Cristiano Ronaldo is still an elite talent who has no plans to slow down, according to new Roma boss Jose Mourinho.

Juventus forward Ronaldo has been linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain after his side failed to retain their Serie A title and struggled in the Champions League last season.

The 36-year-old himself, though, had another productive campaign, topping the Serie A goalscoring charts with 29 goals and finishing with 36 in all competitions.

Mourinho managed Ronaldo at Real Madrid and is now set to face him with Roma, unless his former player does indeed make a move.

"He should leave Italy now and leave me in peace!" Mourinho joked in an interview with talkSPORT.

"Everybody says, and I say the same, he is not 25 any more. He is 36 and he doesn't score 50 goals, but how many did he score? The record is [still] incredible, the numbers speak by themselves."

Ronaldo is preparing to play a part in Euro 2020 with Portugal as the country bid to retain their continental title which was won five years ago.

He will be just months from his 38th birthday by the time of the next World Cup in Qatar and Mourinho thinks that event is among many factors which have motivated the veteran to remain at the highest level.

Asked what drove Ronaldo on, Mourinho said: "I think records and he wants to not just play in this Euros but the World Cup.

"He is a legend, one of the big names that stays forever in football history, but the guy motivates himself with numbers and new things.

"He wants to win the gold ball X times, the golden boot X times, he wants to get the record from the Iran player for goals for an international team."

Mourinho does not think Ronaldo gets particularly angry by negative comparisons to Lionel Messi and feels he uses any criticism as fuel.

"I think critics motivate him," said Mourinho. "I think he feels, 'If people criticise me, it's because of who I am, I did what I did and I'll still try to do it'.

"He still gets that extra motivation. As an opponent, you should be quiet and not say a wrong word about him because that will always be motivation for him.

"He is the player everyone thinks he is and he is mentally very, very strong."

Ronaldo and Portugal start their Euros campaign against Hungary on Tuesday, with a strong start essential given France and Germany are also in Group F. 

But Portugal have failed to win their first game in the last five major tournaments, their last success in an opener coming at Euro 2008 against Turkey.

Ronaldo holds the Euros tournament record for most games (21), and most goals (9, joint with Michel Platini).

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has revealed how he has fallen in love with Roma after extending his contract with the Serie A club, meaning he will once again work with Jose Mourinho.

Having already spent a season on loan at the Giallorossi, Mkhitaryan joined on a permanent basis a year ago and was a regular during the 2020-21 campaign under Paulo Fonseca.

The Armenia international scored 15 goals and provided 11 assists as he made 46 appearances in all competitions, including a run to the Europa League semi-finals that came to an emphatic halt against one of his former teams in Manchester United.

His new deal will see the 32-year-old stay for a further season after embracing life in Rome.

"Over the last two years at Roma I've fallen in love, both with the club and the city, thanks in large part to the incredible passion of the fans," Mkhitaryan said.

"The club's ambitions are very high and I am proud to have the chance to play my part as we take on all the challenges that await us next season. Daje Roma!"

However, Mkhitaryan will no longer be working with Fonseca, the Portuguese coach having been replaced by compatriot Mourinho at the Stadio Olimpico.

Mourinho was in charge at United when the Premier League side signed Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund in July 2016.

The midfielder played in 41 games during his first campaign at Old Trafford but did not make it through the next year. Criticised by Mourinho for his lack of consistency, he joined Arsenal in January 2018 as part of the deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move in the opposite direction.

Now, though, Mkhitaryan and Mourinho are reunited at Roma, who will be playing in the Europa Conference League after finishing seventh in Serie A.

Granit Xhaka is "proud" to hear of interest from new Roma coach Jose Mourinho, but the Arsenal midfielder insists his focus is solely on Euro 2020.

Former Tottenham manager Mourinho was appointed as Paulo Fonseca's replacement at Roma shortly after he was dismissed by Spurs in April, with his contract starting ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

Yet speculation is already rife that Xhaka, Arsenal's former club captain, is one of Mourinho's priority transfer targets.

Xhaka has spent five seasons at Arsenal since joining from Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach, though the Switzerland international has not always been a popular figure with the club's fanbase.

Nevertheless, he has featured consistently in the first team under Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta, and the 28-year-old – who played more minutes in all competitions last season than any other Arsenal outfield player – still has two years left to run on his contract.

Xhaka is already with the Switzerland squad as they prepare for Euro 2020, and pressed on his future, he told Swiss-German publication Blick: "Of course I read the rumours too. But now I'm one hundred per cent focused on the national team. 

"That's more important than Arsenal or rumours right now. I still have a two-year contract in London, and at Arsenal they know what they have got in me. When the time comes and we can, and may have to talk about a transfer, I'll be there."

Asked to comment on what Mourinho's reported interest means to him, Xhaka added: "Honestly, I didn't hear what Mourinho said, but that makes you proud. 

"Everyone knows Mourinho, knows what he has achieved. Mourinho knows how to win titles. You can now see what work I have done over the past few years."

WHAT COULD XHAKA BRING TO ROMA?

Xhaka scored one goal in 2020-21, providing two assists and creating 20 chances in total, with all of those opportunities coming in open play.

Roma would also benefit from Xhaka's consistent availability. Of Arsenal midfielders, only Bukayo Saka (46) made more appearances than Xhaka in all competitions.

