You just know the Premier League computer will pair Chelsea with Sunderland in the opening game of next season, assuming the latter are not the victims of another Wigan surge to safety. Jose Mourinho and Paulo di Canio, portraits of self-adoration on the touchline at Stamford Bridge. The producer will not cut away from that one to go to the ads.
Mourinho was about to deliver his farewell speech after Real Madrid’s Champions League exit before ITV canned the exclusive to flag up the offers at Argos. He did, however, let slip enough to reveal his imminent departure for a team that loves him in England. I wonder who that might be?
Mourinho’s soulful, post-match lament over the haters in Madrid should not mask what has to be, in his own terms, regarded as failure at Santiago Bernabeu. He made much of the strides taken - no CL quarter-final in eight years before his arrival – but if you travel on a special ticket, three semi-final appearances in the competition you were brought in to win, by a club listed as the richest in the world, hardly embellishes his CV.
Mourinho was right to identify providence as a factor. You don’t win the Champions League because you want to, he said, but because things go your way. Sir Alex Ferguson would concur with that, Manchester United’s victories over Bayern Munich in 1999 and Chelsea in 2008 were blessed by the rub of the green, not to mention Chelsea’s last year.
Perhaps Mourinho has learned at Madrid that he is not so special after all. That, no matter how good a coach you are, there is always another out there just as good as you and equally worthy, given the opportunity. In this tie Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp came out on top, seemingly hastening Mourinho’s return to the Premier League.
Presumably he returns to the Bridge on his terms, buoyed by the extended contract of Frank Lampard. Co-incidence? Unlikely. He will be a marvellous addition to the drama club but no more of a threat than he ever was. Sir Alex is still here, and his noisy neighbour. Manchester City add a dimension with which Mourinho did not have to contend in his first encounter with the Premier League, making it more difficult to conquer domestically let alone in Europe.