Jose Mourinho has become the new Manchester United manager after signing his contract with the club on Thursday, according to reports. An official announcement from the English giants is expected before the end of the week.
The arrival of the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss had been expected since it emerged that Louis van Gaal would not continue in the aftermath of the club’s FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday. The signing of the self-proclaimed “Special One” had been held up, though, by negotiations over his image rights, which are still held by Chelsea.
Mourinho was dismissed from his role at Chelsea last December after a desperately disappointing start to the club’s Premier League title defense, which left them close to the relegation zone. Ever since he became a free agent, he has been linked with taking up the manager’s role at Old Trafford.
Despite winning the FA Cup, Manchester United have endured a poor second season under Van Gaal. As well as early exits from the Champions League and the Europa League, United could also only finish fifth in the Premier League, meaning they will miss out on a place in the lucrative Champions League next season.
In Mourinho, United have chosen a man who has brought success everywhere he has been, but also left a trail of controversy. A former assistant coach at Barcelona, Mourinho led Porto to a shock Champions League title in 2004 before being recruited to Chelsea for a first time. At Stamford Bridge, the Portuguese guided Chelsea to Premier League titles in his first two years, but a falling out with owner Roman Abramovich led to his sacking at the start of the 2006-07 season.
The disappointment would not last for long. In two seasons at Inter Milan, he claimed two serie A titles and a second Champions League crown for his collection in 2010. His time at Real Madrid was more mixed. While he beat Barcelona to the league title in 2012, he failed to lead the team to the Champions League title they craved and by the end of his three years was reported to have fallen out with much of his squad.
The demise that brought an end to his second spell at Chelsea would be even more spectacular. In the season after guiding them to the Premier League title, Mourinho instigated a public spat with his medical staff, was repeatedly punished for criticizing referees and his relationship with his squad was widely reported to have completely broken down.
But desperate to get back to the top for the first time since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson three years ago, Manchester United have banked on Mourinho eschewing controversy and returning to what once made him the world’s most sought after coach.