Bryan Cristante (48), Lorenzo Pellegrini, Gonzalo Villar (both 47) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (46) ranked ahead of Xhaka for appearances in terms of Roma midfielders, but the Swiss started more games than any of them (42).

Xhaka's passing accuracy of 89.89 per cent ranks him third out of Roma and Arsenal midfielders to play at least 10 times across all competitions, with only Mohamed Elneny (92.08) and Martin Odegaard (90.38) bettering his success rate.

It is Xhaka's defensive work that perhaps goes under the radar, especially with his tendency to lunge in recklessly, a trait that has seen him receive three straight red cards in his Arsenal career, but he is far clear in the recoveries rankings, having regained possession 281 times in 2020-21, with Cristante (235) Roma's best player in that regard.

Only Mkhitaryan (75) went in for more tackles than Xhaka (74), though his tackle success rate was down at 50 per cent, lower than 10 other Arsenal or Roma midfielders who have played at least 10 times last term.

Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid have made official what has long been rumoured – they are parting ways, again.

The Frenchman’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu was a hot topic for weeks, at times overshadowing Madrid's attempts to retain their league crown.

In the end, despite Los Blancos producing an 18-game unbeaten run in LaLiga as they surged towards the finishing line, Atletico Madrid did just enough to keep their noses in front in a title race that went down to the wire.

The focus for Madrid now turns to finding a replacement: What about club legend Raul? Or could the suddenly available Antonio Conte be tempted by a project in Spain?

And what next for Zidane? As so often is the case with sequels, the second episode was not quite able to live up to the standards of the original production. Still, as Opta data shows, he leaves with an impressive coaching resume across his spells in charge in the Spanish capital.

Better than Beenhakker, behind Benitez

First, the basic numbers: Zidane had 263 games in charge in all competitions across his two tenures in Madrid, winning 65.4 per cent of them.

He achieved a points-per-game ratio of 2.17, which seems impressive, right? Well, perhaps surprisingly, that average sits behind both Rafael Benitez (2.21) and Manuel Pellegrini (2.35), two coaches who did not last anywhere near as long in the job.

Indeed, Pellegrini's time in charge spanned just 48 games, despite winning him 36 of them. In his solitary LaLiga campaign, Los Blancos collected 96 points – good enough for only second place, behind Pep Guardiola's Barcelona. Despite such an impressive points record, the Chilean made way as Jose Mourinho arrived from Inter.

Zidane also finished runner-up in the 2020-21 campaign, unable to quite close the gap on Atleti down the stretch.

In comparison to the notable head coaches who reached a century of matches, both Mourinho (2.31) and Carlo Ancelotti (2.36) exceeded Zidane in terms of points per game. Leo Beenhakker – who won three successive titles in the late 1980s – however, managed 2.11 during his reign.


The reunion and a second LaLiga title

Zidane's second spell lowered his overall points-per-game average, as he won 68 out of 114 matches upon his return. That is a notable drop-off when compared to his time between January 2016 and the end of the 2017-18 season, when he rattled along at 2.29 points per outing.

His win percentage in LaLiga in his initial spell was a mighty impressive 70.8, yet Madrid still only finished top of the table once in that time, crowned champions at the end of the 2016-17 season when collecting 93 points, enough to be above a Barca squad coached by Luis Enrique in the final table.

However, since Zidane sensationally agreed to replace Santiago Solari in March 2019, Madrid have the best record in LaLiga.

That 87-game span produced 188 points, three more than rivals Barcelona managed - though both won the same number of games (56) - and it puts Madrid 12 points ahead of newly crowned champions Atleti.

Having set a ridiculously high bar in his initial stint, Zidane has not been able to match his previous successes in the Champions League either.

Madrid were already out of the 2018-19 competition when he came back to the job, stunningly beaten 4-1 at home by Ajax in the second leg of a last-16 tie. They fell in the same round a year later to Manchester City and, while able to get past Atalanta and Liverpool in the knockout stages in 2021, a 3-1 aggregate semi-final loss to Chelsea ended hopes of further European glory.


Life with and without Ronaldo

It helped Zidane first time around that he had a star-studded squad at his disposal, most of whom were in their prime. Plenty were still around for a reunion when he took over again, though one notable departure had left a sizeable gap in the squad.

Just like his head coach, Cristiano Ronaldo decided the time was right to leave Madrid after they had been crowned Champions League winners for a third successive year in 2018. A move to Juventus broke up the formidable 'BBC' triumvirate, the forward having prospered when playing alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

The Portuguese superstar departed as the club's all-time leading scorer, with 112 of his Madrid goals coming while working under Zidane. That is the same number as he managed when Ancelotti was at the helm, while four behind his career tally with Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

However, Ronaldo's most successful player-coach alliance in terms of scoring output was with Mourinho, when he managed 168 working alongside his compatriot. 

Perhaps surprisingly, Zidane's Madrid were actually better without the five-time Ballon d'Or winner during his initial reign, at least in terms of average goals for and win percentage.

When Ronaldo was involved, the head coach won 68.4 per cent of matches, his team scoring at a rate of 2.6 goals per game. However, without him, those figures actually climbed to 74.3 per cent and 2.8 goals for. Addition by subtraction perhaps, but Madrid's loss was certainly a gain for Juve when the superstar decided he wanted a new challenge in Turin.

