Since leaving Man Utd midway through the 2018-19 season, the self-proclaimed Special One has swapped the dugout for the pundit’s sofa, giving his famously dry insights on the Sky and beIN networks.
But Jose is too talented, too ambitious and (still) too young to take a permanent retirement from the coaching game. So which club (or country) will he choose to make his comeback?
Latest Update (30th July 2019)
On the 30th July, Mourinho discussed his future on Sky Sports.
The interview was filmed in his native Portugal, and shows Jose going for long walks around his hometown, reminiscing about playing football in the park, wearing oversized pastel-coloured t-shirts, and generally looking relaxed and happy again.
Honestly, it looks like an open job application to us – but see for yourself:
Here are the key points to take away from this
career presentation interview:
- Jose thinks a national team role would be too boring for him
- Jose believes he deserves to manage a team in one of the top 5 European leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France)
- Jose is learning German but totally isn’t thinking about managing in the Bundesliga
- Jose won’t take any old job – he is being patient. The next club needs to give him enough cash to build a competitive squad
- Jose has rejected China, but is open to bringing a smaller club up to a higher level
With all that in mind, let’s look at some possible next destinations for Jose, including the likelihood of each move actually taking place.
Jose Mourinho spent a couple of years at Inter between 2008 and 2010, winning two Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, and the Champions League. Although he learned the language to a fluent level, Mourinho didn’t always look happy in the country, and once stated that “I don’t like Italian football and it doesn’t like me”. But could he give la dolce vita a second chance? And if yes, where?
Could Mourinho one day take over at Juventus?
Mourinho and Juventus might be the perfect match. The club can afford to buy most players on the market. Juventus doesn’t require it’s coaches to play in a specific style like Barcelona or Manchester United do – they just want to win, and Mourinho is a serial winner. What’s more, Juventus tend to change their coach every few years.
On the flip side, the club has just appointed ex-Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri to the coaching role. Sarri is tasked with winning another two Serie A titles and securing 10-in-a-row for the Turin club. If he looks like he is failing in that assignment, Juve could well turn to Jose. But if the club starts the season strongly, this move won’t happen. Our odds rating: 15/1
Would a return to Inter be a possibility for Mourinho?
Mourinho left Inter on good terms, and the club hasn’t won the title since he departed for Spain – so this could be a mutually beneficial move. Jose also showed at Chelsea that he doesn’t mind coming back to a previous haunt – and he showed can do so successfully. So, a return to Inter would be a distinct possibility.
However, Antonio Conte has just landed in the hot seat and seems to want to build a long-term dynasty at the Milan club. Much like at Juventus, it would take a very bad performance for Inter to let Conte go. But if Inter struggles this season, Jose would be the go-to guy. Our odds rating: 12/1
How about AC Milan?
If Mourinho could resurrect Milan to be a dominant force in Italian and European football, he might well go down in history as the Greatest Manager of All Time (GMOAT). And that’s the kind of narrative arc which would surely appeal to him.
However, the club’s ownership structure is complex and it keeps falling foul of UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) rules. Right now, the Milan job looks like a poisoned chalice and until the club gets its act together, Jose will be clever enough to stay away. Our odds rating: 20/1
What about the other Italian clubs?
Other possible destinations in Italy would include Napoli and the two Roman clubs. But these clubs all have domineering presidents who would inevitably clash with Mourinho, and are unlikely to ever have enough funds to properly challenge Juve. We can’t see any of them appealing to Jose in the current circumstances. Our odds rating: 25/1
Jose Mourinho spent several years as assistant manager in Barcelona in the ’90s and three seasons at Real Madrid after he left Inter. He speaks the language fluently and knows the league inside out. But which clubs could he go?
How about trying again at Real Madrid?
Mourinho did make a triumphal return to Chelsea, and Real do have a history of rehiring former coaches, so this move might make sense. The only problem is that the club has recently just brought back Zinedine Zidane, so Jose would have to wait a little while before they change coach. Six months is probably enough time. Our odds rating: 12/1
Could the translator go back to Barca?
While he was the coach at Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho’s teams were involved in increasingly toxic duels with Barcelona. These reached a shocking level of nastiness in 2011 when Mourinho apparently tried to gouge the eye of Barca’s assistant coach.
Due to incidents such as these, the fans and management of the Catalan club hate Mourinho with a passion. In the local press, Jose is mockingly dubbed The Translator, in reference to his time at Barca in the ’90s assisting Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal.
To be fair, the feelings of hatred seem to be mutual, due in no small part to Barcelona’s decision not to appoint Mourinho when he was jobless back in 2008. With so much animosity between the two sides, a Barcelona-Mourinho deal would the most shocking coaching appointment in history.
