Zeki Celik has become Jose Mourinho's third signing of the transfer window at Roma, joining from Lille for a reported €7million fee.

Celik, who has signed a four-year contract with the Serie A club, was said to be of interest to Mourinho when he was Tottenham coach.

He follows midfielder Nemanja Matic and goalkeeper Mile Svilar – both of whom were free transfers – to Rome.

"For me, it is an honour to play for such an important club," Celik said. "I have great ambitions and I want to contribute to the success of the team.

"I feel ready and focused. I never give up, and you will always see me fighting on the pitch."

Celik spent four seasons at Lille, winning the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21.

However, that successful team has been broken up over the past 12 months, with Mike Maignan, Boubakary Soumare, Jonathan Ikone, Sven Botman and now Celik all moved on.

Renato Sanches is thought to be a transfer target for both Paris Saint-Germain and Milan.

Stefano Pioli and Jose Mourinho confirmed their status as Serie A's best coaches by leading Milan and Roma to silverware last season, according to former Rossoneri and Giallorossi boss Fabio Capello.

Capello also claimed Inter's prospective move for Romelu Lukaku represents a "blow" for the rest of the Italian top flight, given his dominant displays during his successful first spell with the Nerazzurri. 

While Pioli became the first Milan boss to win the Scudetto since Massimiliano Allegri in 2010-11 last month, Mourinho ended Roma's 14-year trophy drought by winning the Europa Conference League in his first season with the club.

Capello, who led Milan to four Serie A titles in five seasons between 1991 and 1996 before masterminding Roma's most recent Scudetto triumph in 2000-01, hailed the duo's achievements as he declared next season will be make-or-break for many of the division's other top coaches. 

"The best? Pioli and Mourinho," he told Il Messaggero. 

"The first brought Milan back to success, the second confirmed himself as an international coach. Jose achieved a very important success. 

"[Juventus coach] Allegri, [Lazio's Maurizio] Sarri and [Napoli's Luciano] Spalletti paid for their return to Serie A. They were granted a transitional season. Now will be the moment of truth."

Meanwhile, with Inter reportedly set to re-sign Lukaku less than a year after his club-record £97.5million move to Chelsea, a series of Italian football's biggest names have spoken about his expected impact.

Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta said on Sunday the deal would make Inter title favourites, while Gianfranco Zola claimed the Belgian will make a "huge impact" for Simone Inzaghi's men after he scored 30 goals for the Nerazzurri in the 2020-21 campaign.

Capello concurred with those views, adding: "Lukaku is a great blow because in Italy, no one is able to mark him because of his excessive physical power."

However, while Milan are expected to work with a smaller budget than their rivals as they look to defend their crown, Capello hailed their recruitment policy and revealed his confidence that they can compete once more.

"I don't put my mouth on the market because these topics are the responsibility of the coaches," he added. 

"The experience of recent years leads me, however, to say that we must have confidence. At Milan, they have learned how to handle things, and they know how to choose [players]."

Francesco Totti is surprised that Romelu Lukaku could return to Inter but thinks he "wanted to go back to where he was good."

Having only left Inter to join Chelsea in a reported £97.5million deal last August, Lukaku is reportedly keen to move back to the club where he won the Serie A title last year.

Inter's managing director Alessandro Antonello said earlier this week that the forward holds a "great desire" to return after scoring just eight Premier League goals during an underwhelming 2021-22 season at Stamford Bridge.

While Italy great Totti expected Lukaku to move elsewhere, he says the potential return of a man who scored 30 goals in his final season with Inter would be a huge boost for the Nerazzurri.

"I wouldn't have expected it," Totti told Sky Sports Italia. "I thought he was going to another club, but he wanted to go back to where he was good, he won [Serie A] and he wants to keep winning. 

"In Italy he moves a lot, on a physical level it's embarrassing!"

With Inter also reportedly targeting former Juventus man Paulo Dybala and hoping to keep hold of Lautaro Martinez, Totti said that level of depth would strike fear into their opponents.

