Which way, José?
Out of sight, out of mind? Hardly.
But no: One guy is a genius, the other is Forrest Gump's less likeable brother, the one who raids
Anyway, Mourinho was never going to stay out of the headlines, not least because he's angling for his next job. His résumé is frighteningly good: four league titles (though one of them, the one he won with FC Porto in 2003-04, may yet be stripped), four domestic cups, a UEFA Cup and a Champions League title in six full seasons of management amount to, on paper, a ticket to anywhere he wants to go.
Except the game doesn't quite work like that. Mourinho's agent and his close advisors have been shopping him around for the past six months, linking him with a variety of jobs: England, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and, most recently, Inter Milan.
Some of those links are pure agentspeak (i.e. they're made up) -- Milan and Bayern come to mind. Other ships have sailed (England). But the fact remains that Mourinho's stature inevitably places him at or near the top of any club's shopping list.
So where will he go? Maybe it's easier to rule out where he won't go. For starters, he needs a big club with lots of transfer clout or a really prestigious national team (otherwise, why bother?). With the England job off the table, you can rule out international management. England is the only top-tier nation that would hire a foreign coach and pay him top dollar (which is, ultimately what it did).
Manchester United and Arsenal aren't options either.
Juventus would be an intriguing choice. However,
Mourinho's crew was pushing Milan as a possible destination. While it's true that the club needs a major rebuilding job, it's equally true that
The club is obsessed with entertaining soccer and being Milan manager means constantly mediating between the players and the many "suggestions" coming from the club (primarily in the form of
Real Madrid looks like a no-go for similar reasons, assuming
Strike Roma (no money), Valencia (just getting used to this
The first is Inter, the most credible and accredited destination.
Inter puts substance over style. And Mourinho loves a challenge. He's taken the powerhouse from a small country and won the Champions League. He's taken the
Stay tuned. But if that doesn't work out, there's always the other option: a return to Chelsea. Crazy? Probably, although Mourinho claimed recently that he still talks to chief executive
It would only happen if Abramovich cleared out his army of assistants, coaches, advisors and executives (including Kenyon), but it would give him the kind of instant popularity among Chelsea fans he lost when Mourinho was sent packing.
Stranger things have happened. Though if you're a betting man, bet on him showing up at the San Siro.
Bad news makes more headlines than good news, but sometimes it's worth hearing a feel-good story. When Manchester United met Roma last year, there was trouble at both grounds. United fans were stabbed, Roma supporters attacked and the Roman police engaged in some very heavy-handed policing.
Sadly, when the two teams met in the group stage earlier this year, there was more trouble. Four United supporters were arrested in Rome and charged with acts of violence and resisting arrest.
Now, I don't know if they are guilty or not. I haven't been in court and I wasn't there that night (we do know, however, that they chose not to ride on the official supporters' buses and, instead, wandered into an area near the Stadio Olimpico where everyone had instructed them not to go ... unless they wanted to pick a fight).
What I do know is that the 2½-year prison sentence they received was entirely out of proportion with the punishment ordinarily handed out in these situations. It seems pretty clear the courts wanted to make an example of the "Roma Four." They are fighting their own legal battles and one can only hope that, if they're innocent, justice will be served.
But back to the good news. There was no trouble at either leg of the quarterfinal. And, in fact, relations between the two sets of supporters seem to be on the mend. Roma's hardcore Ultras supporters held up a banner which read, "Freedom for the Roma 4," as a sign of solidarity.
While this received little mainstream media coverage, it does show that some issues trump the actions of a violence-loving minority.