Zidane, too, will now contemplate what is next in his coaching career. Considering his ties to Madrid, the possibility of a third stint should not be ruled out.

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford admitted former manager Jose Mourinho's style of play prevented him from playing his best football.

Mourinho spent two and a half years in charge of United, where he worked with Rashford before being sacked by the Premier League giants in 2018.

Rashford scored five league goals during Mourinho's first season in 2016-17 and followed that up with another seven in 2017-18 as the Portuguese often preferred either Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Romelu Lukaku at the time.

The 23-year-old Rashford, who won the Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield during Mourinho's tenure, finished with just 15 Premier League goals under the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss prior to his sacking midway through the 2018-19 season.

England international Rashford has since flourished under Mourinho's replacement Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he reflected on the Portuguese's tenure in Manchester.

"I think that's when we play our best football [when we can be flexible]," Rashford told BT Sport when asked if Mourinho allowed the players to express themselves in attack.

"Under Jose I would say everything was a bit [points] 'you play there, you play there, you play there'.

"And yeah, you can do a job, but it was difficult for me to play my best football."

Having scored a career-best 17 Premier League goals in 2019-20, Rashford has 10 goals this season and 20 across all competitions.

Rashford has broken the 20-goal mark for United in back-to-back seasons under Solskjaer.

His form has helped United to second in the Premier League and a Europa League final berth against Villarreal.

Rashford, meanwhile, has scored more Premier League goals against Leicester City than he has versus any other side in the competition (five) as the Red Devils prepare to host Brendan Rodgers' team on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho is already plotting his moves in his first transfer window at Roma, where he will take charge at the end of the season.

The Portuguese reportedly is hoping to bring players he already knows to Serie A.

Could a pair of Red Devils and Spurs be headed to the Italian capital? 

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES FAMILIAR FACES

Jose Mourinho may turn to his Premier League connections to bolster his first Roma side. 

Manchester United pair Nemanja Matic and David de Gea are among the players with Old Trafford legacies on Mourinho's wish list, according to the Daily Mirror and Todofichajes. 

Among more recent Mourinho pupils, Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are among the Spurs players who stand as possibilities, says Corriere dello Sport. 

Football London also linked Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura with possible Roma moves as former Tottenham head coach Mourinho prepares to replace Paulo Fonseca ahead of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Corriere dello Sport reports Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Spain international Fabian has been heavily linked with Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Fellow midfielder Milinkovic-Savic, meanwhile, continues to be linked with the likes of Inter, Juventus, United and PSG.

Yves Bissouma could be headed to Manchester City as a replacement for Fernandinho, the Daily Star claims. City are said to be confident they can strike a £30million deal for the 24-year-old Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder. The Daily Express, however, has Arsenal leading the fight for the Mali international, with TottenhamWest Ham and Everton also potential landing spots. 

Chelsea may bring back striker Armando Broja on a lucrative contract after loaning the 19-year-old to Eredivisie outfit Vitesse Arnhem this term, Fabrizio Romano says, but other big clubs are circling as well.

- Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini is considering a move to MLS after his contract ends in June, Calciomercato reports. 

Miralem Pjanic could leave Barcelona as Sport claims the midfield outcast attracts interest from the likes of Chelsea and Inter

- Barca are considering the idea of allowing Francisco Trincao to leave on loan amid interest from Milan and Roma, according to Calciomercato. 

- RMC Sport says Milan have reached an agreement in principle to sign Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan at the end of the season. It comes amid doubts over the future of star Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is set to become a free agent. Yet to renew, Donnarumma has been linked with Juve, Tottenham, Chelsea and United.

Gareth Bale never had a chance to prove himself under former boss Jose Mourinho in his return to Tottenham, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett.

Bale has scored four times in the two games since Mourinho's sacking as Tottenham head coach, including a hat-trick against relegated Sheffield United last week.

The Wales international is on loan from LaLiga giants Real Madrid, with his future beyond 2020-21 uncertain.

Barnett believes his client may have been in fine form all along but was denied a chance to show it before interim coach Ryan Mason took the reins. 

"Given the opportunity, given the right way to play him, you may have found that he was always at his best," Barnett told Sky Sports News.

"He just didn't have the opportunity to prove it or the way to prove it."

Bale started only six league games under Mourinho, who was dismissed on April 19 before being appointed by Serie A side Roma this week.

"He had a tough ride and I don't think that should have been necessary," Barnett added. "He has been given that opportunity and you can see how he plays.

"I think with Gareth, like a lot of players, he has to enjoy his life and then you do well."

Bale – who scored his second Premier League hat-trick and first since December 2012 in the win over Sheffield United – has 14 goals across 30 appearances in all competitions this term. 

His three goals against Sheffield United came from six shots in total, five of those on target as he became the sixth Welshman to reach 50 Premier League goals.

The 31-year-old returned to Tottenham on a season-long loan from Madrid after seven years with the Spanish giants. 

Bale's loan expires in June and he will have one year remaining on his contract with Los Blancos. 

Jose Mourinho is a good fit in Serie A and could be the man to take Roma back to the top, according to former Inter midfielder Ciriaco Sforza.

Mourinho was this week appointed as Roma's head coach for next season, replacing Paulo Fonseca.

It is a return to Italy for a coach who celebrated the treble with Inter in 2009-10 before departing, having also won the league in the previous campaign.

