Jose Mourinho Returning to Chelsea Represents a Desperate Yet Dangerous Reunion
It's not quite the arrival that we were expecting, given the occasion and the parties involved, but it's official: Jose Mourinho is back.
The return hardly comes as a shock after several weeks of speculation linking Mourinho with a second spell at Chelsea. The inevitable revealing of his return, courtesy of his former boss Florentino Perez, was announced on Sunday, with the Real Madrid supremo also wishing him good luck at Chelsea, per ESPN.
In light of this, Mourinho's leaked interview with Spanish television station, per Reuters, that he would like to take over at Chelsea, and was then pictured at Heathrow as he arrived for what we can now assume were talks with the Blues.
Perhaps there's two reasons as to why Mourinho was less keen to gather the press and make a huge matter of his second coming, though.
On the one hand, you could argue that perhaps the 50-year-old was aware that he wasn't the overall first choice to return, if you remember the whole debacle with Pep Guardiola's decision to snub Chelsea and join Bayern Munich, per The Independent.
Additionally, Mourinho has just experienced something unusual in his culture: losing. For the first time in his 11-year managerial career, the former Porto coach finished a season without silverware and worse so, at the world's most demanding club, Real Madrid.
Even if the events that led to the return of the Portuguese tactician were odd, if not unspectacular, the important point is that he is back where he belongs.
And it's been far too long, Jose. Almost six years, to be exact.
Nobody will be more aware of that gap, and how much has changed during those six years. Seven managers—Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and finally Rafa Benitez—have all come and gone during that period.
And while it's fair to say that neither would have picked each other as their first-choice, it's a move that suits both parties when they are seemingly struggling; Chelsea only managed to win the Europa League last season, while Mourinho struggled to handle the egos at the Santiago Bernabeu.
If anything, the West London club have perhaps swooped for Mourinho at the best possible point. The Mourinho who has arrived is hurt, angry and determined to get it right in the second attempt.
When Jose Mourinho wants to make something right, it's fair to say he doesn't usually disappoint.
It's a different situation altogether, though, when he comes to Stamford Bridge on the back of a trophy-barren season, having arrived shortly after winning the Champions League with Porto in 2004.
But those who feel Mourinho will struggle may not be too familiar with how the man from Setubal has earned the respect of the majority of players and coaches from around the globe.
Of course, the distinction between Mourinho's squad and the one he inherits now resembles just how much Chelsea have changed as a club. What hasn't changed is the ambition and passion that Chelsea possess to become one of the biggest.
With young players such as Eden Hazard, Oscar and Romelu Lukaku displaying their level of quality in the past season, many say that Mourinho will need to change his style of management, given his loyalty to the 'unplayables' Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard.
The old guard have shown they are still key to Chelsea's success, but Mourinho will need to manage the trio even more so now that all are over the age of 30.
He can learn from Villas-Boas' mistake to withdraw them all at the same time, while also adapting from his own errors. For the club to progress, young players need to be involved, and Mourinho needs to understand that.
The purchase of Raphael Varane while at Real Madrid showed that perhaps he learnt from the errors of his ways, and as the French starlet has impressed at Los Merengues, it has given Mourinho a new outlet to add into his management style.
In his previous stint at Chelsea, the failure to bring young players through the academy was the one grey mark around his three-year spell. The fact they were not given a realistic chance of breaking through meant Chelsea had to keep spending to bring new players in, and the club have moved on significantly since then.
Perhaps when Sir Alex Ferguson retired from his post, Mourinho lost one of his greatest rivals in the game, and the very fact that Mourinho himself would have liked the job at Old Trafford may cause some Blues supporters to oppose his very return.
A certainty is that the media will be praising this decision for weeks to come. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can dictate a press conference better than Mourinho.
If Real Madrid lost a game and he is under pressure from the press, there would have been no qualms with sending Aitor Karanka instead. In England, it's different. He relishes the questions, and usually replies with an intelligent response, or at times, a humorous anecdote.
Mourinho has previously stated that he feels more at home in England, but the media will ensure that while they respect him, criticism will be given out where it is deserved.
All in all, I can't think of another time where a manager will be welcomed back as much as Mourinho. Love him or hate him, he makes the Premier League far more controversial and exciting as a result of his righteous arrogance.
And for that, he should rightly be welcomed back. Not just by Chelsea fans, but by football supporters.
Jose Mourinho is back. Be prepared for a bumpy ride, folks.
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