Jose Mourinho, speaking within minutes of being crowned European champion coach in the stadium he may call home next season, gave the strongest hint that he has performed his last act for Inter Milan.
After masterminding the Italian champion’s first European Cup triumph in 45 years at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium -- giving the team a historic sweep of trophies -- the Portuguese last night discussed the possibility of a move to soccer’s richest club.
“Discussions are going on between clubs,” Mourinho said after the match. “I need to know what they want for me and I will then give the adequate answer. It’s a question of getting the right motivation and then seeing what happens next”.
The former Chelsea coach has already agreed to a 40 million pound ($57.72 million) deal, the Sunday Times said today.
Two goals from Diego Milito allowed Inter to overcome German champion Bayern Munich and become the first Italian team to complete the sweep of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League in one season. That’s three more titles than Real managed even after spending a record $300 million on some of the world’s best talent.
Mourinho, 47, said he’ll meet “the day after tomorrow” with Florentino Perez, the billionaire industrialist, who’s president of the nine-time European champion.
Mourinho sprinted down the side of the field toward the Inter supporters and waved at them with both hands raised. He then shared an embrace with Inter owner Massimo Moratti. Until yesterday, the oil company owner’s investment of about $1 billion failed to turn Inter into the European champion it was when his father Angelo presided over consecutive triumphs in 1964 and 1965.
“I think it was unstoppable hug,” Mourinho said of his post-match celebrations with his boss. “Maybe he had a feeling I was the one to give him his dream. He’s been dreaming for many years to have the same photo his father has -- the photo with the team and the European Cup. Now he has that and I’m very happy for him.”
Mourinho’s success has come along with difficulties adapting to Italian soccer culture. He was banned from the dugout for several matches for making critical comments about officials and stopped speaking with the media.
“I’ve seen almost all our matches over a two month period from the stands,” he said. “I’ve saw my team’s 10-point advantage go and we were suddenly second. These two months didn’t please me.” Inter edged Roma to the title with a last-day victory, after which Mourinho cried.
It was his second straight Serie A crown since joining Inter in 2008 and follows the back-to-back English championships won with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006.
The Portuguese joins Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld as the only men to win European soccer’s top club title with two different teams. His first came with Porto in 2004.
“Some have asked today if I felt something different from my first Champions League win. I didn’t feel a major difference and perhaps I can win three, four or five times.”
Mourinho worked for Bayern’s coach Louis Van Gaal for three years when the pair were at Barcelona, living 50 meters (164 feet) from each other and working together “24/7,” he said.
Had the 58-year-old Van Gaal’s team won he would’ve stood alongside Happel and Hitzfeld as a two-club champion and Bayern’s red-shirted fans would be cheering a triple championship after Bundesliga and German Cup successes earlier in the season.
Van Gaal, a Champions League winner with Ajax in 1995, rued Bayern’s failure to make the most of its ball control. The four-time European Cup holder had 66 percent possession, though Inter’s defense, like it did in the semifinal elimination of defending champion Barcelona, offered few openings.
“I think Inter did win and I think he won with this team quite rightly,” the Bayern manager said. “He was entitled to win but perhaps it’s easy for him to win by playing this (defensive) style.”