"No one knows with which tandem they will play, Simone Inzaghi will be happy." the Roma legend said.

Totti welcomed the arrival of Nemanja Matic at Roma as Jose Mourinho strives to build on their Europa Conference League triumph.

"If Mourinho made this choice it means that he is flexible for the team. We are talking about a great player who has shown his worth in Europe," he said.

"To come to Rome you need the right mentality and he has always shown that he has it."

Lille's Zeki Celik and Sassuolo's Davide Frattesi i have also been linked with the Eternal City giants and Totti says the Giallorossi need more strength in depth in order to push for a Champions League spot. 

"To obtain results you always need great players. If these names are available to Mourinho, it will be a more competitive Roma, who wants to aim above all for a place in the Champions League," he added.

"Then he will have to buy other players to get what we have won in the past. As I've always said, you need champions to win."

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly assessing his options for next season as he does not feel he fits in the aggressive press-from-the-front system expected to be implemented by incoming manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old showed he is still more than capable of contributing at the highest level in 2021-22, scoring 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances and six in seven in the Champions League.

With one year remaining on his contract, the Portugal icon would demand a fee, but there are reportedly some familiar faces interested in acquiring his services.

TOP STORY – RONALDO SHUNS TEN HAG, WANTS OUT OF OLD TRAFFORD

Jose Mourinho is said to be enquiring about the possibility of bringing Ronaldo to Roma, with the Italian club hoping the legendary coach can move the needle and convince him to return to Serie A, according to La Repubblica.

Mourinho will reportedly have to compete with the nostalgia factor as Sporting CP have also thrown their hat in the ring, with the thought Ronaldo may want to finish his career where it began at the Primeira Liga club he called home before he was first picked up by United in 2003.

If the five-time Ballon d'Or winner truly decides his time with United is up, as the report from the Italian outlet claims, there will undoubtedly be a bevy of suitors willing to bring in one of the game's most marketable superstars.

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are said to be "cautiously optimistic" of signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, although Sky Sports is reporting the club are hoping to pay closer to £30million, rather than the £50m asking price.

– According to The Athletic, Arsenal are also targeting Leeds United winger Raphinha and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.

– ESPN is reporting Chelsea are investigating whether it is possible to replace Romelu Lukaku with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski

United are expecting Barcelona to lower their asking price for Frenkie de Jong due to their financial problems, according to the Guardian.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Everton view Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis as a potential replacement for Richarlison if he leaves during this transfer window.

Jose Mourinho will return to Camp Nou in August to face Barcelona with his Roma side in the Joan Gamper Trophy.

The Gamper acts as the curtain-raiser for Barcelona's season, with the Blaugrana taking on Juventus in last year's edition, which was the first to involve both the men's and women's teams.

Barcelona announced on Wednesday that Roma are the chosen opposition for this year's version, with the games set to take place on August 6.

Mourinho will head back to the Camp Nou, where he was Louis van Gaal's assistant for three seasons until 2000, on the back of lifting the Europa Conference League with Roma.

The Portuguese coach is a largely unpopular figure among Blaugrana supporters after managing fierce rivals Real Madrid.

Mourinho guided Madrid to a LaLiga title, Copa del Rey crown and the Supercopa de Espana in his three seasons with Los Blancos.

It will not be the first appearance for Roma in the Gamper either, after the Serie A side were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the 2015 edition.

Nemanja Matic has reunited with Jose Mourinho at Roma following his departure from Manchester United, signing on a free transfer with the Serie A side. 

The 33-year-old has penned a one-year deal in the Italian capital, joining former United team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan and ex-Chelsea colleague Tammy Abraham at the Stadio Olimpico. 

The Serbia international confirmed last season that it would be his last at Old Trafford, having spent five years in Manchester, and has been signed by Mourinho for the third time in his career. 

"I am pleased and honoured to be joining this club and I cannot wait to start the new season with my team-mates," Matic said.

"Roma is a big club, with amazing fans and a coach, Jose Mourinho, who is well known to everyone – making the decision to come here very straightforward.

"I hope that by working together we are able to achieve some great things."

