Jose Mourinho remains on course for a sixth European final as manager after watching his Roma side claim a narrow 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen at the Stadio Olimpico in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.
The Portuguese boss has been hailed as the ‘King of Rome’ after guiding the Serie A side to an inaugural Europa Conference League title last season – delivering the club’s first trophy in 14 years.
However, even if his bid for back-to-back European titles is successful, how long will he stay in the Italian capital to enjoy the adulation?
Mourinho’s contract at Roma is set to last until the summer of 2024, but in recent days there has been much talk of him raising the stick this summer for an 11th managerial challenge, at Paris St-Germain.
The 60-year-old laughed off the speculation on Wednesday, telling Sky Sport Italia: “If they called they couldn’t find me.”
But Roma’s hopes of reaching the Champions League seem to hinge on Europa League glory, with the Giallorossi currently seventh in the Italian top flight, so could they be tempted if the phone call comes through?
“He would like a project that lives up to his heritage”
Mourinho’s record of five wins in five European finals is likely to please a club that has earned a reputation for stumbling on Europe’s biggest stage.
PSG’s failure to overtake Bayern Munich in this term’s Champions League round of 16 was just the latest painful elimination from a competition that has become an obsession since they became Qatari property in 2011.
And while they may have a major squad restructuring on their hands this summer – with the love lionel messi departure – whoever is at the helm is set to receive a transfer prize pool considerably larger than the nine million euros Roma spent last summer.
“I think Mourinho sees Roma as a way to bounce back to another big job,” said Italian football journalist James Horncastle. European Leagues Podcast.
“It can reasonably be said that it has been a qualifying success as they have won their first trophy for 14 years and are closing in on another European final.
“He’s someone who ultimately wants to win wherever he goes and I think he thinks at Roma, unless they start changing their strategy and spending more money, they won’t be able to. not win a league title.
“He would like a project that matches his heritage again, that would be the chance to compete for a Champions League.”
“If he is supported, he is the coach of PSG”
Mourinho’s reputation may have suffered in the short term due to the way he left Manchester United and Tottenham, but he remains one of the biggest names in football management.
He also remains a fine tactician and capable of commanding respect in a locker room full of stars.
“PSG needs someone who, as soon as he comes in, says ‘I don’t want him, I don’t want him, I don’t want him and I’m going to build through him’ and everyone world follows and the players will go with it,” said Spanish journalist Guillem Balague
“If the club supports him in this way, he is the manager of PSG. They don’t need someone to reinvent the wheel, they need someone to organize this from above and someone will at some point have to give them direction.”
French football journalist Julien Laurens added: “Who is Jose Mourinho’s best friend and agent? Jorge Mendes. Who is one of Jorge Mendes’ best friends? Luis Campos, who is also the sporting director of PSG.
“Campos and Mendes talk every day and Mendes is very influential and I’m sure Mourinho’s name has appeared in a shortlist of managers to replace Christophe Galtier.
“He might end up being the manager, he might not be, but certainly in Campos there are favorable grounds.”