José Mourinho says he has not needed a recovery period following his departure from Manchester United, while tipping Portugal to win the upcoming UEFA Nations League.
Meanwhile, during a week dominated by Portuguese coaches taking new adventures, Paulo Fonseca is reportedly in negotiations with Italian giants Roma. Luís Castro joined the growing contingent of bosses abroad this week by signing a deal with Greek outfit Panetolikos, while on the transfers front Mário Rui’s agent has confirmed his client is set to leave Napoli.
Mourinho has been speaking about his spell out of the game after he was sacked by United last December midway through his third season at Old Trafford. The former Porto manager remains keen to get straight back into top-level football and insists the experience did not leave him needing time to reflect.
“I didn't need to recover from anything,' Mourinho said. “What happened was nothing I didn't expect. I didn't need time to recover. I've been using the time to work on my future, to improve my technical staff, to find a new dimension to my work, without obviously losing what I am.
“It was me who, being as I am and thinking as I think, got to where I am. But my work has been at that level. I want to be better; I want to re-adapt, I want to reformulate myself and that's what I've been doing.”
Inevitably Mourinho has seen his name linked with a number of jobs across Europe, but returning to Portugal remains unlikely. Asked if he would anticipate a homecoming being in club football or with the national team, the 56-year-old admitted the Seleção attracted him more than another shot at the Portuguese top flight.
“I think it's more the national team than a club. But you can never say never,” he said. “But I see more the national team. Because it's something I've always lacked. It's something I'd like to do. Not only Portugal, but also the work of (any) national team. It's something I've never wanted until now and I'm still not in love with that kind of work at this moment in my career. But it's a job I'll want to try one day.
“I'm going to want to try that side of our profession one day. I'm going to want to do a European or World Cup, which I've never done before. I'm very curious about this role as a national team coach.
“By the way, we're going to win the League of Nations.”
Fonseca linked with Roma post
Paulo Fonseca is reportedly high on the wish-list of Italian club Roma ahead of next season. The former Porto coach is currently with Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, where Fonseca has won three consecutive league championships, leading to his name regularly being associated with potential new ventures across Europe.
Earlier this week, Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov appeared to hint something could be in the works by stating that he would allow Fonseca to leave the club should a big offer arrive. “If Paulo receives the offer of a great club, I am willing to let him go,” said Akhmetov. “There is a moral agreement in place if there is interest. There will be interest. Paulo is a great coach and an honourable person. What he has done here deserves applause.”
According to reports, Fonseca has been approached with a three-year contract and a salary worth €2m per year to take the job in the Italian capital. Claudio Ranieri left Roma at the end of last season and O Jogo says the Giallorossi would like to appoint their new coach as soon as possible. Sinisa Mihajlovic of Torino - and briefly of Sporting - is also thought to be in the running for the post.
Luís Castro heads to Greece
Luís Castro has left his position with the U23 side of Vitória de Guimarães to take charge of Greek outfit Panetolikos. The 39-year-old, who curiously shares the same name as Vitória’s senior side coach, has signed a three-year contract with the Agrinio-based club.
Castro worked with Vitória for three years, having previously been in charge of the academy at Hungarian club Debrecen. Panetolikos, who finished 9th in the Super League last season, represent Castro’s first job as head coach and he becomes the third Portuguese set to compete in the upcoming campaign in Greece along with Miguel Cardoso (AEK Athens) and Pedro Martins of Olympiakos.
Mário Rui set for Napoli exit; Daniel Fernandes and Cafu confirm futures
The agent of Mário Rui has confirmed he is looking for a new club for his client after Napoli made the Portugal full-back surplus to requirements. Coach Carlo Ancelotti is aiming to strengthen his defence during the summer and Mário Rui, who started 17 games in Serie A last season, has been made available for transfer.
“I regret that I have to find a new club for Mário Rui,” said the 28-year-old’s agent Mario Giuffredi. “He didn’t get the recognition he deserves; he has a great season. There doesn't seem to be any wish from the club to confirm him for next year, so we will work towards his exit.”
Meanwhile, former Portugal U21 goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes has left Darmstadt for fellow Bundesliga 2 side Hamburg on a three-year contract. “Hamburg for me represents the next step, I have big goals and I’m looking forward to next season,” said the 26-year-old. Also on the transfers front, midfielder Cafú has agreed a permanent deal with Poland’s Legia Warsaw from Metz after a successful loan spell.
By Sean Gillen