Fans across Rome thronged outside the city’s Ciampino airport to welcome AS Roma‘s new coach Jose Mourinho in a party mood. The Portuguese manager signed a three-year contract with the Giallorossi after he was sacked by Tottenham Hotspur earlier this year.
Despite the heat, the fans, hundreds of them, stood on the streets to mark the beginning of the Jose Mourinho era at AS Roma. The last time, the Special One, as Mourinho calls himself, managed an Italian team, he finished with a treble. Back in 2010, Mourinho’s Inter Milan won the Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia.
The 58-year-old had earlier announced his impending arrival in a video posted on social media, stating: “AS Roma fans I’m about to pack my bags. See you soon.”
Waving the club’s yellow and red scarf, Mourinho briefly addressed the crowd before being driven away to the club’s Trigoria training centre for the first time.
Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur was the first one that Mourinho left without winning any silverware since the early years of his managerial career in Portugal.
Mourinho insists he has improved as a coach since his first stint in Italy from 2008 to 2010.
“I’m much better now. I’m serious. I think this is a job where experience means a lot,” Mourinho said in an interview on the club’s website.
“Since I left Italy I went to Real Madrid, which was an incredible experience, and I reached my dream of winning in Italy, England and Spain.
“It’s the kind of job where you can only get better until the day where you lose your motivation.”
He added: “One thing is to come to a country for the first time where you arrive level zero and you have everything to learn about it.
“In my case that’s not the case. I know Italy as a country, I know Italy as a football culture, I know something about Roma because in my Italian time Roma was the real rival fighting for the title.”
Mourinho has claimed 25 major trophies in his career and joins a club that hasn’t won Serie A since 2001.
The three-time Italian champions, who are trophyless since 2008, finished seventh in Serie A last season.
“We want to make Roma a success but not an isolated moment of success.. to leave a legacy,” continued Mourinho.
“It’s not in my nature to wait too long for that smiling future to arrive. I want to try and accelerate the process and hopefully we can make that happen as soon as possible.”
As well as his triumphs with Inter Mourinho won the Champions League in 2004 and two Portuguese league titles with Porto, three Premier League titles with Chelsea and La Liga with Real Madrid in 2012.
He also led Manchester United to the Europa League in 2017.
In Rome, he replaces fellow Portuguese Paulo Fonseca, who left the club after two seasons.
Fonseca replaced Claudio Ranieri, who had a brief spell as coach after Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked in January 2019.
Di Francesco had guided the club to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018.
“Finally something is changing in Roma, we have been waiting for a strong personality,” die-hard Roma fan Consuelo Aiudi, 43, told AFPTV.
“It’s really emotional for me because we have been waiting for years for something like this. I’ve been a season ticket holder for 25 years, we stopped dreaming.
“And now something has changed, we hope.”
Mourinho said he was keen to get to know the players but also with an eye on the transfer market.
“The first thing is to wait for some gifts,” he added.
“I hope the bosses have some gifts for me because it would be nice, it would be extra motivation for me and of course would give me more potential to develop or to start the process.”