In 2014, following three years in Portugal, Matic re-signed for Chelsea during Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge and, three years later, followed the Portuguese boss to United and was a regular fixture in the first team throughout the managerial spells of Louis van Gaal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Following their Champions League final loss, Liverpool's inevitable need for squad rejuvenation has been accelerated.

Luis Diaz's January transfer provided a fresh element to Liverpool's play under Jurgen Klopp, while Sadio Mane's departure looms. 

Meanwhile, a replacement for Mane at Anfield has reportedly emerged.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL JOIN RACE FOR RAPHINHA

With Sadio Mane's departure imminent, Liverpool are ramping up their interest in Leeds United winger Raphinha , according to the Mirror.

The Brazil international has long been linked with Barcelona, but their much-publicised financial troubles require them to sell assets first.

Takumi Minamino  could be used as part of a package to sign the 25-year-old, who contributed 11 and three assists as Leeds secured Premier League safety.

Leeds manager Jesse Marsch is reportedly a fan of the Japan international, leaving Liverpool with potential leverage over a deal. 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are willing to offer Manchester City striker  Gabriel Jesus a weekly wage of £190,000 to secure his transfer, according to the Sun.

Manchester United are keen to secure the signature of Christian Eriksen on a free transfer with his short-term deal at Brentford expiring, per the Mirror.

Roma boss Jose Mourinho has emerged as an alternative to Zinedine Zidane in replacing Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain , the Daily Mail reports.

– Chelsea are in the race to sign Ousmane Dembele , who is available on a free transfer this off-season, per Talksport.

Jose Mourinho declared a year in Rome has changed him as a man, saying: "I have become a much less egocentric person."

The Roma head coach delivered a trophy in his first season when the Giallorossi beat Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final on May 25.

Mourinho will turn 60 next January and says his priorities are shifting. The self-declared 'Special One' retains a desire to be successful, but he claims he no longer worries about climbing the coaching ladder, which was once an obsession.

Having made his name as a Champions League winner with Porto, the Portuguese bossed Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham before ending up at Roma.

Speaking on Friday at the Faculty of Human Kinetics, a part of Lisbon University, Mourinho told Portuguese reporters his debut season with Roma gave him a fresh perspective.

He made a point, when Roma triumphed 1-0 in the Tirana final, of holding up five fingers to signal his five European trophy successes: Porto's UEFA Cup and Champions League, Inter's Champions League, Manchester United's Europa League and Roma's cherished success.

Mourinho said he marked the occasion in such a way because he wanted to serve a reminder of his achievements down the years.

"The way I celebrated has only one reason: I'm not what I was, I'm not the young man worried about his ascent, growth and having to prove on a daily basis what he was," he said.

"I have become a much less egocentric person, who lives more for others than for himself and who is in a club that has no history of winning, with incredibly passionate fans."

He said the European victory for Roma "was our Champions League".

"Possibly my emotion at the end of the game was not only their joy, but also my taking a deep breath, because for two months I had been hearing every day, 'Please bring the cup, please bring the cup'," Mourinho said, quoted widely in the Portuguese media.

"I was happy as ever because the club is huge. But winning there is a sad story. Great players and coaches passed through Roma, but winning there became culturally difficult."

Mourinho spoke of how mentor figure Manuel Sergio, a former visiting professor in Lisbon, helped to shape his understanding of coaching.

"In 20 years of my career, Professor Manuel Sergio was always by my side and on the other end of the phone," Mourinho said. "He once told me that I did not coach football players and that doesn't exist, but that I used to train young people and men who play football.

"It may seem trivial, but it's great. This made me become a better person and a better coach. They'll have to put up with me for a few more years."

One of the worst-kept secrets in football is out in the open after Manchester United confirmed Paul Pogba's second stint at the club is coming to an end.

The France star departed for Juventus back in 2012 before returning to Old Trafford in an £89million deal four years later.

Few Premier League players have proven as enigmatic as Pogba, with the 29-year-old capable of incredible individual brilliance but frequently subjected to fierce criticism throughout his difficult second spell at United.

