Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea reunion may not be special

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14:  Chelsea fans hold up a banner prior to the FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on April 14, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Chelsea fans

Sometimes, I really don't get Chelsea fans. Last Thursday night, as their team reached the Europa League Final, the popular song around Stamford Bridge was 'Jose's Coming Home', a cute variation of that 1996 hit 'Football's Coming Home' ... to England for the European Championship of that year.

They were again taunting Rafa Benitez, the 'interim coach' who has successfully lead Chelsea along the path to Amsterdam.

Then, on Sunday, the chant aimed, it's true, mainly at Manchester United supporters was 'One team in Europe, there's only one team in Europe': the irony somehow escapes them that it is the same Benitez who master-minded that deserved win at Old Trafford which, in all probability, will see their club back in the Champions League next season.

No, a majority of Blues fans have never and will never accept the Spaniard as their manager. They want Jose back and most likely they'll get him. Whether it was in that Italian restaurant in London or on the Russian's yacht wherever it was berthed, it seems that Mourinho and Abramovich HAVE already met up and there seems to be substance to the rumour of that July 1 date chosen to 'renew their vows'. Nevertheless, finding true love the second time around isn't without its problems. Mourinho has a contract with Real Madrid that runs until 2016. What, after three successive Champions League semi-finals, if they don't want to let him go?

Or, at least, not without being paid the £35m exit clause?

Further, I still don't see the owner being willing to back off the increasingly interfering role in team affairs he's adopted since sacking Mourinho six years ago but the Portuguese wants total control over football matters and certainly won't tolerate the presence of the Technical Director (or should that be 'lapdog'?) Michael Emenalo?

And there's the question of 'style'. Mourinho's Chelsea was undoubtedly successful – five trophies in three full seasons – but they weren't especially easy on the eye.

'This' Chelsea is far more expansive and, when they're all fit (Hazard wasn't at Old Trafford), the 'Three Amigos' play in a whirling midfield – kindly ignore the fact that one of them is Brazilian and another Belgian!

Wasn't Abramovich's target last summer Pep Guardiola? That's the football Roman wants.

Mourinho wants "to be loved" and be in a place "where people love me to be." Had ITV not cut him off in his prime he'd have left no-one watching in any doubt he was talking about Chelsea.

However, people forget it's only a year or so since he was openly, brazenly, flaunting his wares in the direction of Old Trafford as the successor to Sir Alex.

The truth is, family aside, Mourinho is mostly in love with himself and just think what he'd say about Paris if he was to end up there. I'm not a hypocrite. I'd love to see him back in England: he's great 'copy' and it'd make Sir Alex "angry": his word, not mine.

And, anyway, Benitez won't be short of suitors having put himself in the shop window and having done such a good job.

The current buzz in the Bundesliga and Schalke may attract.

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