Mourinho won 62.0 per cent of his 108 games in charge of the Nerazzurri, yet standards have since slipped.

The Portuguese lasted only 86 matches at Tottenham, winning a disappointing 51.2 per cent, before his dismissal last month.

But Sforza, who reached the 1997 UEFA Cup final with Inter, believes both Mourinho and Italian football can benefit from their reunion.

For Roma, who are without a Scudetto in 20 years and have not claimed a major trophy since 2008, the appointment might herald a long-awaited era of success.

"Mourinho is Mourinho. He will always remain the 'Special One'," Sforza told Stats Perform.

"You can't turn down an offer by AS Roma, and Italy is also a country where he has won everything. I also think that Mourinho fits in well in Italy mentality-wise.

"Roma is a team with a big tradition and they will build a new stadium. They have fantastic fans, so that fits.

"I also wish him the best of luck because he carries football in his heart. He always wants to win, he has this mentality. And this is great for Serie A.

"Italy needs people like this, Italy needs talent, which they have in the national team but they also need it in the teams.

"When you look at Roma, they always have big talents that don't progress. I think they will be able to progress now with Mourinho."

The Giallorossi have 27 points to make up to Inter, however, with Mourinho's former club confirmed as Serie A champions on Sunday.

It was Inter's first title since Mourinho's treble triumph, but Antonio Conte's record at San Siro is marginally even more impressive than that of his old rival.

Conte has won 62.2 per cent of his 98 games in charge, putting an end to Juventus' run of nine straight Scudetti.

Asked if he had anticipated this success, Sforza said: "To be honest, no. I know what it is like at Inter at the moment, there is a little bit of turmoil.

"But Conte and his coaching staff have managed to bring in this discipline, this hunger and winning mentality. He did that with brilliance.

"He followed his line and not the line of journalists and that brought him the success.

"I think they can establish themselves there, because they have a great manager, who knows what he wants and what he is capable of.

"I think through the support of the fans, the 'tifosi', and I think there will be support arriving in summer, they will do well and fight for the title again."

Real Madrid and Kylian Mbappe – the two parties have long been tipped to come together.

Mbappe is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain in 2022 and no closer to renewing his deal.

Madrid are reportedly moving closer to prising the France international to the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE POISED FOR MADRID MOVE?

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is edging closer to joining LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Diario AS.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap PSG for Madrid, though the Ligue 1 holds continue to try to re-sign the World Cup-winning forward.

PSG's Mbappe is determined to win the Champions League as he eyes the Santiago Bernabeu.


 

ROUND-UP

- Le Parisien, though, claims PSG are holding out hope on teaming Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi with Mbappe and Neymar in Paris. Messi is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked with PSG and Manchester City. Neymar has also been linked with a Barca return. However, Le Parisien reports PSG are prioritising a move for Messi while trying to retain Neymar and Mbappe.

Lautaro Martinez is on the verge of signing a new contract with Serie A champions Inter, says Gazzetta dello Sport. The Inter forward has been linked with Barca previously.

- Tuttosport reports star Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is a primary transfer target for Serie A rivals Juventus. Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international has not agreed fresh terms with Milan.

Borussia Dortmund will ask for less than €100million (£86m) to sell Jadon Sancho amid interest from United, Chelsea and Liverpool, says Fabrizio Romano.

- The Mirror says Liverpool are eyeing Roma star Lorenzo Pellegrini as incoming Giallorossi boss Jose Mourinho looks to overhaul the squad in the Italian capital. The front page of Thursday's Gazzetto dello Sport, meanwhile, claims Mourinho is looking to bring Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Madrid's Isco to Roma.

- Soon-to-be free agent and City star Sergio Aguero is dreaming of a Barcelona move, according to Romano. InterTottenham and Chelsea have also emerged as options for the veteran forward.

Maurizio Sarri is a candidate to take charge of Milan if Stefano Pioli fails to guide the Rossoneri into the Champions League, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. Sarri was reportedly set to join Roma before Mourinho's appointment.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli and Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad are on Barca's shortlist to replace Sergio Busquets, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Jose Mourinho has been backed to do a great job at Roma by Paulo Fonseca, the man he will be replacing at the Serie A club.

Roma announced on Tuesday that Fonseca will step down from his role at the end of the season to make way for the arrival of Mourinho.

It marks a swift return to management for the Portuguese, who was sacked by Tottenham on April 19 after a disappointing 17 months in charge. He left Spurs with a 51 per cent win ratio in all competitions - only with Leiria (45 per cent) at the start of his managerial career had he posted a worse return.

However, Mourinho won two league titles, the Coppa Italia twice and a Champions League during his only previous spell in Italian football, which was with Inter between 2008 and 2010.

Fonseca expects his successor to do well during his time in the Italian capital.

"He is a great coach, we all know that. I think he will do a great job," Fonseca said at a news conference on Wednesday previewing his side's Europa League clash with Manchester United.

Asked if the decision to step down at the end of the season was mutual, Fonseca replied: "Speaking honestly, I thought it was time to follow different paths with Roma.

"It is not one of the most difficult tests of my career, I live this moment with normality, as a professional focused on my work until the last day.

"For me, professionalism is a sacred value. I am here today as on the first day: motivated. I want to make the best of Rome until the last day."

Fonseca guided Roma to a fifth-placed finish in the 2019-20 season but they sit seventh this campaign, 14 points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.