From a World Cup success to sparring with Jose Mourinho, Stats Perform looks back on the highs and lows of Pogba's second spell with United.

High: Cup glory in triumphant first season

Pogba played his part as Mourinho, also in his first season at the club, led United to what remain their most recent major trophies.

The Frenchman made 51 appearances in all competitions as the Red Devils scooped an EFL Cup and Europa League double, ensuring Champions League qualification despite a sixth-placed Premier League finish. 

After starting United's 3-2 Wembley triumph over Southampton in February 2017, Pogba opened the scoring as United beat Ajax 2-0 to lift their second piece of silverware of the season in May, as the Red Devils won their sixth major European honour.

High: Conquering the centurions as City's celebrations put on hold

Manchester City's 2017-18 Premier League campaign was record-breaking in many ways, with Pep Guardiola's men becoming the only side to pick up 100 points in the competition, the first to win 32 of their 38 games, and the first to win 18 consecutive matches as they romped to the title.

They also, however, missed out on wrapping up the sweetest of title triumphs in a Manchester derby – a fact which owed primarily to a rampant performance from Pogba.

With City 2-0 up at half-time and seemingly cruising to the win they required to wrap up the title at a jubilant Etihad Stadium in April 2018, Pogba scored twice in two second-half minutes before Chris Smalling completed a sensational comeback, as United put the City celebrations on ice. 

High: World Cup glory with France

United finished the 2017-18 season as Premier League runners-up, with Pogba registering six goals and 12 assists in 37 appearances throughout the campaign.

And the midfielder carried that form into the 2018 World Cup in Russia, scoring in a 4-2 final win over Croatia as Les Blues were crowned world champions for the second time – his strike was the first goal scored from outside the penalty area in a World Cup final since Italy's Marco Tardelli did so against West Germany in 1982.

Pogba started six of the seven games France played during their triumphant campaign, but any hopes he may have harboured of building on those displays with his club were soon proven to be misplaced…

Low: Sparring with Mourinho as the world watches on

Reports of Pogba and Mourinho possessing a strained relationship were widespread during the Portuguese boss's time at the club, and such tensions were laid bare for the world to see in September 2018.

After an Instagram post appearing to show Pogba laughing with team-mates Luke Shaw and Andreas Pereira while United fell to an EFL Cup loss to Derby County, Sky Sports' cameras captured Mourinho discussing the incident with a visibly irked Pogba on the training ground.

It was not a good look as United struggled desperately in Mourinho's final months at the helm, with the former Chelsea boss relieved of his duties with the Red Devils sat sixth in the Premier League in December 2018.

Low: Penalty woe in 2021

Pogba enjoyed a renaissance of sorts under Mourinho's successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, ending the Norwegian's first half-season in charge with 13 league goals and nine assists, making 2018-19 his most productive campaign in a Red Devils shirt.

But Solskjaer's men frequently fell short on the big stage, most notably in their 2021 Europa League final loss to Villarreal, as David de Gea missed the vital kick at the end of a long penalty shoot-out after Pogba had been substituted for Dan James during extra-time.

That was not the only penalty heartache Pogba would experience in 2021, as France crashed out of the delayed Euro 2020 after a round-of-16 shoot-out loss to Switzerland, with Kylian Mbappe failing from the spot as Pogba's stunning 25-yard strike counted for nought. 

 

Low: Seeing red in Liverpool rout

Pogba's final season at Old Trafford was one to forget, as United finished sixth in the Premier League with their lowest-ever points tally in the competition (58), and interim manager Ralf Rangnick ended his six-month tenure with the worst Premier League win rate of any United boss (41.7 per cent – 10 wins from 24 games).

But before Rangnick entered the United dugout, Pogba endured the ignominy of being sent off as Solskjaer's Red Devils fell to a dire 5-0 home loss to Liverpool in October 2021 – their heaviest home loss without scoring since a 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City in February 1955.

Pogba's dismissal came just 15 minutes after he entered the fray at the break, making him the first substitute to be sent off in a Premier League for over three years (since Marcus Rashford in September 2018).

