Jose Mourinho faces awkward truth after taking Fenerbahce job as old comments resurface

Jose Mourinho in Galatasaray dugout
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Getty))

Jose Mourinho is poised for a return to management with Fenerbahce - despite his previous admiration for their fierce rivals Galatasaray.

The Special One has reportedly sealed a two-year contract to succeed Ismail Kartal at the helm of the Turkish club, marking an unexpected twist in his illustrious coaching career. He parted company with Roma back in January.

Former Chelsea and Tottenham manager Mourinho was heavily linked with a mega-money deal in Saudi Arabia. But he's opted for Turkey, where he's no stranger to the passionate football scene having encountered it first-hand during his time with Real Madrid.

His Champions League adventures brought him face-to-face with Galatasaray's fervent support, which he lauded after a nail-biting quarter-final clash in April 2013. Despite a 3-2 defeat on the night, his Madrid side progressed with a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Post-match, Mourinho didn't hold back his praise. Via the Express, he said: "I know Galatasaray are strong. They did not play with 11 men today, they played with 50,000 incredible supporters. It was hard for us and they deserved to win tonight."

Mourinho's close friendship with Galatasaray legend Fatih Terim, who has managed them four times, adds another layer to his upcoming challenge with Fenerbahce. Mourinho reminisced in a 2019 interview about the electric atmosphere and almost miraculous comeback spurred on by Terim.

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"One of the most memorable moments I have in football was in Istanbul," he recounted. "The world thought the game was over. But Fatih, the players, of course [Didier] Drogba and [Wesley] Sneijder in that team, his connection with the incredible fans, they almost turned it around.

"I felt I had to go to the centre of the pitch with Fatih to show an appreciation to that team and to that club, because it's only possible with a manager like Fatih that a team which is losing 4-0 on aggregate, I think it was 4-3 with 15 minutes to go, and we were in trouble."

During his second stint at Chelsea just the following season, Mourinho again spoke highly of Galatasaray fans' fervour after a tie concluded at 1-1 - and even implored the Blues support to take note. "The performance of the players in a difficult place to play was amazing. I just ask for 10 per cent of what this stadium gave Galatasaray when we play in three weeks," he implored.