Mourinho and Ronaldo move to Man Utd not out of the question
The chimps tea party at Stamford Bridge ensures that, for once, José Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo are not the biggest story of the day. They will be if they return to England, however, as a farewell present to Manchester United from master manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
I understand that, even by the surreal standards of the past 24 hours, that eventuality would be an earthquake. The overwhelming response of many Man Utd fans on reading this will be to check the date. It’s not 1 April folks, honestly. You’ve still got the winter to endure.
Of course, it sounds like a non-starter. No one is bundling Sir Alex out of an emergency exit at Old Trafford. He has declared Ronaldo “unbuyable” this week. Mourinho’s mercurial temperament and flair for self-publicity is known to concern a conservative faction on the United board.
But let’s pay a little homage to the Premier League’s latest “interim manager” – welcome back, Rafa Benítez – and ‘examine the facts’.
Ronaldo may be an image-obsessed diva, but he retains a deep affection for United and Ferguson. His departure from United lacked the bile and regret that marked those of David Beckham, Roy Keane and Jaap Stam.
Stam, incidentally, exposes the myth that they never come back. Ferguson acknowledged his error in forcing the Dutch defender out of the club and now values his insight immensely in his new role as United’s principal scout in Brazil.
Seasoned observers at United paused for thought when the manager deemed that Ronaldo was out of reach. He wastes fewer words than anyone in his line of business. If he says something can’t be done, it is usually a sign that he is contemplating trying to do so.
Temperamentally, Mourinho is probably better suited to Manchester City. There would be a pleasing symmetry about his taking over from Roberto Mancini, a man with whom he has a feud of pantomime proportions.
It would not be the greatest surprise if he seizes the chance to address unfinished business and returns to Chelsea. Yet United’s heritage and Ferguson’s stellar history register with him. Mourinho’s ego would be engaged by the challenge of what many regard as the impossible job – sustaining the success of our greatest club manager.
Mourinho and Ronaldo are surprisingly unpopular in Spain. The whispers that both are likely to leave Madrid at the end of the summer grow in intensity. When Ferguson leaves, it will be swift and sudden. It could coincide with the greatest surprise of all.
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