There is literally more chance of Leicester City winning the Premier League again than Jose going back to the Nou Camp. Our odds rating: 5001/1
Perhaps Atletico Madrid would be the right fit for Jose?
Mourinho might be a sensible choice for Atletico Madrid if the club ever parts company with Diego Simeone. Both coaches like to play with a tight defence and midfield. Both like their teams to launch quick counter-attacks. So a transition from Simeone to Mourinho should be seamless.
But a vacancy would have to arise first, and Simeone doesn’t seem in any rush to leave. Furthermore, as long as Atletico plays in the same league as Barca and Real, it will always be a selling club. It certainly wouldn’t be Mourinho’s first choice, but if the opportunity comes about, he could well be tempted by the Atletico job. Our odds rating: 12/1
What about the other Spanish clubs?
Spanish football is dominated by Barca and Real Madrid, and Jose doesn’t tend to choose to coach underdogs facing impossible odds. While Atletico might be acceptable, joining the likes of Sevilla or Valencia would surely be a step too low for him. Our odds rating: 25/1
Mourinho recently revealed that he has been learning German. His great rival Pep Guardiola did the same the year before he joined Bayern – so is Jose angling for a job in the Bundesliga? A spell in Germany would offer him the chance to win a title in a new country, but which club would be the best fit for his style of management?
Could Bayern Munich be the right club for Mourinho?
Bayern changes managers on a regular basis, so Jose wouldn’t have to wait long for an opening here. Their level of domestic dominance would appeal to Mourinho, and the club is wealthy enough to afford his inevitable rebuilding plans.
But would there be enough room at the Bavarian club for Jose’s ego? Pep Guardiola found the opinions of Beckenbauer and Rummenigge too much to bear, and we can’t see Jose coping any better. Moreover, Bayern tends to choose coaches who commit to playing entertaining football – and Mourinho didn’t offer much of that at Manchester United. While Jose would probably say yes in a heartbeat, we just can’t see Bayern making him an offer. Our odds rating: 20/1
What about Borussia Dortmund?
Borussia is a traditional club who like to buy underrated talent and mould them into superstars. They tend to do the same with their managers. This move is almost as unlikely as him going back to Barcelona. Our odds rating: 80/1
Could RB Leipzig offer a good opportunity for Jose?
Red Bull RasenBallsport Leipzig would seem a more likely German destination. It’s a new club with little identity of attacking football, so Jose’s dour approach would be perfectly welcome. The club now regularly qualifies for the Champions League and has a rich backer who would support him in the transfer market. Leipzig definitely looks more like Jose’s kind of club. Our odds rating: 8/1
How about one of Germany’s sleeping giants?
Germany has several big city clubs with lots of potential, including Hamburg and Hertha Berlin. The problem is that to fund the kind of team that Mourinho likes to put together, they would need to find a rich owner – and Germany’s 50+1 rule makes that difficult. Red Bull managed it in Leipzig, but that would be nigh-on impossible at a traditional powerhouse with an established fan base. Our odds rating: 50/1
The French league is another which Mourinho hasn’t won yet, so it might be tempting.
Mourinho and PSG – a match made in heaven?
If Mourinho does choose France, then Paris Saint Germain would surely be the most likely destination. The club has limitless amounts of wealth, has few serious domestic rivals, and his main task would be to win the Champions League – which he has proved capable of with two different clubs. If current coach Thomas Tuchel doesn’t make it past the Round of 16 this year, and Jose is still available, expect PSG to make an approach. Our odds rating: 8/1
What about the other French clubs?
It’s hard to see Mourinho join any French club other than PSG, since he needs to at least have a chance of becoming top dog. He will probably coach on the south of France one day, but not for his next job. Our odds rating: 30/1
Jose has already coached in England 3 times, and despite everything that’s happened, he still seems to have more affection for the country than anywhere else. But could he come back for a fourth job in the Premier League?
How about a return to Manchester United?
The Old Trafford club doesn’t make a habit of re-employing managers, but with Ed Woodward at the helm, anything is possible.
Still, Jose showed in his time at United that he hates living north of Watford, so this looks a non-starter. Our odds rating: 50/1
What about a move to Manchester City?
City’s owners are clearly happy with their current coach and seem to have made a long-term plan to play the Guardiola way. Plus, the management team has largely been transplanted from Barcelona, and given the bad blood between them and Mourinho, Jose will have no chance of getting a call from the Etihad. Our odds rating: 100/1
Could Mourinho coach Arsenal one day?
Now that Wenger is out, there is a feeling that anything can happen at the Arsenal. The club’s American owners are investing in the playing staff again, and Jose could well be tempted if the club approaches him, as he loves living in London. Arsenal’s fanbase would probably hate it, which just makes it more likely to happen.