An impressive run to the Europa League semi-finals appears likely to come to an end on Thursday, however, as United lead 6-2 heading into the second leg in Rome.

Yet Roma famously overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018 and Fonseca is not ruling out another miracle result.

"It's not easy to beat Manchester 4-0, but I've seen a lot of things in football. I believe in everything," he said.

Roma have not lost both legs of a two-legged knockout tie in major European competition (excluding qualifiers) since the 2015-16 Champions League last-16 meeting with Real Madrid.

Inter head coach Antonio Conte welcomed the news of Jose Mourinho's Roma appointment and deflected questions about his own future.

Former Chelsea boss Conte clashed publicly with Mourinho during the pair's time in England, when the latter led Premier League rivals Manchester United.

At one stage Mourinho referred to Conte as a "clown", while the latter called the Portuguese a "little man".

However, Conte insisted he fully respected ex-Inter coach Mourinho, who will replace Paulo Fonseca at Serie A rivals Roma from next season.

"It's great news for everybody, I wish him the best, except when he plays against Inter," Conte told Le Iene.

"For sure, there is great respect between us."

Conte's own future has been the subject of speculation, despite leading Inter to their first Scudetto since Mourinho's treble-winning campaign in 2009-10.

The former Italy and Juventus coach's contract expires in 2022 but his position is uncertain amid doubts over Inter's financial situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Let's enjoy this moment, there will be time to talk together, with the president [Steven Zhang] and the directors, to choose the best path for Inter," he said.

Conte earned his fourth Serie A title this season – only five other coaches in league history have managed at least four.

The 51-year-old is only the second coach in Serie A history to win a Scudetto with both Inter and Juve, joining Giovanni Trapattoni.

Jose Mourinho has quickly returned to work following his Tottenham departure last month.

Roma confirmed on Tuesday the 'Special One' would be taking over as their coach from the start of next season, replacing Paulo Fonseca.

For Mourinho, it means a return to a familiar league and some familiar faces – both within the Giallorossi dressing room and among the opposition.

Using Opta data, we take a look at what the Eternal City might be able to expect from Mourinho.

Mourinho may suit Smalling

Mourinho is likely to be more warmly welcomed by one former Manchester United man than another in the Roma team.

Centre-back Chris Smalling was a regular when fit under the Portuguese at Old Trafford.

Despite dealing with a number of issues during Mourinho's tenure, only David de Gea (113) and Paul Pogba (100) made more starts than Smalling's 91 in all competitions.

The former England defender led all United players in blocks (91), clearances (546) and aerial duels won (346) over this time.

United kept clean sheets in 36 of Smalling's 100 outings and he has continued this form in Italy to establish himself as Roma's main man at the back and someone Mourinho will surely rely on.

On the other hand, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was one of Mourinho's first signings in Manchester but struggled to convince the manager.

Although the midfielder contributed 13 goals, 10 assists and 96 key passes across 63 matches, he was used as a makeweight in the ill-fated Alexis Sanchez transfer in January 2018.

He will hope to get a second chance having joined Roma following a similarly unsuccessful stint with Arsenal.

War with San Siro successor

This is Mourinho's second job in Serie A after a hugely successful stretch at Inter where he won the treble. Only last weekend did the Nerazzurri claim the Scudetto for the first time since that triumph.

Mourinho's old rival Antonio Conte was the man to oversee this latest success, however, and there could well be fireworks when they go head to head again next season.

Conte was the next full-time Chelsea coach after Mourinho's second Stamford Bridge stay ended with a feeble title defence in 2015-16.

There was a rivalry then between the pair in the Premier League, the highlights including Mourinho describing Conte as "a clown on the touchline" before the current Inter boss returned fire: "I consider him a little man, I consider him a man with a very low profile."

Conte, a champion again with Inter, will be confident he can get the better of the Roma coach in 2021-22, though.

Mourinho has beaten Conte sides only twice in seven attempts, losing four times – including in their most recent meeting, an FA Cup final win for the Italian in 2018.

Jose back to his best?

That Inter stretch is widely remembered as Mourinho's peak – or at least his second peak.

He won as many titles in two seasons (two) as he has in 11 years since, while 2009-10 also brought his second and most recent Champions League crown.

Mourinho's win rate of 62.0 per cent was actually down on his prior two roles at Porto (69.6) and Chelsea (66.9) and his subsequent posting at Real Madrid (71.9).

But those lofty San Siro standards are some way clear of the level Mourinho has been operating at in recent seasons.

He won only 51.2 per cent of his matches at Tottenham and left without lifting a single trophy, albeit he was sacked just days before the EFL Cup final.

If Mourinho is to improve on that return with Roma, who are seventh in Serie A at present, he will have some work to do.

But the former Inter favourite has previously proven himself up to the task in Italy.

Old rivals Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho will come face-to-face once more next season.

Mourinho did not stay out of the spotlight for long after his sacking by Tottenham and has been confirmed as the new Roma head coach.

He will join the club ahead of the 2021-22 season on a three-year deal to compete in a league where Conte and his former club Inter have just ended a historic run of Juventus domestic dominance.

A bitter war of words erupted between the high-profile bosses when they were at Manchester United and Chelsea respectively in the Premier League.

