This morning, I woke up, had my avocado toast for breakfast (yeah yeah, I’m a millennial, sue me), made my cappuccino and promptly spat it out while scrolling through Twitter. Why? Well, because this morning wasn’t like a typical Tuesday morning. This morning, the Giallorossi made one of the more unexpected managerial moves of the past decade:
Honestly, I had to check to see if this was a fake account and barely believed it was real for a solid ten minutes. After months of speculation that Roma would sign Maurizio Sarri, The Friedkin Group once again showed that the Roman press really have no clue what’s going on inside the club these days by shooting out two quick-fire announcements regarding the managerial position. We’ve already written about the first (Paulo Fonseca leaving the club at the end of the season), but who would’ve thought that we’d have definitive news confirming the club’s next manager today, and who would’ve thought that it’d be José Mourinho?
Here’s the club’s announcement in full:
AS Roma are delighted to announce an agreement has been reached with José Mourinho to become the club’s new head coach.
Mourinho has agreed a three-year contract with the Giallorossi that will run until 30 June 2024. He will begin his new role ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
“We are thrilled and delighted to welcome José Mourinho into the AS Roma family,” club president Dan Friedkin and vice-president Ryan Friedkin said.
“A great champion who has won trophies at every level, José will provide tremendous leadership and experience to our ambitious project.
“The appointment of José is a huge step in building a long-term and consistent winning culture throughout the club.”
Mourinho, 58, is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport – having won 25 major trophies in his career to date.
“Thank you to the Friedkin family for choosing me to lead this great club and to be part of their vision,” Mourinho said.
“After meetings with the ownership and Tiago Pinto, I immediately understood the full extent of their ambitions for AS Roma. It is the same ambition and drive that has always motivated me and together we want to build a winning project over the upcoming years.
“The incredible passion of the Roma fans convinced me to accept the job and I cannot wait to start next season.
“In the meantime, I wish Paulo Fonseca all the best and I hope the media appreciate that I will only speak further in due course. Daje Roma!”
Mourinho is one of only three managers to date to have won the UEFA Champions League with two different clubs, a feat he has also repeated in the UEFA Europa League.
He is a three-time winner of the Premier League (with Chelsea in 2005, 2006 and 2015), while he has also won top-flight titles in Italy, Spain and Portugal.
“When José became available, we immediately jumped at the chance to speak with one of the greatest managers of all time,” said Tiago Pinto, Roma’s General Manager (Football).
“We were blown away by José’s desire to win and his passion for the game: no matter how many trophies he has won, his primary focus is always on the next one. He possesses the knowledge, experience and leadership to compete at all levels.
“We know that in order to build a successful sporting project it takes time, patience and the right people in the right positions. We are supremely confident that José will be the perfect coach for our project, for both our immediate and long-term future.
“Together with the vision and ambition of Dan and Ryan Friedkin, we will build the foundations of a new AS Roma.”
Clearly, we’re going to be writing a lot about this development in the next couple weeks, but make no mistake: this is yet another statement of intent from The Friedkin Group. You don’t sign José Mourinho to scrape your way into the Europa League; you sign José Mourinho to win trophies. With a signing like this, you also have to imagine that Tiago Pinto is going to spend some serious money in the summer.
Who’s to say whether The Special One will find success in Rome or not, but I can guarantee that at the very least, Romanisti are in for an interesting time.