Jose Mourinho’s time at Roma came to an end on Tuesday after the Serie A club sacked the “Special One” midway through what has been a deeply disappointing third season in the Italian capital.
Mourinho departs Roma after an emotional two-and-a-half years in which he won Europa Conference League in 2022, ending a 14-year trophy drought for the capital club.
Roma said that Mourinho would leave alongside his staff “with immediate effect”, adding that it was “in the best interests of the club” after a series of poor results left the team way off the pace in the Italian top flight.
Italian media report that former Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, is the favourite to replace Mourinho as coach.
Mourinho’s contract was due to expire in June and although he had repeatedly stated that he wanted to stay on, talks about an extension to his deal never materialised.
Rumours of his departure grew more persistent after Sunday’s dismal 3-1 defeat at AC Milan which left Roma ninth in Serie A, five points away from the Champions League positions.
“We would like to thank Jose on behalf of all of us at AS Roma for his passion and efforts since his arrival at the club,” said owners Dan and Ryan Friedkin in a statement.
“We will always have great memories of his tenure at Roma, but we believe that an immediate change is in the best interests of the club.
“We wish Jose and his assistants all the best in their future endeavours.”
The 60-year-old Portuguese was a shock appointment in 2021, Roma’s announcement of his arrival as the replacement to Paulo Fonseca coming almost completely out of the blue.
He immediately became a huge fan favourite, with his image popping up on walls around Rome as supporters dreamed of success under one of football’s greatest ever coaches.
And in his first season he guided Roma to the inaugural Conference League, a triumph which brought Mourinho to tears on the pitch and made him an almost God-like figure to one Europe’s most passionate and success-starved fan bases.
He then came to within a penalty shootout of winning back-to-back European finals, Roma falling at the last hurdle against Sevilla in last season’s Europa League.
That was a defeat which both enraged Mourinho and supporters, who attacked referee Anthony Taylor with chairs at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt airport in anger at what they considered bad decisions which cost their team the trophy.
However the magic between Mourinho and the fans began to wear off this term, with poor results and performances partly due to a raft of injuries and summer transfers which haven’t worked out.
Roma have failed to qualify for the money-spinning Champions League under Mourinho’s charge, a big problem for a club operating under Financial Fair Play constraints which struggles to balance its books.
De Rossi is another idol for Roma fans as a local boy done good who played in some of the club’s best teams of the last two decades, alongside fellow icon Francesco Totti.
The 40-year-old has little pedigree as a coach however, his only job at SPAL lasting just four months last season, which finished with the team being relegated to the third-tier Serie C.
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