But it all depends on how Unai Emery does in his second season. If he shows progress and gets the club into the Top 4, he will probably be kept on. Otherwise, the Kroenkes will turn to a manager with a track record of qualifying for the Champions League. If Jose is still on the market, he will surely be the first to get the call. Our odds rating: 15/1
Would third time be the charm at Chelsea?
Could Jose be tempted to go for a third stint in West London?
Mourinho and owner Abramovitch obviously have some kind of special bond, so if Frank Lampard makes a mess of the job, expect to hear reports of Mourinho visiting the oligarch’s yacht off the coast of Monaco. Our odds rating: 15/1
Mourinho to Spurs?
Tottenham is located in London, which is obviously a positive. Other than geographical grounds, the prospects of Jose coaching Spurs look highly unlikely.
Daniel Levy isn’t the kind of open-chequebook chairman that Mourinho likes to work with. And when we see a coach as placid as Pochettino complaining about funding in his press conferences, we struggle to imagine how a demanding character like Jose would fit in. Our odds rating: 40/1
How likely is a move to Liverpool?
Not very likely. The city is even further north than Manchester, and the club has full trust in Jurgen Klopp. Plus the fans have an expectation about how the team should play. Our odds rating: 100/1
Could Mourinho coach an English club outside the Top Six?
While Jose likes winning trophies, he could be tempted to a move to a club outside the traditional top six, but with enough potential to eventually challenge the elite. Of course, there aren’t many candidates out there which match this profile, but London club West Ham might just fit the bill.
The club has started to spend big on players and enjoys the benefits of playing in a huge, tax-payer funded stadium. What’s more, even a top 7 position would be seen as acceptable at the beginning, easing the pressure for instant success. We think if the top-level jobs don’t present themselves this season, Jose might well end up in East London in the summer of 2020. Our odds rating: 5/1
What about a coaching job outside Europe?
Jose says China isn’t an option for him and he believes he deserves a job in one of the top 5 European leagues. But when we see how well Zlatan Ibrahimovic is thriving in Los Angeles, we think a stint in the US might be best for him.
For starters, the American media would offer a stage fit for Jose’s ego, and the news anchors would love his quips. On the coaching side, he has a knack of bringing the best out of limited players, and there are plenty of clubs who would love to have a big-name European coach at the helm.
What’s more, the salary cap means he wouldn’t have to worry about having less money than anyone else – it would just be Jose’s managerial skills against the rest.
If he chooses to coach one of the Los Angeles clubs, he could live next to the ocean and go for long walks on the beach, just like in Portugal. Jose would surely be tempted by the prospect of a switch to MLS. Our odds rating: 5/1
Jose Mourinho’s coaching career to date
Mourinho lost his first game in charge of the Lisbon giants – but went on to win the next eight. However, a change in club president – and Jose’s short temper – meant he was gone by Christmas.
União de Leiria
Mourinho took the provincial club to an unprededented third position in the Portuguese league, attracting the attention of the bigger teams.
Mourinho took over with the club struggling in fifth place. He ended up winning 2 Portuguese league titles, one Portuguese cup, a UEFA cup and the Champions League. Porto’s last-gasp defeat of Man Utd in the UCL quarter-final put him on the radar of England’s top clubs.
At Chelsea, Mourinho was backed in the transfer market by Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, charmed the media in press conferences, and gained the trust of the players with a confident approach. He won back-to-back titles in his first two seasons before falling out with Abramovich early in his fourth season and getting himself sacked.
Mourinho took over at the Milanese club while Juventus were still recovering from the Calciopolo scandal. He won 2 League and Cup doubles and the Champions League. His last game was the UCL final against Bayern at the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid. He didn’t have to travel far for his next job…
Jose stayed 3 seasons at Real, and his rivalry with Guardiola at Barcelona became one of the most toxic in football history. After getting hammered 5-0 in his first Clasico, Real improved to win the league the following season with a record points total. In the end, Mourinho fell out with everyone, including Cristiano Ronaldo, and Real were happy for him to go.
Jose kissed and made up with Abramovich and won the league in his second season at Stamford Bridge. It all went wrong midway through Season 3, however, with the team lying mid-table when he got sacked from Chelsea for a second time.
Mourinho replaced his former boss Louis van Gaal and was given the task of restoring United to glory. The fans were apprehensive that Jose’s conservative style wouldn’t be a good fit – and their fears were soon proved well-founded. Jose won the Europa League but was sacked midway through his third season. Mourinho claims finishing second in 2017-18 was the best performance of his career.
What’s the next step in Jose Mourinho’s career?
Wherever the Portuguese coach ends up next, we expect high entertainment value in the press conferences – and possibly on the pitch too.
We recommend following Nerds of Sport to keep up to date with the latest developments on Mourinho’s career.