Champions League

Jose Mourinho makes return to management as shock appointment confirmed

Jose Mourinho makes return to management as shock appointment confirmed

Jose Mourinho has been appointed Fenerbahce manager (REUTERS)

Jose Mourinho will return to management with Fenerbahce next season with the Turkish club confirming his surprise appointment.

Mourinho has been out of work since being sacked by Roma in January. The 61-year-old had been in charge of the Serie A club since 2021, guiding them to a trophy in the inaugural Europa Conference League and reaching the final of last season’s Europa League.

But the Italian capital club moved on from Mourinho after dropping to ninth in the table, and replacement Daniele De Rossi has subsequently steered them into the European qualification places.

The former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss will now attempt to restart his coaching career in Istanbul, replacing Ismail Kartal after a trophyless season for Fenerbahce.

The appointment was widely trailed with the club posting a video late on Saturday night in which the 61-year-old said “See you tomorrow at Kadikoy and let’s start our journey together.”

On Sunday the club posted an image on social media featuring an image of the Portuguese boss Mourinho and the words “The Special One. Welcome to Fenerbahce”.

The club also announced on X that their stadium would be open for fans to attend to watch Sunday evening’s signing ceremony.

Mourinho had appeared to confirm his new job when acting as a pundit for TNT Sports during their Champions League final coverage on Saturday night.

During an interview by the Wembley pitch, fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand asked him: “Who is the most famous person in your phonebook?”

After initially not understanding the question, Mourinho pondered for a second before saying: “At the moment it is the president of Fenerbahce,” prompting laughter from Ferdinand.

Jose Mourinho has a new managerial role (REUTERS)

Fenerbahce finished three points behind Super Lig champions Galatasaray and have now gone a decade without a Turkish title.

Mourinho follows recent fellow Portuguese managers Vitor Pereira and Jorge Jesus in taking over at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. He will reunite with midfielder Fred, signed by Manchester United for £52m in 2018 under Mourinho’s management, while former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko is currently club captain.

The Independent reported this week that Mourinho had been in talks to join Amazon’s coverage of the Champions League next season, though his new role would appear to put that in doubt.

Fenerbahce will enter the competition in the second round of the qualifying phase, with the draw held on June 19, and Mourinho spoke of the difficulty they face in reaching the group stage.

“(It is) hard because we have three rounds of qualifying and in Fenerbahce’s case, eight players are at the Euros and they are not coming for pre-season before the first round,” he said on Saturday evening.

“If I go, you know that I like challenges so we are going to fight to be in the Champions League.”

Additional reporting by PA

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