Jose Mourinho’s luck at Tottenham finally ran out on Monday as he was dramatically sacked, just six days before a Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.
Since returning to English football in 2013, Mourinho has been sacked by Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham and now finds himself at a crossroads with his next move unclear.
His reputation in England, having departed north London with Tottenham seventh in the Premier League, has plummeted but he still has supporters in Spain and Italy for his time at Real Madrid and Inter Milan respectively.
So, what now? Is it time to go to Major League Soccer in the United States for a final pay-day? Or is he intrigued by the Portugal national team job following this summer’s European championships? Sportsmail looks at his options…
Jose Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham on Monday as he leaves them seventh in the table
His old side Inter Milan are on the cusp of their first Serie A title since he left in 2009-10 and so an immediate return to the San Siro appears remote.
But his legacy in Italy remains intact having walked away from Inter having guided them to a famous Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble.
It was an incredible season, one of the best in Inter’s 113-year history and so he will forever be loved by fans of the Milanese club.
If Italy is to be his landing spot the jobs that look soon to appear on the managerial carousel are Juventus and Napoli, rather than back where it went so well a decade ago.
Mourinho will forever be remembered fondly at Inter Milan, where he won the treble in 2010
Andrea Pirlo is under increasing pressure at Juventus with a place in the top four in serious jeopardy after a 1-0 defeat to Atalanta in Bergamo this weekend.
Maurizio Sarri, like Mourinho a former Chelsea boss, was unpopular at Juventus last season but at least managed to win Serie A, something Pirlo is not close to repeating.
Chairman Andrea Agnelli will be familiar with Mourinho’s stature in the game and while Juventus are said to be keen on bringing former midfielder Zinedine Zidane back to Turin as their next boss, don’t rule out a splash for Mourinho.
It would be a tricky one to balance for supporters given Inter’s fierce rivalry with Juventus but given Mourinho made nothing of joining Tottenham – despite Chelsea fans’ deep hatred for their London rivals – this one would be far from impossible.
Inter is an unlikely job opening but pressure on Andrea Pirlo (left) at Juventus and Gennaro Gattuso (right) at Napoli could provide potential options for Mourinho if he returns to Italy
The other job that could soon open up is Napoli where question marks have been placed on Gennaro Gattuso’s long-term suitability.
Months of negotiations over a contract extension to keep Gattuso in Naples appear to have been fruitless and so that situation is seen as irreparable heading into the final few weeks of the season.
Many may be put off by the difficulties presented by Napoli owner Aurelio de Laurentiis but Mourinho has worked under Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, Florentino Perez at Real Madrid and Daniel Levy at Tottenham, all of which are renowned as fierce owners and chairman to work with.
While Mourinho is damaged goods in England, his time in Italy brought great success and so a return does not appear out of the question.
If not Italy – what about Spain?
Three seasons at Real Madrid brought just one LaLiga title, one Copa del Rey and one Spanish Super Cup.
Los Blancos have won it twice since he left, both under Zinedine Zidane, but do not underestimate Mourinho’s relationship with Florentino Perez.
Speaking about Real Madrid when he was announced as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor in November 2019, Mourinho was incredibly complimentary about the LaLiga side.
‘I have many friends there, and the President is the first,’ he said.
The Portuguese boss (second from left) was a success at Real Madrid in his three years in Spain
Mourinho (right) has an close relationship with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez (left)
JOSE MOURINHO’S NEXT CLUB ODDS
Portugal National Team 11/2
Any MLS Team 11/2
England national team 10/1
Any Chinese Super League Team 14/1
Atletico Madrid 20/1
Bayern Munich 25/1
West Ham 25/1
Republic of Ireland National Team 25/1
Crystal Palace 33/1
Spain National Team 40/1
Odds courtesy of Betfair
‘We are friends, we talk and exchange text messages. He loves me, and I love him.
‘Even after all the trophies we won, what I feel most honored about is the friends that I have at each club that I have trained. We all already know that the period in Madrid was incredible for me, we did spectacular things.’
What Zidane is doing amid an avalanche of injuries at Real Madrid is nothing short of sublime and he could yet win both LaLiga and the Champions League.
But Juventus are keen and could offer him a new challenge if Real fall short in both competitions.
Barcelona seems a highly unlikely landing spot given Mourinho’s history with the Catalan side and so it would take Zidane’s departure to open the door. But were that to be the case, Mourinho is likely to be the first name Perez would want to call.
Even Mourinho’s loyalest disciple will concede that the future does not look bright for the axed boss in England.
To paraphrase hit song the ‘Cha Cha Slide‘, how low can Mourinho go?
He has had two bites at the apple with Chelsea, got booted out due to player unrest at Manchester United and now Tottenham have decided they are better off without him.
Mourinho is halfway through the ‘Big Six’ jobs but with Pep Guardiola not moving from Man City any time soon, Liverpool fiercely loyal to Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal seeming to stick by Mikel Arteta, there seems no obvious job opening.
This sacking could see Mourinho lay low for a while, maybe take time out with family, do some media work as it commonplace for out of work bosses before assessing the lay of the land for a big job.
He likes living in London but London, in recent years, has not proven too kind in return. Hard to see a way back in England for the once proclaimed ‘Special One’.
Mourinho has proven difficult for players to get along with and his stock in England is low
Based on Betfair’s odds on his next move, Mourinho comes in at 11/2 to take over at any club in Major League Soccer.
It is a rapidly developing league with bigger and bigger names heading across the Atlantic on and off the pitch in recent years.
David Beckham is in his second year as owner of his Inter Miami team and he has acquired players such as former Real Madrid and Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain as well as ex-PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
Mourinho would be able to command a huge contract given his standing in the game and the profile he would generate for whichever club could entice him to make the move.
Leaving European football would be a sign that Mourinho feels his better days are behind him and so it would not be a decision to take lightly.
David Beckham’s Inter Miami have raised profile of MLS but Mourinho would be a huge coup
It is not a league he is completely unfamiliar with, either.
Back in January of this year, via MLSSoccer.com, he revealed he tries to watch matches when he can.
‘When I can and when the time difference allows me, I watch sometimes MLS matches,’ Mourinho revealed.
‘I know that you have in this moment also lots of foreign players coming from Central American countries and others, but there are still good [homegrown] players coming and you give them the opportunity.’
The big question is, does he want a piece of the action? Time for Jose’s own star spangled banner…
OR WHAT ABOUT AN INTERNATIONAL JOB?
This one seems the likeliest of all scenarios, even if it would represent complications.
Mourinho is a club manager at heart and so giving up the day-to-day for a cyclical approach, watching players from afar for much of the year, would be a detachment from everything he has known so far.
But he has made no secret of his desire to one day take charge of the Portuguese national team.
‘Yes, I want to coach a national team, I want to have the experience of a World Cup and European Championship, the emotion of the short competition,’ Mourinho said back in September.
Mourinho has previously stated his desire to one day manage the Portuguese national team
‘Is Portugal the one I want do do? On one side yes as it is my heart. But it is very difficult to do it with the country you were born in.’
It’s not just difficult from an emotional perspective, current incumbent in that job, Fernando Santos, is under contract until 2024 and has made no noises to suggest he is looking for a quick way out.
A lot can change, a poor performance at the Euros this summer, for example, could move the needle but having won Euro 2016 in France, Santos’ reputation is flying high.
Talk of the England national team or the Spanish national team seems unlikely but, again, stranger things have happened and Mourinho will no doubt be an interested spectator as the Euros unfolds.
Current Portugal boss Fernando Santos is under contract until 2024 which complicates a deal