 

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly spent his first few days identifying transfer targets with football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and recruitment consultant Ralf Rangnick.

United's maneuverability in the transfer market will likely depend on the players they can first offload, in what is an already bloated and disjointed squad.

The Dutch manager joined United in the off-season after leading Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

TOP STORY – TEN HAG PRIORITISES NUNEZ, TIMBER DEALS    

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United to make the signings of Benfica's Darwin Nunez and Ajax's Jurrien Timber as the first order of business this off-season, according to the Mirror.

Ten Hag wants to make six signings, with the Benfica striker and Ajax defender at the top of his priorities, with respective £80million and £35m price tags.

The two players would effectively be the first dominoes in the row, given the cumulative hit to their transfer budget. 

ROUND-UP

– Ten Hag and United are also considering a bid for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, according The Guardian.

– Meanwhile, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will hold talks with Conor Gallagher over his future after his loan spell at Crystal Palace, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Romano is also reporting Ivan Perisic is set to sign this week for Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

– Roma boss Jose Mourinho is hoping to beat his former clubs in United and Spurs in the race to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, TyC Sports is reporting.

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly spent his first few days identifying transfer targets with football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and recruitment consultant Ralf Rangnick.

United's maneuverability in the transfer market will likely depend on the players they can first offload, in what is an already bloated and disjointed squad.

The Dutch manager joined United in the off-season after leading Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

TOP STORY – TEN HAG PRIORITISES NUNEZ, TIMBER DEALS    

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United to make the signings of Benfica's Darwin Nunez and Ajax's Jurrien Timber as the first order of business this off-season, according to the Mirror.

Ten Hag wants to make six signings, with the Benfica striker and Ajax defender at the top of his priorities, with respective £80million and £35m price tags.

The two players would effectively be the first dominoes in the row, given the cumulative hit to their transfer budget. 

ROUND-UP

– Ten Hag and United are also considering a bid for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, according The Guardian.

– Meanwhile, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will hold talks with Conor Gallagher over his future after his loan spell at Crystal Palace, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Romano is also reporting Ivan Perisic is set to sign this week for Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

– Roma boss Jose Mourinho is hoping to beat his former clubs in United and Spurs in the race to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, TyC Sports is reporting.

Jose Mourinho has already turned his attention to his next challenge as he looks to build on Roma's Europa Conference League win.

A first-half strike from Nicolo Zaniolo on Wednesday secured a 1-0 final win over Feyenoord to give the Giallorossi secured their first UEFA trophy and first title in any competition since the Coppa Italia in 2008.

Mourinho became the second coach to win five major European titles after Giovanni Trapattoni; the Portuguese coach added to his two crowns in both the Champions League and Europa League/UEFA Cup.

Roma had already secured Europa League football for next season by finishing sixth in Serie A, seven points behind a place in the top four for Champions League qualification.

Mourinho will lead them into that competition, having asserted his desire to stay, but he is quickly focusing on "what next" in the Eternal City.

"Memories stay forever and history can't be deleted," Mourinho posted on Instagram. "For me these were incredible, unforgettable emotions, but I need to think 'what next'...

"Before that, I need to hug everyone. I need to tell the world my gratitude to my PLAYERS: every one of them, from Rui [Patricio] who played 54 matches to Pietro [Boer] who didn't play one single minute.

"But in this team everyone played every minute of every game, that is what the Einsteins of football don't know, don't understand, and I feel sorry for them.

"Football is what you see and what you can't see, football is not played by 11, it is played by many more, and we were so many… Players, coaches, medical staff, analysts, kitmen, kitchen people, families, friends, Romanisti, Mourinhisti, and I am so grateful to everyone.

"One day I will leave Roma and AS Roma, that's the law of football, but more than one or more cups I would love to see this club forever and ever united by this passion and love.

"Two pictures to hug you all. Have a great June."

Jose Mourinho has declared he is "100 per cent Roma" after their 1-0 Europa Conference League final triumph over Feyenoord on Wednesday.

