From pitch to politics: Mourinho backs presidential candidate in online video

A screenshot of Mourinho from the online video.
A screenshot of Mourinho from the online video.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

LISBON (AFP) - Sacked Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has joined the Portuguese presidential campaign trail, backing conservative candidate Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in a video posted on YouTube.

The 52-year-old Mourinho, who parted company with Premier League champions Chelsea last month, called Rebelo de Sousa a "charismatic winner" in the video message.

"It's the first time I publicly state my support for a candidate, because I think Portugal needs to make the right choice, more than ever," said Mourinho, who looked relaxed and was casually dressed, comfortably sitting on a couch as he addressed viewers.

"I have a clear understanding that we need a winner, but not only a winner. We need charisma, and uniting these winning qualities and charisma, I think that's what Portugal needs right now.

"I know the man and the politician. We need a charismatic winner," added the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan coach.

"So, without any reservation, I take this public position for the first time: I vote Marcelo and I do so because I am convinced he is the right choice for us."

Rebelo de Sousa, a 67-year-old professor of law and veteran TV political commentator, is leading the polls in the race to succeed conservative president Anibal Cavaco Silva with voting getting under way on Sunday.