Jose Mourinho could be coaching some of the biggest names in football next season, with news emerging he is a leading contender for the Paris Saint-Germain job.
talkSPORT understands Roma’s current head coach is near the top of PSG’s shortlist as they prepare to sack Mauricio Pochettino from his position before the start of the new campaign.
While a move to France is not certain, Mourinho will undoubtedly be tempted by the prospect of managing the world’s best yet again.
Should the deal take place, the Special One would finally get the chance to manage Lionel Messi for the first time in his career.
Mourinho managed Messi’s arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, during his time as Real Madrid boss, at which point he backed his fellow countryman as the superior player to the Argentine superstar.
Speaking to A Bola in 2012, Mourinho said: “It is harder to be Cristiano than Messi.
“Messi grew up in the team where he plays, with the players with whom he plays with now. Not Cristiano.
“He was in England, then they put him here [Real Madrid] in a losing team. He had to grow over the last two years with this team which has been forming. ”
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He added: “When someone with the same responsibility as me comes out and says: ‘Mine is the best on the planet’ then I have to say: ‘Mine was not born in Madeira, he was born on Mars; he is not from planet Earth, he is the best in the universe.
“If Messi is the best on the planet, Ronaldo is the best in the universe. It would be a crime if Ronaldo did not win the Ballon d’Or. “
However, despite his allegiance to Ronaldo, Mourinho has a strong track record of praising Messi over the years.
As well as naming him alongside Pele and Diego Maradona as the best player in history, Mourinho said in 2015: “Messi is the most dangerous opponent I have ever had.
“Every time I had to face him, I spent hours and hours thinking about how to stop him collectively, because it is impossible to mark the man.”
In May 2019, Mourinho echoed that sentiment again, saying: “Messi is Messi.
“I’m not saying he ” The Special One ‘of this week because he’ ‘The Special One’ of all time.
“He is the God of football. We’ll cry when he retires. “
Of course, Messi isn’t the only star attraction at the Parc Des Princes, with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe also on the payroll.
The Brazilian forward has come in for criticism in recent years for his inability to challenge the best players in the world on a consistent basis but, speaking back in 2019, Mourinho was quick to group Neymar in with the best players that his nation has produced.
“Neymar is a fantastic talent and nobody can doubt that,” Mourinho told DAZN.
“He came to Europe and won immediately.
“But I think they forgot players that were the best of the world at some point, such as Ronaldo and Rivaldo, just citing two, and I could remember more.
“They also came to Europe and were fantastic, but beyond that, they passed through this special situation in a country life that is succeeding on the international level.
“Neymar will keep fighting to be on Europe’s elite, where he already is, and this [winning with Brazil] will continue to be a dream for him. ”
As for Mbappe, the world really is at his feet after penning his brand new deal with PSG.
After turning down the chance to join Real Madrid this summer, the 23-year-old will be determined to prove himself as the world’s best player in the coming years, something that Mourinho believes he’s capable of based on the fear he strikes into opposition defenders .
Speaking in November 2019, the boss said: “His playing style, what he can do in a football game, it’s really special.
“And you have to be really special and have unique qualities [in football].
“When you look at the specificity of his qualities, he is really different from other players.
“The only player that comes to my memory [to compare] is Ronaldo Nazario.
“They are players with unique qualities. “When you play against them, you are afraid.”
After leading Roma to the club’s first major European trophy in the Europa Conference League this season, Mourinho vowed to stay put in the Italian capital where he has quickly become an iconic and much-loved figure.
But, if any club can get him to renege on his promise and lure the Special One away, it’s PSG – and the reason is three-fold.
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