An emotional Jose Mourinho celebrated an historic achievement having become the second manager to win five major European titles after Giovanni Trapattoni as his AS Roma side clinched the UEFA Europa Conference League on Wednesday.
Mourinho, who had previously won the Champions League, Europa League and the UEFA Cup, completed a unique European trophy haul as Roma beat Feyenoord 1-0 in Tirana to ensure he could add the inaugural Conference League to his collection.
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That is five European finals at Porto, Internazionale, Manchester United and Roma since 2003 that Mourinho has coached in and five times he has taken home the trophy. The win also makes him the only coach in European history to have won the Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and, now, the Conference League.
“The great thing about my career is that, aside from the Europa League with Manchester United, doing it with Porto, Inter and Roma is very, very, very special,” Mourinho said.
“It is one thing to win when everyone expects it, when you made the investments to win, but it’s quite another to win when something feels immortal, that feels truly special.
“This remains in the history of Roma, but also mine. I was told only I, Sir Alex [Ferguson] and Giovanni Trapattoni won trophies in three different decades. It makes me feel a little old, but it’s nice for my career.”
It represented a fine end to his first season in the Italian capital for Mourinho, having steered his side to a sixth-placed finish in Serie A this term.
The Portuguese has no plans to seek new challenges, as he is already looking to next season with the club.
“Now I am staying, there are no doubts,” Mourinho added. “Even if some rumours emerge, I only want to remain at Roma.
“We must understand what our owners, who are fantastic people, want to do next season, because this is history, but we can build a really strong project with honest professionals.
“Of course I feel like a Romanista, but that might be my way of working. I am a Porto fan, an Inter fan, a Chelsea fan, I am crazy about Real Madrid, I am now a Roma fan. I belong to all those clubs because we had these moments together.”
On the losing side of the final, Feyenoord captain Justin Bijlow said they missed the chance to put the club back on the map after their first appearance in a European final in 20 years ended in deep disappointment.
“This is terrible. We really wanted to take the cup with us, to thank the supporters and to put Feyenoord back on the map. Unfortunately it didn’t work out like that,” said goalkeeper Bijlow.
Bijlow said Feyenoord applied plenty of pressure and caused Roma difficulties.
“You saw they had trouble dealing with us. But unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. It’s a bit of cliche, but it was 20 years ago that we last played in a European final. That sounds nice, but it is true. But for now it’s especially terrible that we can’t take the cup to Rotterdam.”
Coach Arne Slot tried to soften the blow for his players after the match.
“I told them I couldn’t take the disappointment away from them, but I also said that it was a privilege to work with this team every day this season,” he said.
“There hasn’t been a day that we haven’t enjoyed being on the training field together.”