Jose Mourinho burst into tears during his interview after Roma won the Conference League. ‘This was not work tonight, this was history. We had to write history. We wrote it. I am staying, there are no doubts.’
This is the inaugural edition of the Conference League and it was decided in Tirana by a Nicolò Zaniolo chest and flick off the outside of the boot.
“There are so many things going through my head. So many things at the same time,” he said, fighting back tears on Sky Sport Italia.
“I’ve been at Roma for 11 months, I realised the moment I arrived what it meant, they were waiting for this. As I told the lads in the locker room in Turin, we did what we needed to do, qualify for the Europa League. We had great work all season.
“This was not work tonight, this was history. We had to write history. We wrote it.”
Roma had never won a major UEFA tournament before, as the Fairs Cup was not recognised in the 1960s, losing Finals in 1984 and 1991.
“The Conference League is a competition that we had the sensation from the start we could win, but it got a stronger competition when the Europa League teams came in, Leicester City, Olympique Marseille and Feyenoord. But we were counting on it, we could’ve had a few more points in Serie A, but we put so much into this competition.”
There continue to be suggestions Mourinho could be offered a huge contract by Newcastle United or Paris Saint-Germain, but he reassures the Roma fans.
“Now I am staying, there are no doubts. Even if some rumours emerge, I only want to remain at Roma. We must understand what our owners, who are fantastic people, want to do next season, because this is history, but we can build a really strong project with honest professionals.
“We need to sit down and understand what the plan is for next season.”
Dan and Ryan Friedkin visited Mourinho in London to talk him into taking this job.
“This remains in the history of Roma, but also mine, I was told only I, Sir Alex and Giovanni Trapattoni won trophies in three different decades. It makes me feel a little old, but it’s nice for my career!
“Now I will go on vacation and sit on the beach to think about all this for a while.”
It is the first ever UEFA tournament for Roma, but the fifth for Mourinho, who also won the UEFA Cup in 2003, the Champions League in 2004 and 2010 and the Europa League in 2017.
Mourinho was also the coach when an Italian club last won a European competition, Inter in 2010.
“The great thing about my career is that, aside from the Europa League with Manchester United, doing it with Porto, Inter and Roma is very, very, very special. It’s one thing to win when everyone expects it, when you made the investments to win, but it’s quite another to win when something remains immortal, that feels truly special.
“I think of myself, of course, but above all the Roma fans who can celebrate tonight, enjoy themselves and remember this night forever.”
Mourinho was asked if he feels like a real Romanista tonight.
“Of course I feel like a Romanista, but that might be my way of working. I am a Porto fan, an Inter fan, a Chelsea fan, I am crazy about Real Madrid, I am now a Roma fan, I belong to all those clubs because we had these moments together.
“Tonight, with all due respect for all the clubs I worked for before, I am 100 per cent Romanista, because these fans are truly incredible.”
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 25, 2022