Jose Mourinho is back on the manager market after a two-and-a-half-year spell at AS Roma ended with his dismissal on Tuesday. Among the leading contenders to appoint the Portuguese is his former club, FC Porto, and taking the job could see him work under a club presidency hopeful with whom he has a complicated relationship – Andre Villas-Boas.
Roma wielded the axe with Mourinho after a run of three defeats, a draw and a win in their last five games. The Giallorossi are ninth in the Serie A table after only eight wins in 20 matches this campaign.
Moves to the Saudi Pro League, a struggling Newcastle United side and the Portugal national team have all been tipped in the hours following Mourinho’s departure from the Italian capital. A return to FC Porto – the club with which he cut his teeth between 2002 and 2004 – is also viewed as a major possibility.
Mourinho won the Champions League with Porto in 2004, paving the way for his move to Chelsea and subsequent switches to Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Villas-Boas, who is currently in the running to become Porto president, worked as a prominent member of Mourinho’s backroom staff during his time at the Portuguese giants, as well as Chelsea and Inter. A falling-out then saw the 46-year-old forge a career of his own, prompting a period of silence between the pair, who had grown close during their time working together.
Back in 2016, Villas-Boas shed light on his complex relationship with Mourinho and the circumstances which led to them spending time apart. “You fall in love with him and he becomes your idol,” he said. “I wanted to be like him, know everything that he knew and absorb all the information he was giving.
“Then you fall on the wrong side of Jose and that’s when things change and you realise that you’ve been blinded by someone. He has this fascinating capability of getting the best out of you, which has good or bad consequences for people. My consequences were that as a result of the argument or disagreement we had, I started my coaching career.”
In 2013, four years after Villas-Boas branched off on his own, Mourinho claimed that the pair had put their differences to one side and re-established contact around the time his former sidekick was sacked by Tottenham.
“I spoke with Andre, in the last six months, three times,” he explained. “Once in a managers’ meeting [at the start of the season]; another one when we played against [Tottenham] and another one a couple of days ago [after he was sacked].
“I spoke just about: ‘Come on, the world didn’t finish, let’s go. Tomorrow is another day and another job will come. So, Happy Christmas.'”
Villas-Boas went on to spend time in charge of Zenit, Shanghai SIPG and Marseille, although he has not held a management position since resigning from the French outfit almost three years ago.