The problem with what Jose Mourinho says, and for that matter what anyone involved in the sports actually says, is that you can never know if it is true, a lie and/or what kind of personal interest stands behind anything coming out of their mouths. So when Mourinho says he knew about Alex Ferguson retiring and would have taken the Chelsea job anyway over the offer from Manchester United, it calls for some question marks to be raised.
Jose Mourinho is now the Chelsea manager, there’s no doubt in that. But during his last and turbulent season with Real Madrid, he was linked to more than just his former club, where his sour relationship with Roman Abramovich looked like it might stop the reunion from happening. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Manchester United were all rumored to be looking into him.
Eventually, Chelsea were the team he wanted, and the team that wanted him badly enough. But right after completing the deal, the questions of whether or not it was his first choice surfaced. Mourinho made no doubt about his preferences. He wanted to manage where he knows he has the fans and the board’s backing 100%, and it looks like Chelsea was the only place that could have happened.
I knew that Ferguson was retiring many months ago. I would have turned down every job in the world – the Manchester United job, everyone, for Chelsea. I am so happy with his trust because it was big news for the world; I can imagine that just a very small circle around him knew that, and it was a big responsibility for me to know that. Why do I know that? Because we are friends, so if I am his friend to know that he is going to retire, he is also my friend to know that the club I want to coach in England is Chelsea.
Now, you can choose to believe this claim, or you can decide that there’s no truth to it whatsoever. But there’s one thing to say about being smart. It’s smarter to become the Manchester United manager if you’re following David Moyes than if you’re following Alex Ferguson. The achievements, the backing from the owners, and having leverage. No other team in the world would give Mourinho the kind of love he’s getting from the Chelsea fans and at the moment, the Chelsea ownership. In a few months that might change, but that’s speculative, nothing more.
Whether or not Mourinho and Ferguson are such good friends remains to be seen. Mourinho in England is not Mourinho in Italy and Spain, and certain personal feuds are bound to arise at a certain moment with a number of managers. That’s just how Mourinho conducts his business, and it’s part of his charm and attention grabbing ways. But it’s hard to second guess his motives by signing with Chelsea.
After getting such a hard time from the media, the fans and the club itself in Spain, it seemed like the most important thing for him was going back to a place where he feels comfortable and loved. Second rounds at the same club usually don’t work out as well as the first, but Mourinho is willing to take that chance, knowing there will still be plenty of demand even if the honeymoon period will be over faster than anyone expects.