Jose Mourinho has been appointed Roma head coach on a three-year deal set to begin at the start of next season.
Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham in April after just 17 months in charge of the Premier League. The announcement of his appointment by Roma came just hours after the club confirmed that current boss Paulo Fonseca would depart at the end of the current campaign.
It will be the Portuguese manager’s second spell in Serie A, after he spent two seasons with Inter Milan before leaving to join Real Madrid in 2010.
“After meetings with the ownership and Tiago Pinto, I immediately understood the full extent of their ambitions for AS Roma,” Mourinho told the club’s website.
“It is the same ambition and drive that has always motivated me and together we want to build a winning project over the upcoming years.
Mourinho won consecutive Serie A titles with Inter, completing a treble – that included a Champions League triumph – in his final season with the club.
The 58-year-old struggled to make an impact at Spurs and was sacked for the third time in six seasons by a Premier League club, following dismissals from Chelsea – in his second spell at the club – and Manchester United.
Despite that, Roma were attracted to the 25 major trophies Mourinho has claimed in his career and have wasted little time in agreeing a deal following his departure from Tottenham.
Roma ‘blown away by Jose’s desire to win’
“When Jose became available, we immediately jumped at the chance to speak with one of the greatest managers of all time,” Roma general manager Tiago Pinto said.
“We were blown away by Jose’s desire to win and his passion for the game: no matter how many trophies he has won, his primary focus is always on the next one. He possesses the knowledge, experience and leadership to compete at all levels.
“We know that in order to build a successful sporting project it takes time, patience and the right people in the right positions. We are supremely confident that Jose will be the perfect coach for our project, for both our immediate and long-term future.”
Roma look set to miss out on Champions League qualification for next season as they sit seventh in Serie A with four games of the season, while their hopes of advancing to the Europa League final were all but ended in a 6-2 semi-final first-leg loss to Manchester United last week.
Serie A losses either side of that Old Trafford thrashing made it six
games without a win in all competitions for Fonseca’s side.
Fonesca, who is also Portuguese, was on a two-year contract that was set to expire at the end of the season.
Pinto added: “I would like to thank Paulo for all his work for the club over the last two seasons.
“Even if the results have not always been there on the pitch, we know that he has left many positive elements that will continue to help our development – like the many talented and young players he has encouraged and improved, and our progress in the Europa League this season.
“We are building a path to success at Roma, and Paulo has played an important role in that.”
‘Mourinho appointment a big surprise in Italy’
“It was a great secret even for everybody here in Italy. The deal started [to be negotiated] in the middle of April in the days after he was sacked by Tottenham.
“He had an approach from general manager Thiago Pinto and then he had a meeting with owner Dan Friedkin and he was immediately loved by the leadership, Mourinho wanted to come back to Italy after 11 years.
“They [the Roma hierarchy] saw in Mourinho the eyes of the tiger, he wanted to win in Italy again, AS Roma wants to win the title in Italy again.
“He has signed a contract for three years so has the potential to create a team to win the league over the course of this time.
“Everyone involved with Roma feels amazing about this news. It was a very interesting surprise for everyone here in Italy. Mourinho will be able to see how the team can improve over the next few weeks.
“Mourinho and Fabio Capello, (the manager who last won the title with Roma), are very similar. They work very well with the teams that they manage, to find motivation in every player, and Mourinho can help Roma to win something big in Italy after many years.”
Analysis: A seismic moment in Roma’s history
This is a serious statement of intent from the Friedkin family, Roma’s new American owners. Jose Mourinho is their first appointment as manager since they took over the club in August last year. It wrong-footed and shell-shocked the whole Italian football landscape – fans, players and executives alike, and even all the journalists.
While the Roma fanbase were left reeling from a shocking Serie A run which saw them collect five points in eight games and a humiliating 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford in a much-awaited Europa League semi-final which could have saved their season, Dan and Ryan Friedkin put in the work behind the scenes to deliver one of the most seismic moments in Roma’s recent history, possibly even surpassing Fabio Capello’s arrival in 1999.
Roma and Tottenham share striking similarities – they are two big clubs who won their last trophy, a domestic cup, in 2008 and have enjoyed success on the European stage rather than at home in recent years. Just like Spurs, Roma have brought in the Special One to end that long and painful trophy drought and take the club to that next level – bridging the gap with Juve, AC Milan and Inter, the three Italian big sisters.