Jose Mourinho’s widely predicted return to Chelsea is confirmed, with the club announcing it is “delighted” to announce his appointment as new first team manager.
Mourinho has signed a four-year contract to manage the club where, between 2004 and 2007, he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups.
“I am delighted to welcome Jose back to Chelsea,” said Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay.
“He was and remains a hugely popular figure at the club and everyone here looks forward to working with him again.”
Mourinho’s task at Chelsea this time round will be significantly different from what it was in 2004.
Then, Chelsea were an established top-flight club but one that had not won the English First Division title for 50 years.
Nine years on, Chelsea are a recognised force in European football, having won the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa Cup this year. They were defeated by Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow.
Mourinho’s last tenure at Chelsea ended amid rumours that he had fallen out with club owner Roman Abramovich.
Since leaving the west London club, the “Special One” has guided Italian club Internazionale to two Serie A titles and, in 2010, to the Champions League trophy.
In May 2010 he was unveiled as Real Madrid’s coach – but history will judge Mourinho’s time at the Bernabeu as a mixture of success and relative failure.
In his first season, he led Real to their first La Liga title in four years. However, he failed while in the Spanish capital to repeat the Champions League success he achieved at Inter and, previously, at Porto.
In fairness to Mourinho, his time in Spain coincided with an era in which some hailed Barcelona as the best club side ever. That the Catalans’ crown of apparent invincibility has slipped since 2010 may be due in part to the Portuguese coach.
But Barcelona have also had to cope with the resignation of coach Pep Guardiola and with defeat at the semi-final stage of the last two Champions League campaigns – this season by Bayern Munich and in the preceding season to Chelsea.
Although Chelsea, under Roberto Di Matteo, realised Abramovich’s dream of securing European club football’s top prize last season, Mourinho must now ensure that the club remains in contention for European Cup success while playing in the sort of attractive, attacking footballing style embodied by clubs such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich.