José Mourinho is to take over as manager of Roma next season, after receiving assurances he will be given significant power over transfers and time to achieve success at a club set to finish this campaign seventh in Serie A.
Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham in April after 17 months and has not spent more than two and a half seasons in a job since leaving Real Madrid in 2013. He has a three-year contract at Roma and is convinced there is scope to make them serious challengers after Juventus’s nine-year reign as champions was ended by his former club Internazionale.
Roma’s Portuguese general manager, Tiago Pinto, is a strong admirer of Mourinho and contacted him about a week after the 58-year-old’s departure from Spurs. The president, Dan Friedkin, and vice-president, Ryan Friedkin, then flew to Portugal to meet Mourinho and spell out their vision.
Major changes will follow, with players such as Alessandro Florenzi and Cengiz Ünder set to return from loans and be sold. Mourinho and Pinto will collaborate on reconstructing the squad but the manager has been promised by the Friedkin family that he will get a major say. Roma announced Paulo Fonseca would leave his role as head coach at the end of this season.
Mourinho said of Roma’s plans: “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.”
Pinto said the club had been “blown away by José’s desire to win and his passion for the game”. Roma have not secured a trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2008 and last won Serie A in 2001, under Fabio Capello. On Thursday they play at home against Manchester United in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final, trailing 6-2.
Dan and Ryan Friedkin said: “The appointment of José is a huge step in building a long-term and consistent winning culture.” Mourinho was at Inter for two seasons from 2008-09, winning Serie A twice and the Champions League before leaving for Madrid. Inter are now managed by Antonio Conte, with whom Mourinho has clashed in the past.