Chelsea: Why Jose Mourinho Is Destined to Return to Stamford Bridge
Every Chelsea supporter knows where he or she was on the morning of Sept. 20, 2007.
It was news which did not make sense, but this is Chelsea, the club where precious little logic has been involved in recent years.
Frank Lampard plays the best football of his career but is not offered a new deal, Carlo Ancelotti wins the Premier League and FA Cup in his first season but is sacked the following year after failing to win a trophy. Roberto Di Matteo is axed six months after winning the Champions League.
There is neither rhyme nor reason to the whims of Abramovich. Until now, it seems.
It could be a destination where I have coached before. There are things that may be about to happen no one could imagine.
There is little doubt that Abramovich has made a PR error with his appointment of Rafael Benitez to succeed Di Matteo as interim manager of the club until the end of the season.
Many Chelsea supporters, still seething from the former Liverpool manager's words about their club while in charge at Anfield, have jeered the Spaniard from the stands throughout his tenure.
There is no love lost between Mourinho and Benitez either. The ex-Inter Milan boss was caught on camera dismissing the appointment of the current Chelsea manager in a conversation with his former player, Maicon.
Mourinho for Benitez at Stamford Bridge? It is difficult to know who would be more satisfied at that outcome, the Portuguese or the supporters.
But Benitez is now a peripheral figure in the Chelsea story despite the possibility of him leading the team to an FA Cup win and a top-four finish in the Premier League.
There has always seemed to be a sense of destiny around Mourinho and Abramovich, as though the two characters are intertwined in a way that makes Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw look like a joyous union.
Chelsea might have won the Champions League, a Premier League and three FA Cups since Mourinho left, but there has never been an invincibility around those Stamford Bridge successes.
The Portuguese has enjoyed successes with FC Porto, Inter and Real in his career, but it is arguable that his heart will always have a blue flag flying above it.
Abramovich has been through seven full-time and part-time managers, not counting Ray Wilkins' caretaker role after Luiz Felipe Scolari's dismissal in 2009, since Mourinho left, underlining an instability for any coach at the club.
Though missing out on Pep Guardiola to Bayern Munich last month must have been a big blow for the Russian oligarch, a return for the self-anointed "Special One" could soothe that hurt.
Bridges will have to be built at the Bridge, but a recent £350,000 gift to Mourinho from Abramovich (via Metro) was viewed as a foundation after the two men fell out in the Portguese's last spell with the club.
A chance remark to Abramovich accounted for Mourinho in his first stint as manager, according to The Independent, an indication of how far apart the two men had become despite the success generated by the Russian's finances and the Portuguese's on-field artistry.
The Chelsea owner has never been unduly concerned at popularity and courting approval, but this season has been such a poor exercise in public relations that a significant choice is required at Stamford Bridge.
Last night, Porto youth coach Rui Sa Lemos appeared to reveal Chelsea would be Mourinho's next destination on his Twitter feed. That account does not exist, but the original Tweet is still available via SBNation.com.
Is he mischief-making or in on the story? Only two men will truly know the answer, but compromise is not a word associated with two of the biggest egos in the world game.
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