JOSE MOURINHO has finally been appointed as Manchester United’s new manager, after the club released a statement on Friday May 27 confirming the Portugese manager as Luis van Gaal’s successor at Old Trafford.
“Jose Mourinho will take over as manager of Manchester United from the 2016-17 season, signing a three-year contract with an option to stay at the club until at least 2020,” read the statement. “Jose, 53, has managed at the top level of European football for over a decade and in that time has won league titles and cups in four countries [Portugal, England, Italy and Spain], as well as winning the Uefa Champions League twice – in 2004 with FC Porto and in 2010 with Inter Milan.”
United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said: “Jose is quite simply the best manager in the game today. He has won trophies and inspired players in countries across Europe and, of course, he knows the Premier League very well, having won three titles here. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome him to Manchester United. His track record of success is ideal to take the club forward.”
The announcement comes four days after Van Gaal was sacked following United’s fifth-placed finish in the Premier League and FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace.
Mourinho has been heavily linked with the Manchester club since being sacked by Chelsea in December 2015, and he has now signed a three-year deal worth around €13 million per season.
Although personal terms were agreed quickly, there have been some complications regarding his image rights, which were still held by The Blues, but these have now been resolved, leaving the 53-year-old free to take the reins at the 20-time English champions.
“To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game,” Mourinho said. “It is a club known and admired throughout the world. There is a mystique and a romance about it which no other club can match. I have always felt an affinity with Old Trafford; it has hosted some important memories for me in my career and I have always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans. I’m looking forward to being their manager and enjoying their magnificent support in the coming years.”
Mourinho will be handed considerable funds in his task to revive the ailing giants, with initial targets thought to include Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian and Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is available on a free transfer after leaving Paris St Germain.
The appointment will also reignite the rivalry between Mourinho and incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, with the pair clashing repeatedly during their time in charge of Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.
Most famously, Mourinho sneaked behind Barcelona’s then assistant coach Tito Vilanova and poked him in the eye during the 2011 Spanish Super Cup, after Guardiola had delivered an expletive-filled monologue about him ahead of the ‘classico’ Champions League semi-final the previous season, a match eventually won by the Catalan outfit.