Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has extolled the virtues of Jose Mourinho as the Real Madrid manager seemingly edges towards a return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

Mourinho has been linked with Chelsea for a number of months after his relationship with Real Madrid players and fans turned sour, and the Portuguese is already reported to have agreed to succeed Rafael Benitez.

The 50-year-old left Chelsea in September 2007 having fallen out with the club's owner Roman Abramovich but, with the relationship between the two now repaired, Mourinho appears set for an emotional reunion with the club he loves.

Mourinho won two Premier League titles during his first tenure at Chelsea, and is set to return to an English game shaken by the announcement that Sir Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season.

Mata, for one, would welcome Mourinho back to Chelsea should the ex-Porto and Inter Milan boss arrive in west London in the summer months, and the Spain international has hailed the former as one of the best managers around.

"Talking about Jose, for sure he's a great manager. I mean, he won everything almost in every country," he told Sky Sports News.

"He was in Italy, in Portugal here in England, and I think the players we have now for example in the dressing room have very good memories about him.

"And in Madrid I think the same. He's done a good job, Real Madrid is one of the best teams in the world, he is one of the best managers.

"We don't really know what is going to happen but, for sure - and that's a fact - he is one of the best managers in the world."

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