Playing in their first continental showpiece since losing the 1984 European Cup final to Liverpool, Nicolo Zaniolo scored the only goal for the Giallorossi, poking the ball home in the 32nd minute after chesting down Gianluca Mancini's ball over the top of the defence.

The victory in Tirana gave the Serie A club their first major European trophy.

In his first season at Roma, Mourinho has now emulated Giovanni Trapattoni's feat of winning a European trophy in three separate decades.

Despite famously leaving in the following off-season after winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter, the 59-year-old asserted he wants to stay and build on this success in the Italian capital.

"I remain, even if some voice or offer arrives," Mourinho said. "I want to stay in Rome and we need to understand what our owners want to do in the next season because we can follow up on this story, we must define the direction for the next season.

"I feel like a Roma player, like I feel like an Inter fan, a Chelsista, I'm crazy about Real Madrid, but for all due respect for the clubs I have worked for, I feel 100 per cent Roma.

"The beautiful thing about my career beyond winning with Manchester United, winning with Porto, Inter and now with Roma is something special. Winning when everyone expects it is easy, while it is special to win when you do something truly historic. I hope the fans wait for us and celebrate with us all."

In distinct Mourinho fashion, the Giallorossi were able to absorb pressure once they took the lead, only holding 33 per cent of possession over the 90 minutes.

Feyenoord could do very little in breaking Roma down, generating only three shots from open play in the penalty area in the match, despite how much of the ball they had.

For Mourinho and Roma, the Conference League had become a priority and he was pleased this trophy had not c1ome at the expense of domestic ambitions.

"There are so many things going on in my head right now," he said. "I have been in Rome for 11 months and I immediately understood where I was.

"As I told the boys, in Turin in the locker room, we did what we had to do, our job. But today it wasn't work, it was history and we wrote history. The Conference League is a competition that we thought we could win from the start, slowly becoming stronger and stronger and we met stronger and stronger teams.

"But we were aiming for it and sacrificed a few points in the league without losing qualification for the Europa League."

Jose Mourinho has said Wednesday's inaugural Europa Conference League final will be about "finishing a journey" as his Roma side prepare to take on Feyenoord.

The Giallorossi beat Leicester City in the semi-finals and finished sixth in Serie A this season to qualify for next season's Europa League.

Mourinho recently insisted that winning the Europa Conference League will mean as much to him as his Champions League titles with Porto and Inter.

The game with their Dutch opponents will take place at Arena Kombetare in Tirana, Albania, and speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Mourinho said winning the first edition of the competition was a key target for his team. 

"To me this final is not about writing history," he said. "It's about finishing a journey we've been on this season and achieving one of the targets we've always had.

"Me and my staff have been at Trigoria since the Torino game, preparing for this game. The squad look in good shape to me, ready for this."

Attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not played since suffering a muscle injury against Leicester last month, but Mourinho said the Armenian could be available on Wednesday. 

"Mkhitaryan trained today with the squad for the first time. But it was only a light session," he said.

"Still, it was important for him to see how he feels out there on the pitch. I will rely a lot on his view on whether he is ready or not tomorrow."

The former Chelsea manager has often gone by the moniker "The Special One", following his confident self-tagging when he became boss at Stamford Bridge in 2004, but he insisted he is not the same person any more and just wants to help his team.

"The Special One story is a nonsense," he added. "It's something you say in the beginning of your career. As you progress, mature, you start to think more about others than yourself. So that's an old story to me. Tomorrow, I will simply try to help."

Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini also spoke to the media, and said he and his team-mates will be "focused and determined" to get the win.

"Who wouldn't want to bring something home that will remain forever in the history of this club?" the 25-year-old said.

"We will be focused and determined, as we always are. I hope that tomorrow will end up being one of the best days of my life."

You would have been forgiven for thinking the days of Jose Mourinho leading teams to European finals were over.

From 2002 to 2010, Mourinho-coached sides appeared in two Champions League finals and one UEFA Cup showdown. On each occasion, 'The Special One' triumphed.