Tensions had simmered between the pair since Conte's appointment as Mourinho's long-term successor at Stamford Bridge in 2016.

The Portuguese's proximity as a direct rival at United was never likely to encourage detente.

Mourinho and Conte have met seven times before as managers.

After their first meeting was a draw in 2010 as Inter took on Atalanta, Conte has taken four victories from the six meetings to take place since 2016, with just two wins going to the new Roma boss.

Here we have a look back what both men said during their rivalry at Chelsea and United, reviewing how the row rapidly escalated.
 

Prelude - Defensive teams and Mourinho seasons

Initially, as Chelsea marched to the Premier League title and United collected the EFL Cup and Europa League to compensate for a sixth-place finish in the top flight, the jibes between the two amounted to a sparring session, as opposed to an all-out verbal scrap.

The seeds were sown when Mourinho complained to Conte about his animated celebrations on the touchine – more on those later – as Chelsea thrashed United 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in October 2016.

Mourinho's favoured method of damning with faint praise was to the fore in February 2017, when he labelled the Premier League's leading side "a very good defensive team", while Conte warned Chelsea to avoid "the Mourinho season" – a handy shorthand for the perils of a dreadful title defence, such as the one endured at Stamford Bridge in 2015-16.

In addition, Mourinho suggested Conte was one of his rivals who, "they cry, they cry, they cry when a player is injured". In the Italian's opinion, the United boss was overly concerned with matters at his former club. The stage was set.

"I don't behave as a clown on the touchline"

While offering assurances over his United future in January 2018, having appeared increasingly morose around matches, Mourinho identified an aspect of his behaviour he believes sets him apart from his colleagues.

"Because I don't behave as a clown on the touchline it means I lost my passion?" he said. "I prefer to behave the way I am doing it, much more mature, better for my team and myself.

"You don't have to behave like a crazy guy on the touchline to have that passion."

Mourinho could arguably have been referencing Conte, Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp. All three men were asked about his comments at the time; only one took the bait.

"Demenza Senile"

Speaking a day later, Conte was quick to accuse Mourinho of hypocrisy in a rather eye-catching manner.

"I think that he has to see himself in the past, maybe he was speaking about himself in the past, yeah?" he said.

"Maybe sometimes, I think that someone forgets his behaviour and sometimes I think there is, I don't know the name, 'demenza senile' when you are a bit... when you forget what you do in the past."

Despite the literal translation being "senile dementia", Chelsea were forced to clarify Conte had been searching for the Italian word for "amnesia".

Either way, this was now an argument in the gutter. Mourinho seemed happy with that state of affairs and was determined to hit Conte where it hurt most.

"I will never be suspended for match-fixing"

Responding after United's 2-0 FA Cup win over Derby later that day, Mourinho set Conte up with faux-sympathy and empathy – this is all the media's fault, you see – before concluding with a non-veiled dig

 "Look, I don't blame him. Honestly, I don't blame him," he began.

"I think the press should apologise to me and to him because the question that comes to him is completely wrong and because of that he had that out-of-control reaction. But I don't blame him at all."

There followed apparent contrition for past indiscretions. It was all an elaborate set-up.

"The only thing I want to say to end the story is that yes, I made mistakes in the past on the touchline," Mourinho added.

"Yes, I will make less, but I think I will still make a few. What never happened to me and will never happen is to be suspended for match-fixing. That never happened to me and will never happen."

Conte was implicated in a 2011 scandal while in charge of Siena and later served a four-month ban, but always denied any wrongdoing and was acquitted by an Italian judge in May 2016. 

"A little man with a very low profile"

Conte had spoken previously about his personal ordeal throughout the match-fixing affair. Following a 0-0 FA Cup draw for Chelsea at Norwich City, he was understandably in a barely concealed fury.

"I consider him a little man, I consider him a man with a very low profile," Conte said of Mourinho, before airing a recently learned word.

"You have to know the story very well before hurting another person. In the last period, he's suffering a bit of amnesia."

Conte went on to lambast Mourinho for his criticism of Claudio Ranieri before last season seeking to show solidarity with the deposed Leicester City boss.

"I remember for example, a stupid example with Ranieri, when he offended Ranieri for [the standard of] his English," Conte seethed.

"Then when Ranieri was sacked he put on a shirt for Ranieri. You are a fake.

"If you want to fight a person, you try to kill the person, and then after two years you try to help this person, because maybe it's good for you, your profile."

Contempt and no regrets

In the days following that year's FA Cup third-round weekend, Conte underlined that he had "no regrets" over the episode. "He said serious words and used serious words. I won't forget this," he said.

Mourinho then told reporters in no uncertain terms that he had "contempt" for Conte, as a dubious means to draw a line under the issue.

All eyes were on the dugout, then, when the foes met at Old Trafford – a prospect Conte was already eyeing as he glowered at Carrow Road.

"Me and him, face to face," he said of the Premier League match at the Theatre of Dreams. "I'm ready. I don't know if he is ready."

United came from behind to win 2-1, with Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard getting the goals.

The two managers were heavily scrutinised - Mourinho was the first to emerge from the tunnel and the pair did shake hands even after a wait for Conte to make his appearance.

Mourinho and Conte again shook hands after the match and the mood seemed conciliatory.

A truce?

In the months after the match and shortly before the FA Cup final between United and Chelsea in 2018, Mourinho revealed a truce had broken out between the pair.

