HomeEuropean FootballBenfica deny Mourinho rumours

Benfica deny Mourinho rumours

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Benfica have released a statement denying reports Jose Mourinho will take over as coach next season.

The Lisbon club’s Primeira Liga title challenge all but ended on Saturday night following the 2-1 defeat at leaders Sporting CP, prompting speculation over the future of current boss Roger Schmidt.

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The German is thought to be on borrowed time at the Estadio Da Luz, although winning the Europa League may prolong his stay – Benfica host Marseille in the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Thursday.

The noise around Schmidt prompted Benfica to put up a post on their website last night which read: “Benfica clarifies that the comments and information that point to the hiring of a new coach are totally false.

“The focus of the entire football operation and coach Roger Schmidt is solely on the passage to the semi-finals of the Europa League and the six victories we intend to get in the championship.”

Mourinho is a free agent having been sacked by Roma in January after two-and-a-half years in charge.

He is eager to return to management this summer, though. Speaking last month to Fabrizio Romano, he said: “I feel strong, I feel good and I love the work. I am really ready but I don’t want to make the wrong choice. I can’t accept something just because of the feeling and just because of the passion, so I have to be patient.

“March, April…it’s very difficult [to get a new job] so my objective is to start in the summer.”

Mourinho has been linked with Newcastle United, who are owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, as well as jobs based in Saudi Arabia itself.

And the 61-year-old, who rejected an offer from Al-Hilal to remain at Roma last summer, refused to rule out managing in the Middle East at some point.

He added: “Cristiano [Ronaldo] opened the door in terms of people believing it is possible to be there, to live there, to enjoy there, to enjoy the development of a country that wants to be a different country, where football is a passion.

“When I had a proposal [from Al-Hilal], of course economically it was important but I refused it because what was more important to me was Roma and European football.

“If you ask me in the future, experience has taught me to say ‘never say never’.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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