Did anyone notice how humble Jose Mourinho was at Old Trafford as Real Madrid eliminated Manchester United from the Champions League? Was it a tactical move or an act made of Hollywood?
Whichever, whispering messages of consolation in Sir Alex Ferguson’s ear after Nani’s red card, and trying to shake the United manager’s hand before the final whistle, was definitely meant to portray himself not only as a more mature coach, but also endear himself to the Old Trafford hierarchy and faithful.
Believe me, when United finally begin the search for Ferguson’s successor, it will be impossible to ignore the appeal of the Portuguese, who, in many observers’ eyes, is the most outstanding candidate.
Since his arrival at Real Madrid in 2010 after leading Inter Milan to the European Champions League, Mourinho has never backed away from speculations linking him with a big move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
Everybody with money to burn, from the two Manchester clubs, Paris-Saint-Germain to Chelsea, wants a piece of the ‘Special One’, and after Real Madrid’s dramatic Champions League win at Old Trafford, his star rose even higher.
With the exception of Pep Guardiola, who has been signed up to take over at Bayern Munich next season, there is not many coaches with the CV and profile to replace Ferguson, whose days as active manager are coming to an end after 25 years in the OT dugout.
I read somewhere that the Portuguese coach insisted before the first leg in the Bernabeu last month that it would be ‘impossible’ for him to manage United because he did not believe Ferguson will ever retire.
With Real leading 2-1 on Tuesday night and Ferguson’s mood souring, Mourinho remained calmer than usual in such important games, he even went ahead after the match, to say the best team had lost. “We didn’t play well and we didn’t deserve to win.”
Despite remaining on course to win the Champions League with Real Madrid and make history as the first man to win the competition with three different clubs in three different countries, the former Chelsea manager is still widely expected to leave the Spanish giants at the end of the season.
Last month, he reiterated his desire to return to the Premier League, by saying, “After Madrid, my next job will be in England.’
Judging the way Mourinho acted before, during and after Tuesday’s game, he seems odds on to take over at Man Utd at some point—it may not be next season, but all signs point to sooner rather than later.
I have never been a big fan of Mourinho, nonetheless, if the Red Devils want guaranteed success, then he is the man, anyone else is a chance.
The majority of United supporters across the world would love to see Mourinho succeed Sir Alex Ferguson – he has the talent, guts and willingness to do the big job.
With him in the hot seat, United fans would feel more comfortable than under any other available manager.