and I can’t wait to start next season,” Mourinho said in Roma’s shock announcement on Tuesday.
Mourinho’s job is to challenge new Serie A champions Inter Milan – a team he led well to triumph over the treble of titles more than a decade ago during his only previous job in Italy.
“We are very pleased and delighted to welcome José Mourinho into the AS Roma family,” said club president Dan Friedkin and vice president Ryan Friedkin. “A great champion who has won trophies at every level, José will provide extraordinary leadership and experience for our ambitious project.”
After impressively proclaiming himself “The Special One” when he first reached his prime at Chelsea in 2004, one of Mourinho’s most famous phrases in Italy was uttered at the expense of Roma five years later.
Shortly after the 3-3 draw between Inter and Roma which included a controversial penalty for Inter won by Mario Balotelli, Mourinho responded to the anger from Roma fans by suggesting that the Giallorossi would finish the season with “zero titles” despite having a full squad. of “great players”.
At the moment, Roma are mostly a young team with some old stars like Edin Džeko.
The Giallorossi is captained by 24-year-old Lorenzo Pellegrini, although the team’s most talented player is perhaps 21-year-old midfielder Nicolò Zaniolo, who has been sidelined this entire season through injury.
With Roma in seventh place in Serie A and beaten by Manchester United 6-2 in the first leg of last week’s Europa League semi-final, Mourinho will face huge challenges with the club.
While Roma reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2018, the team has not won a single trophy since lifting the Italian Cup in 2008.
“He is a very prestigious coach with a lot of experience. And most importantly, he is a coach who knows Italy very well, “Fabio Capello, who coached Roma to their third and final Serie A title in 2001, told the LaPresse news agency. “Rome is a tough city but he excels in difficult cities. I hope for Roma fans that he is doing as well as he did at Inter. “
The move to sign Mourinho came hours after Roma announced that current coach Paulo Fonseca would leave at the end of this season. Mourinho’s contract is for three seasons, although he will not take over until this season.
“José’s appointment is a huge step in building a culture of long-term and consistent winning throughout the club,” said Friedkins, who bought the club last year from James Pallotta to retain American ownership. Mourinho has also coached Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham, where he was sacked last month.
In Rome, Mourinho can speak Portuguese with compatriot Tiago Pinto, the team’s general manager. The coach needs to revive his career after apathy in the dressing room and growing disappointment at his tactics cost him his job at Tottenham after 17 months at the London club.
It was Mourinho’s shortest spell with the team since he became the chic and confident Porto coach at the start of this century. Roma job is his 10th career management position.
“After meeting the owner and Tiago Pinto, I immediately fully understood their ambition for AS Roma,” said Mourinho. “It is the same ambition and drive that has always motivated me and together we want to build successful projects in the years to come.”
Fonseca will still coach Roma during the second leg of the Europa League semi-final against United at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday, as well as four games remaining in Serie A this season.
“I wish Paulo Fonseca all the best and I hope the media appreciates that I will only speak further in due course,” Mourinho said, before adding a cheer in the local dialect: “Daje Roma!”