Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Jose Mourinho certainly doesn’t give off the air of a man on a fleeting visit.
The latest rumours sweeping the majority of the sporting and regular dailies is that our man is off to Real Madrid and taking Zlatan Ibrahimovic with him.
It has been less than a week since Inter stuffed another title into their back pockets, and the Special One was dancing around the San Siro without a care in the world.
Apart from Ibra walking around with a long face until he was shipped off to Dubai for a bit of much-needed R&R, the atmosphere out at the Appiano Gentile training ground has been one of a job well done and now on to winning another title.
With the hard work out of the way, Jose was able to retire to the gentlemen’s club that is the Gianluca Vialli-Paolo Rossi talk-show on Sky Sports on Thursday evening.
No chance there of spotting a fresh tattoo, as sported by Marco Materazzi, who found some small patch of space on his body for another inking, or anyone strutting around in possession of a fetching multi-coloured hairdo, such as, let’s say, Mario Balotelli.
All very benign and gentle then, as the trio settled into the highchairs of a studio mocked up to look like a study of sorts – more drawing room than boot room.
"The new Real Madrid coach? Pass"
Vialli and Rossi are of course legendary figures in the Italian game and now slipping quietly into middle age while still possessing that boyish glint in their eyes. And they like nothing better than chatting about the game.
This must have come as a bit of surprise to the guest who has spent the whole year dodging verbal assaults from the fine figures of the press, but in the inner sanctum of the Sky studio - sorry authentic-looking study - Jose could finally relax and let his guard down, even pulling the sleeves of his jacket up, Miami Vice-style.
A fine raconteur he is, when not impersonating Don Johnson, and you felt he could have gone on chatting well past the allotted hour.
A gentle probing from the pair about the Real headlines brought a smile and a “Listen, guys: I am here and I expect to be at Inter next season – well, 99.9 percent certain.”
Although when questioned who he would expect to be in charge of Real he was, for once, stumped for an answer.
So no chance of the rumours abating for the time being, then.
And the Champions League winners? “Manchester United are favourites, they are bigger and physically stronger than Barcelona but have the hunger.”
This gives an indication of the direction Mourinho wants to take his Inter side – an even more robust style to lay the opposition to waste.
No wonder he is a big admirer of Nemanja Vidic – the player he picked out as United’s main man.
"Like that, lads"
It certainly seems that his sights would be set on the Serbian, but all indications are that Bruno Alves of his former club Porto will be a more realistic target.
“I need a strong central defender who can bring the ball out at his feet,” claimed Jose, overlooking his compatriot’s back-pass which gifted United their equaliser in the Champions League.
There could also be a raid back at Chelsea for two other towers of strength: Ricardo Carvalho and John Obi Mikel.
Genoa pair Diego Milito and Thiago Motta should be confirmed signings before the end of the season, who again both combine skill with a physical presence.
Although that much-awaited dossier on how Inter can launch a credible challenge in Europe while at the same time holding on to their dominance at home is still under lock and key.
An educated stab at its contents might come up with this conclusion: build it like the Premier League – bigger, stronger and faster.
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