Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Roma came to an end on Tuesday, with the Serie A club sacking the “Special One” halfway through his terribly dismal third season in the Italian city.
Mourinho leaves Roma after an emotional two and a half years, during which he won the Europa Conference League in 2022, breaking the capital club’s 14-year trophy drought.
Roma announced that Mourinho and his staff will depart “with immediate effect,” adding that it was “in the best interests of the club” after a string of dismal defeats that had left the team well behind in the Italian top division.
According to Italian media, former Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, is the leading candidate to succeed Mourinho as coach.
Mourinho’s contract was set to end in June, and despite his frequent statements that he wanted to remain, negotiations regarding an extension never materialised.
Rumours of his resignation intensified after Sunday’s humiliating 3-1 loss at AC Milan, which dropped Roma to ninth place in Serie A, five points below the Champions League berths.
“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,” owners Dan and Ryan Friedkin said in a statement.
“We will always cherish our memories of his time 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 surprise appointment in 2021, with Roma’s news of his arrival as Paulo Fonseca’s successor coming practically out of nowhere.
– He quickly became a fan favorite, with his picture appearing on walls around Rome as fans aspired to succeed under one of football’s greatest managers.
And in his first season, he led Roma to the first Conference League title, which moved Mourinho to tears on the field and elevated him to nearly God-like status among one of Europe’s most passionate and success-starved fan groups.
He then came within a penalty shootout of winning back-to-back European championships with Roma, but fell short against Sevilla in last season’s Europa League.
That result angered Mourinho and his followers, who assaulted referee Anthony Taylor with chairs at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt airport in protest of what they saw as poor judgments that lost their club the trophy.
However, the chemistry between Mourinho and the supporters started to wane this season, with bad results and performances caused in part by a slew of injuries and failed summer acquisitions.
Under Mourinho’s leadership, Roma have failed to qualify for the lucrative Champions League, posing a significant challenge for a club working under Financial Fair Play rules and struggling to manage its budget.
Another favorite for Roma supporters is De Rossi, a local lad who has played in some of the club’s finest teams over the previous two decades with another star Francesco Totti.
The 40-year-old has minimal coaching experience, having only worked at SPAL for four months last season, when the club was demoted to the third-tier Serie C.