ZURICH SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 10: Jose Mourinho of Portugal arrives during the FIFA Ballon d'or Gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 10 2011 in Zurich Switzerland. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

José Mourinho: Is A Return To England On The Cards?

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Jose Mourinho: "I've decided to return to England."

Combative Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho made a statement of intent about his future after the Castillian giants' most recent game, a narrow 1-0 victory over Sevilla. Mourinho is one of the most brilliant managers of his generation, having won the UEFA Champions League with both Porto and Inter Milan as well as racking up numerous domestic honours everywhere he's gone. However, he's never stayed long enough to make a true impression at any club - his highly successful spell at Chelsea lasted just over three years, paling in comparison to rivals Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, tenured at their clubs for 24 and 14 years respectively.

Appointed manager of Real this summer after smashing their arch-rivals, Barcelona, on his way to the Champions League final last year, things haven't gone all Mou's way this season, and The Special One suffered a not-so-special 5-0 thrashing by Barca earlier this season. With the club currently four points behind Barcelona in La Liga and failing to impress in the same way that Xavi and co. do on a regular basis, Madrid aren't exactly where they wanted to be. Neither is Jose:

"I've decided to return to England. I have nothing prepared about my future - I just want to be happy in my work. I have no preferences about Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea. I just want to rediscover the joy. I'm not saying the Premier League is the most spectacular in the world but it is the best organised, the fair play and the enormous respect for your opponent."

Leaving aside the 'respect for your opponent' business, this is pretty intriguing news from the Portuguese manager. After refusing to commit his future to Real Madrid just a few days ago, Mourinho has now apparently narrowed down his options to three English clubs, all of whom might be interested in bringing him on board (although with United, it'd probably be best to wait for Sir Alex to retire, first). This could all just be posturing, of course - we've seen Mourinho play mind games before - but I don't think anyone in England would object to having one of the world's finest tactical minds and most hilariously irritating personalities back in the Premier League.

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José Mourinho Won't Put A Ring On It: Real Madrid Manager Makes No Promises Past Summer

José Mourinho is apparently taking commitment advice from George Clooney. After spending three seasons with Chelsea and two with Inter Milan, he's set to make it just one with Real Madrid before he slips out the back door and into the waiting arms of his newest club. Or will Mourinho return to an old flame?

The Special One is willing to say that he will stay at the Bernabéu through the end of the season, but after the trophies are handed out and the champagne guzzled, it's likely Mou will find himself greener pastures - or at least, ones more certain to win silverware. Widespread rumors of a rift between Mourinho and Real Madrid's director general, Jorge Valdano, lie at the heart of the story. While Valdano is attempting to put those rumors to bed, saying there are no problems between himself and the manager, Mourinho refuses to end the speculation. And if Mou's not happy, no one's happy.

Talk of where Mourinho wants to go is only fueling the fire. First, the stories of his desire to return to England, how he wants to settle down and "create something deeper." But is this club-hopper truly ready to commit to a lengthy stint with anyone? Fresher rumors have him returning to Inter Milan, where Leonardo has just a six-month contract. But while Mourinho certainly loves the Nerazzurri, he also loves fresh challenges. Returning to a club that he led to the treble would go against his natural desire for that which is new and exciting.

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