"He [Conte] stretched out, I stretched, we got bored [arguing]," Mourinho said to Record.

"After the game here in Manchester, I invited him to come to my office. We talked, nothing is wrong."

Conte would go on to have the last laugh in their final meeting in England, beating Mourinho and United 1-0 to lift the FA Cup in his last match in charge of Chelsea before a bitter exit from Stamford Bridge.

Will the truce last? We'll find out next season and potentially for many years to come in Italy.

Old rivals Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho will come face-to-face once more next season.

Mourinho did not stay out of the spotlight for long after his sacking by Tottenham and has been confirmed as the new Roma head coach.

He will join the club ahead of the 2021-22 season on a three-year deal to compete in a league where Conte and his former club Inter have just ended a historic run of Juventus domestic dominance.

A bitter war of words erupted between the high-profile bosses when they were at Manchester United and Chelsea respectively in the Premier League.

Tensions had simmered between the pair since Conte's appointment as Mourinho's long-term successor at Stamford Bridge in 2016.

The Portuguese's proximity as a direct rival at United was never likely to encourage detente.

Mourinho and Conte have met seven times before as managers.

After their first meeting was a draw in 2010 as Inter took on Atalanta, Conte has taken four victories from the six meetings to take place since 2016, with just two wins going to the new Roma boss.

Here we have a look back what both men said during their rivalry at Chelsea and United, reviewing how the row rapidly escalated.
 

Prelude - Defensive teams and Mourinho seasons

Initially, as Chelsea marched to the Premier League title and United collected the EFL Cup and Europa League to compensate for a sixth-place finish in the top flight, the jibes between the two amounted to a sparring session, as opposed to an all-out verbal scrap.

The seeds were sown when Mourinho complained to Conte about his animated celebrations on the touchine – more on those later – as Chelsea thrashed United 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in October 2016.

Mourinho's favoured method of damning with faint praise was to the fore in February 2017, when he labelled the Premier League's leading side "a very good defensive team", while Conte warned Chelsea to avoid "the Mourinho season" – a handy shorthand for the perils of a dreadful title defence, such as the one endured at Stamford Bridge in 2015-16.

In addition, Mourinho suggested Conte was one of his rivals who, "they cry, they cry, they cry when a player is injured". In the Italian's opinion, the United boss was overly concerned with matters at his former club. The stage was set.

"I don't behave as a clown on the touchline"

While offering assurances over his United future in January 2018, having appeared increasingly morose around matches, Mourinho identified an aspect of his behaviour he believes sets him apart from his colleagues.

"Because I don't behave as a clown on the touchline it means I lost my passion?" he said. "I prefer to behave the way I am doing it, much more mature, better for my team and myself.

"You don't have to behave like a crazy guy on the touchline to have that passion."

Mourinho could arguably have been referencing Conte, Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp. All three men were asked about his comments at the time; only one took the bait.

"Demenza Senile"

Speaking a day later, Conte was quick to accuse Mourinho of hypocrisy in a rather eye-catching manner.

"I think that he has to see himself in the past, maybe he was speaking about himself in the past, yeah?" he said.

"Maybe sometimes, I think that someone forgets his behaviour and sometimes I think there is, I don't know the name, 'demenza senile' when you are a bit... when you forget what you do in the past."

Despite the literal translation being "senile dementia", Chelsea were forced to clarify Conte had been searching for the Italian word for "amnesia".

Either way, this was now an argument in the gutter. Mourinho seemed happy with that state of affairs and was determined to hit Conte where it hurt most.

"I will never be suspended for match-fixing"

Responding after United's 2-0 FA Cup win over Derby later that day, Mourinho set Conte up with faux-sympathy and empathy – this is all the media's fault, you see – before concluding with a non-veiled dig

 "Look, I don't blame him. Honestly, I don't blame him," he began.

"I think the press should apologise to me and to him because the question that comes to him is completely wrong and because of that he had that out-of-control reaction. But I don't blame him at all."

There followed apparent contrition for past indiscretions. It was all an elaborate set-up.

"The only thing I want to say to end the story is that yes, I made mistakes in the past on the touchline," Mourinho added.

"Yes, I will make less, but I think I will still make a few. What never happened to me and will never happen is to be suspended for match-fixing. That never happened to me and will never happen."

Conte was implicated in a 2011 scandal while in charge of Siena and later served a four-month ban, but always denied any wrongdoing and was acquitted by an Italian judge in May 2016. 

"A little man with a very low profile"

Conte had spoken previously about his personal ordeal throughout the match-fixing affair. Following a 0-0 FA Cup draw for Chelsea at Norwich City, he was understandably in a barely concealed fury.

"I consider him a little man, I consider him a man with a very low profile," Conte said of Mourinho, before airing a recently learned word.

"You have to know the story very well before hurting another person. In the last period, he's suffering a bit of amnesia."

Conte went on to lambast Mourinho for his criticism of Claudio Ranieri before last season seeking to show solidarity with the deposed Leicester City boss.

"I remember for example, a stupid example with Ranieri, when he offended Ranieri for [the standard of] his English," Conte seethed.

"Then when Ranieri was sacked he put on a shirt for Ranieri. You are a fake.

"If you want to fight a person, you try to kill the person, and then after two years you try to help this person, because maybe it's good for you, your profile."

