Mourinho swears to behave but where does his future lie?
Inter Milan’s colourful coach Jose Mourinho has hit the headlines again for a foul mouthed rant at an Italian journalist, the latest in a number of spats with the soccer-obsessed media here.
The Portuguese has admitted using offensive language, said he made a mistake, but has not publically apologised. He also said there was no physical contact during the incident outside the team bus following Inter’s 1-1 draw at Atalanta on Sunday.
Mourinho, who has lamented the grilling he gets from Italian media so much that reports have speculated he could quit in May, said he snapped because the journalist had been standing by the team bus for months despite his protests.
On the pitch things have been up and down too with Mourinho suspended from the dugout on Sunday after being dismissed for sarcastically applauding the referee in a 2-1 defeat at Juventus earlier this month. He has promised not to get sent off again soon.
Pundits also reckoned he could have been sacked had the Serie A leaders, continual underachievers in Europe, not qualified for the Champions League last 16.
The pressure is certainly building and you wonder how long he and the Italian media can continue to keep up the pace of disagreements.
He has said he will see out his Inter contract until 2012 but has also made it clear he enjoyed his spell at Chelsea far more and doesn’t quite get the Italian mentality when it comes to soccer.
He said last month that “my football is English football” but later said the quotes were taken out of context.
He has also said he would have a pick of clubs whenever he leaves Inter, but timing is the crucial factor.
Having sealed titles in Portugal, England and Italy, the 46-year-old’s aims are to win the league in Spain too, return to England at some point and manage Portugal when he is near retirement.
The rate Real Madrid get through managers, he probably would not have to wait many seasons for a vacancy at the Bernabeu (with all due respect to Manuel Pellegrini) while Barcelona looks less likely given Pep Guardiola is doing well and Mourinho’s clashes with his former employers while he was at Chelsea.
His love of England means Liverpool and Manchester City have been talked about in the press as potential destinations but without ever explicitly saying it, replacing Alex Ferguson at Manchester United would appear to be his main dream.
But how long does he wait for Fergie to retire? Will he miss out on the Bernabeu hotseat if he bides his time? One thing is almost certain, he will not stay at Inter beyond 2012.
PHOTO: Inter Milan’s coach Jose Mourinho gestures during the Champions League soccer match against Barcelona at the San Siro stadium in Milan September 16, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo