Jose Mourinho looks set to return to Stamford Bridge after a not too impressive three years in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu, but this time around, he has a lot to prove - if his second coming to west London eventually materialises.
When Mourinho was announced as the man to take over from Manuel Pellegrini at Real Madrid in May 2010, Madridistas saw it as the perfect deal: an outstanding coach was being matched with outstanding players (Crisitiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Raul et. al). Surely, this was the combination to end Barcelona’s dominance of Spanish football and bring the capital club back to the forefront of European football.
Fast forward three years and things haven’t gone as planned: Mourinho has only been able to win three titles in his three seasons in charge at Real Madrid. While this is by no means a failure, it still isn’t up to the standard expected of either Mourinho as a coach or Madrid as a club. The Portuguese failed to bring the coveted Decima (a 10th European title) to Madrid despite reaching the last four in the last three seasons. He hasn’t really succeeded too in bringing an end to Barcelona’s monopoly in Spain (the amount of trophies Barca has won in the last three years is enough proof).
So, when it was announced that Mourinho will be leaving the Bernabeu at the end of the season, it didn’t catch many by surprise. In fact, much of Spain breathed a sigh of relief as though a common foe had been conquered. Mourinho’s three years in charge of Madrid has seen his flair for controversies reached an all time high with the poke in the eye of then Barca assistant manager, Tito Vilanova and his disrespectful treatment of club icon, Iker Casillas raising eyebrows from all corners. His sending-off in the Copa del Rey final loss to Atletico Madrid proved to be his last straw.
While this unending controversial nature of his would have been overlooked in his previous clubs as they ultimately ended in overwhelming success, his below-par return at Real Madrid has raised serious doubts -not over his managerial abilities- but his unique style towards attaining success. This was Mourinho, with his entire ego, his arrogance, and his controversies for the first time ending in failure, claimed many.
Many may say Mourinho is returning to “the Club where he’s loved” if he eventually makes a comeback to Chelsea but the truth is that less and less clubs want to be entangled in the “Mourinho controversy”. Five years ago when the self acclaimed “only one” joined Inter Milan, there weren’t many young coaches out there that could guarantee success, but these days one could count on his fingers a number of successful young coaches that go about their business in a silent and less controversial manner: Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, Diego Simeone and Champions league silver medalist, Jurgen Klopp are a few examples.
In addition to that, Chelsea are also short of options having embarked on an hiring and firing spree since Abramovich took over at the Bridge. In the space of just a decade, the Russian billionaire has hired nine coaches including Champions league winners, a world cup winner, a young manager, even a rookie!
Abramovich has hired just about every category of coach available in the market with all (including Mourinho himself) appropriately shown the exit door. In summary, it is much a case of both Mourinho and Chelsea being short of options and as such making the reuniting of both parties inevitable.
However, should Mourinho make his much-anticipated return to Chelsea, he must understand that this is a club that has enjoyed success to the highest level since his departure despite the lack of stability at the club. In addition to domestic triumphs, Chelsea have added continental titles to their trophy cabinet since the exit of Mourinho, something even Mourinho himself was unable to achieve in his three years at west London.
So, in addition to proving that he can still walk the walk as much as he talks the talk, he also has to prove to Abramovich the he is the man to that can combine success with stability at Chelsea.
Watch it Jose! Much has changed since 2007.
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