Contempt and no regrets

In the days following that year's FA Cup third-round weekend, Conte underlined that he had "no regrets" over the episode. "He said serious words and used serious words. I won't forget this," he said.

Mourinho then told reporters in no uncertain terms that he had "contempt" for Conte, as a dubious means to draw a line under the issue.

All eyes were on the dugout, then, when the foes met at Old Trafford – a prospect Conte was already eyeing as he glowered at Carrow Road.

"Me and him, face to face," he said of the Premier League match at the Theatre of Dreams. "I'm ready. I don't know if he is ready."

United came from behind to win 2-1, with Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard getting the goals.

The two managers were heavily scrutinised - Mourinho was the first to emerge from the tunnel and the pair did shake hands even after a wait for Conte to make his appearance.

Mourinho and Conte again shook hands after the match and the mood seemed conciliatory.

A truce?

In the months after the match and shortly before the FA Cup final between United and Chelsea in 2018, Mourinho revealed a truce had broken out between the pair.

"He [Conte] stretched out, I stretched, we got bored [arguing]," Mourinho said to Record.

"After the game here in Manchester, I invited him to come to my office. We talked, nothing is wrong."

Conte would go on to have the last laugh in their final meeting in England, beating Mourinho and United 1-0 to lift the FA Cup in his last match in charge of Chelsea before a bitter exit from Stamford Bridge.

Will the truce last? We'll find out next season and potentially for many years to come in Italy.

Jose Mourinho will be back in management next season after landing a three-year deal at Roma just 15 days after being sacked by Tottenham.

The Portuguese will take the helm at Roma for the 2021-22 campaign after the Serie A club announced the 58-year-old as Paulo Fonseca's replacement. 

It will be the next chapter in a career that has yielded major silverware across Europe, but one that has taken a notable downturn after a trophy-less spell at Spurs.

The cracks had already started to show for Mourinho prior to his Spurs exit on April 19, which came following a series of comments from the former Inter boss that hinted at significant unrest at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Here is a selection of the quotes which capture the Special One's descent into ignominy, a fate Mourinho will be desperate to avoid in the Eternal City as he seeks to recapture his glory days. 

 

SAME COACH, DIFFERENT PLAYERS

After Spurs stayed painfully true to form and surrendered a 2-1 lead to draw 2-2 with lowly Newcastle United, Mourinho promptly laid the blame at the feet of his players.

When it was put to him that his teams are normally good at holding onto leads, he said: "Same coach, different players."

YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO FEED YOUR KIDS

In one of the more bizarre post-match media conferences, Mourinho started ranting about the importance of feeding your kids.

It was after Spurs had lost 3-1 to Manchester United, with Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer criticising Son Heung-min for what he considered a bit of play acting.

The Norwegian said if his child had behaved like that, he would have deprived them of their food. It was, evidently, a joke.

Mourinho addressed this, entirely unprompted, but for him it was no laughing matter.

"It is very, very sad," he said. "I think it's really sad that you don't ask me about it. It's really sad that you don't have the moral honesty to treat me the same way you treat others.

"I just want to say, Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole, because I think a father – I am a father – you have always to feed your kids, it doesn't matter what they do.

"If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments."

IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, OR IS IT?

Modesty appears to be an alien concept to Mourinho, who had no hesitation in comparing himself to NASA scientists.

Addressing the seemingly justified criticism he was receiving in light of Spurs' underwhelming campaign, the Portuguese went on the defensive.

"I don't think anybody is going to discuss rocket science with the guys from NASA, with everybody around the world," he said.

"They think they can discuss football with one of the most important managers in the game. That's the beauty of football.

"I got used to it, I appreciate that, so that's fine for me."

MOURINISTAS LOVE ME

The criticism never seemed to leave Mourinho too disheartened, such is the strength of his conviction that he has an army of loyal followers.

He calls them 'Mourinistas', and they are the source of his strength.

He said: "Honestly, I get my strength from myself but mainly from the people that I love and the people who I know they love me, even if many of them I don't know them, I haven't met them.

"I used to call them the 'Mourinistas', because in Portugal we use 'ista' in the end of the name of the club that we love, to express the support."

BALE SAGA

Gareth Bale's signing on loan from Real Madrid gave Spurs fans hope of a genuine title challenge, but that too proved a false dawn.

There were many hints that all was not well with Bale's second coming at Spurs, with Mourinho left fuming by an Instagram post in which the Wales star had suggested he had been involved in full training, despite the head coach insisting he was not fit.

"There was a contradiction between the post and the reality," said Mourinho.

SORROW SHOWS AFTER DINAMO BLOW

It wasn't all strength and defiance, though, as was evident after the shock Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb.

"To say I feel sad is not enough," he lamented. "What I feel is much more than sadness."

INDIVIDUAL MISTAKES

Going back to January, the willingness to turn on his own players was clear for all to see.

After a 1-1 draw with struggling Fulham, Mourinho saw "individual mistakes", though he did not confess that any were his own.

"There are things that are individual, that are down to individual qualities and individual mistakes," he said. "Basically I cannot say much more than that."

DIER DISAGREEMENT

After Eric Dier sat out Spurs' 2-0 win over West Brom in February, Mourinho said the England international was suffering a crisis of confidence.

However, in an open show of dissent, Dier insisted: "Confidence-wise, I don't feel like I've been in a bad place all season."

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