Coppa Italia: Roma boss Jose Mourinho to face Inter Milan at San Siro for first time since leaving in 2010


Jose Mourinho will face “his” Inter Milan for the first time in more than 12 years on Tuesday as the manager leads Roma into the San Siro for the quarterfinals of Coppa Italia on Paramount+. In 2010, the Portuguese coach won everything he could win with Inter Milan, and the fans still remember what he accomplished. Mourinho has returned to Italy several times in recent years, but he’s never faced Inter in Milan since leaving the Nerazzurri back in 2010. That changes on Tuesday night. 

Whether or not he’s welcomed back with open arms by Inter’s ultras remains to be seen, but let’s take a look back at what he accomplished during his days at the club.

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Date: Tuesday, Feb. 8 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: San Siro — Milano, Italy
TV and live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Inter -165; Draw +305; Roma +430 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

Mourinho joined Inter Milan in the summer of 2008 after the club had a mutual separation with Roberto Mancini, who led the Nerazzurri to three consecutive Serie A titles. He arrived with the declared goal of winning the Champions League, a trophy that had been missing for over 40 years and which became a real obsession for former Inter president Massimo Moratti. 

Mourinho worked from Day 1 to achieve this goal and immediately became an idol among the fans for his behavior and style, breaking the rules and besting opponents. His press conferences were legendary and some of his quotes remain part Italian soccer folklore to this day. Mourinho won the Supercoppa Italiana and the scudetto in his first season but came up short in the Champions League quarterfinals, losing to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

That’s the night that completely changed his story at the club. He sat down with Moratti and asked him some important signings to achieve the goal of winning the UCL. Zlatan Ibrahimovic left the club and was involved in an incredible deal with Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o, who just won the treble with Pep Guardiola. Inter Milan signed Lucio and Wesley Sneijder from Real Madrid and most importantly both Thiago Motta and Diego Milito from Genoa. 

These signings gave a new face to an already unbeatable team in Italy. Mourinho’s second and final season in Italy was incredible. Inter Milan won the triplete — their fifth Scudetto in a row, the Coppa Italia against AS Roma and most importantly the Champions League after an incredible run where the team managed to beat Chelsea, CSKA Moscow, Barcelona and Bayer Munich. Mourinho’s Inter Milan are still hailed as the only Italian club to win the triplete.

Mourinho came back few times to Italy after leaving Inter for Real Madrid in 2010. Before a Champions League group-stage match against AC Milan in 2010, Mourinho raised his hand to the fans who were whistling him, holding up three fingers in the air to represent the number of titles he won with Inter Milan. In 2018, Mourinho returned as manager of Manchester United in Turin against Juventus. At the final whistle after a win, Mourinho could not resist and put his hand close to his ear after he was whistled throughout the game by Juventus fans. 

However, something has changed recently. Since the manager took over at AS Roma last summer, he has had a different tone regarding his former club. Out of respect for his current fans, but also because something happened that he probably did not expect. Before the summer of 2019 he was in the race to return to the bench of Inter Milan, but the board decided to appoint his rival Antonio Conte. In hindsight, that choice turned out to be perfect as Inter won the scudetto for the first time since Mourinho was in charge in 2009-10, but Mourinho really hoped in that moment to be back.

On Tuesday, he will have all the reasons to show his former club that he’s still the Special One, at least for Inter Milan fans who have not forgotten what he did for them.





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