There's no place like Rome as Mourinho returns

ROME • Roma yesterday named former Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho as their new head coach on a three-year contract starting next season.

The decision came hours after the Italian Serie A club announced that fellow Portuguese Paulo Fonseca would leave the role at the end of the current campaign.

"We are thrilled and delighted to welcome Jose Mourinho into the AS Roma family," club president Dan Friedkin and vice-president Ryan Friedkin said.

"A great champion who has won trophies at every level, Jose will provide tremendous leadership and experience to our ambitious project."

Mourinho, 58, who has previously coached Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United, was sacked by Spurs last month after 17 months in charge of the north London club.

"After meetings with the ownership and (general manager) Tiago Pinto, I immediately understood the full extent of their ambitions for AS Roma," he said.

"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.

"The incredible passion of the Roma fans convinced me to accept the job and I cannot wait to start next season."

Having not qualified for the Champions League since the 2018-19 season, Roma looked to be on course for a top-four finish at the turn of the year, but one win in their last eight league matches has left them seventh in the standings.

They trail fourth-placed AC Milan (69) by 14 points with just four games remaining, meaning Mourinho will not be coaching in European football's elite club competition next season.

A place in next season's Europa League also looks in doubt as they are nine points behind derby rivals Lazio, who are in sixth and have a game in hand.

Their current Europa League run is set to come to an end tomorrow as United travel to Rome holding a 6-2 advantage going into the second leg of their semi-final tie.

In a departing statement, the 48-year-old Fonseca, who had been facing the sack for weeks, said: "Over these last two years, we have experienced a number of highs and lows, but I have always given my all for this club and this city - a city that has always been so welcoming."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2021, with the headline 'There's no place like Rome as Mourinho returns'. Subscribe