He had to wait seven years for his next appearance in a continental showpiece, but he kept up his 100 per cent record – Manchester United beating Ajax to lift the 2016-17 Europa League trophy.

But that was an early peak in Mourinho's United tenure. His stock has since fallen. He was sacked in 2018 and then lasted just 18 months at Tottenham, the only club he has managed so far where he has not won a trophy.

He might have had the opportunity to win the EFL Cup with Spurs, though he was sacked before that rescheduled match could take place. Hard lines.

It was hard not to feel Mourinho's race had been run. He can no longer be considered among the truly elite managers, and that was reflected as he rocked up at Roma.

Not that Roma, three-time champions of Italy, are by any means a small club. They were in the Champions League semi-finals as recently as 2018.

Yet, their last title came in 2001 and their last trophy of any description came in 2008 when they won the Coppa Italia for the ninth time. Ironically, Mourinho's Inter then beat Roma in the Supercoppa Italiana at the start of the following season, the last time the Giallorossi had a chance to win a piece of silverware.

But Mourinho is a winner, and now he has the chance to remind everyone of that. He is back in a European final as Roma get the opportunity to win their first major European trophy. No other coach has reached the final of a major European competition with four different clubs.

"I am a coach with a certain history and Roma are a big club," he told UEFA's Italian website. "I did feel a little bit of responsibility to make this a big competition.

"The Conference League is our Champions League. This is the level we are at, the competition we are playing for. The club has not reached a game like this for a very long time."

The Europa Conference League may have been scoffed at when it was introduced but for fans of Roma, and their opponents Feyenoord, continental glory that would otherwise have evaded them is now within their grasp.

With a record-breaking striker leading the line in the form of Tammy Abraham, Mourinho might just have a fifth European title under his belt.

Life in the old dog?

Mourinho has overseen 54 games so far at Roma, triumphing in 28 of them to give him a win percentage of 52.

That is a slight dip from the 55 per cent in 2020-21, though that was over three fewer matches, but an improvement on the 46 per cent (from 35 games) and 42 per cent (from 24 fixtures) in 2019-20 and 2018-19 respectively.

 

Roma won 18 Serie A games this season, ensuring a place in the Europa League through a sixth-placed finish.

His 47 per cent win ratio in the league ranks him 10th out of Roma coaches to have overseen at least 10 games, while his 52 per cent in all competitions puts him joint-sixth, alongside predecessor Paulo Fonseca, of those bosses to have taken charge of at least 20 matches.

Perhaps Mourinho's decline is highlighted by the fact he is placing so much emphasis on winning UEFA's third-tier club tournament, but from Roma's perspective, that desire will surely be welcome.

Abraham the key?

Having been deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea, Abraham has become something of a cult figure at Roma.

Abraham called Mourinho "the best manager in the world" in an interview with talkSPORT in April, and he has certainly thrived under the Portuguese's guidance.

 

He has scored 27 goals across all competitions this season, one better than the previous best tally he had managed, which was 26 goals for both Bristol City (in 2016-17) and Aston Villa (2018-19), albeit both of those campaigns were in the Championship.

It has been a record-breaking season for Abraham. A first-half double against Torino on Friday saw the 24-year-old become the highest-scoring English player in a single season in the Italian top flight, surpassing the previous mark of 16 set by Gerald Hitchens at Inter in 1961-62. 

The only Roma player to score more than the England international's haul of 17 in a debut Serie A season with the club was Rodolfo Volk, who registered 21 in the 1929-30 campaign. 

He has featured in all but one of Roma's league games, starting 36 times and averaging a goal every 182 minutes, converting 17.8 per cent of his 95 shots, which ranks better than two of his seasons in the Premier League (13.33 per cent in 2017-18 and 16.22 in 2019-20).

Abraham has scored nine times from 13 Conference League appearances and he has proved many doubters wrong this season.

With a place in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad later this year potentially up for grabs, playing a pivotal role in Roma's maiden European success would be some way to cap a fine campaign and seal his name in Giallorossi folklore.

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