Jose Mourinho has spoken of his love for the Premier League once more, and confirmed his plans to return to England ‘one day’.
The Portuguese coach has often spoken of his desire to return to the Premier League having left under a cloud following his departure from Chelsea in 2007.
Since then Mourinho has gone on to win the Champions League with Inter Milan and La Liga with Real Madrid last season, although his three year spell at the Bernabeu looks like coming to an end this summer.
Madrid are 18 points adrift of rivals Barcelona in La Liga at the half-way stage, while their season so far has been punctuated with rumours of falling-outs between Mourinho and various players, board members and the media.
Recently the 49-year-old took the controversial decision to drop regular goalkeeper Iker Casillas, while a recent fan poll suggested 60% of supportes believed the 'Special One' had sullied Real Madrid's image since his arrival in Spain.
That has fueled rumours of a move back to England, something Mourinho has done little to play down. The former Porto coach was present to watch Manchester United take on Liverpool on Sunday.
Chelsea will most likely be on the lookout for a new manager at the end of the season and could look to bringing Mourinho back to Stamford Bridge, although they appear to prefer a move for Pep Guardiola instead.
Manchester City could also look to take him to the Etihad Stadium, but the presence of two Barcelona officials, Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain who will also likely prefer Guardiola, could preclude that.
Taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United represents an alternative to Manchester City or Chelsea, although the Scot looks unlikely to step away from his post at Old Trafford any time soon.
Away from the Premier League, Paris Saint-Germain are believed to be interested in securing his services.
That appears unlikely given his love for English football, and speaking at a League Managers Association coaching conference at St George’s Park, Mourinho was full of praise for the Premier League, and hinted he was ready to make the move back to the country he left in 2007.
“To say congratulations to the English FA is to say congratulations to football,’’ said Mourinho. “It’s to say congratulations to everybody that loves football around the world.
“For me, the English FA means not just the passion of football in England, but also the passion of football around the world.
"I think they are most responsible for why football is what it is around the world. So I feel also that I should congratulate myself about your 150 years, because as everybody knows I am completely in love with the game and a person in love with the game must be in love with the English FA.”
Mourinho enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Chelsea between 2004 and 2007, scooping two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup.
“My memories from English football could not be better. It was my first experience outside of Portugal – I was still a very young coach when I left Portugal to go to England.
“But there couldn’t be a better place to go. In England you feel the real passion for the game. You also don’t feel what we feel in almost every other country, which is the passion for clubs. In England, it’s not just about passion for clubs, it’s mainly about passion for football – and you feel it.
“My memories are great. I loved it from the first to the last day. I don’t regret my last day because after that I was lucky enough to enjoy Italy and to have and enjoy some success there [with Inter Milan] and also in Spain, so I don’t regret the day I left. But I know that one day I will come back because English football means a lot to myself.
With Real Madrid in action in the Copa del Rey this eveing, Mourinho was also keen to praise the FA Cup, describing it as representing the ‘good smell of football.”
“I know the history of football. I know what the English FA means to the world of football. I know that the FA Cup was the first competition organised in the world of football in the 1870s. I know what I felt when I had to go up the Wembley stairs to get the FA Cup.
“For me, the FA Cup represents the passion of football. It represents clean football. It represents the good smell of football. If you are in England and you play in England, you feel it.
"You feel everything. You feel the passion. You feel that it’s clean, you feel proud to be in football – even in the worst moments. That’s pure football. That’s the football you play as a kid in the street transported through time and space into organised competition and into the real world of football.
“Of course, it’s impossible, but I feel everybody involved in the game should experience English football because it’s a special feeling. You really enjoy being a football professional there.”