All of Jose Mourinho’s First Games Against His Former Clubs Ahead of Manchester United Reunion

​Less than one year after he was last in the dugout at Old Trafford, José Mourinho will return to Manchester United as an opposition manager after taking over from Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.

The 56-year-old has a perfect record from his opening three games in north London, and all eyes will be on how Mourinho gets on against his former side Manchester United in Wednesday’s narrative-filled match.

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho’s spent 19 years as a first-team manager in Europe, so it’s no surprise that along the way he’s been forced to return to his old stomping grounds in the latter stages of his career.

So ahead of his return to Old Trafford, what better time to look at exactly how Mourinho’s fared when he’s faced his old clubs.


S.L. Benfica

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho’s most well known for making his name at FC Porto, but he actually started his senior managerial career in Portugal’s capital with S.L. Benfica.

He only spent a few months in charge, but Mourinho was given the chance to face the Águias three years later when his Porto side welcomed Benfica to the Estádio do Dragão.

Mourinho named the likes of Deco, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira in his starting lineup – as well as current Wolves manager Nuno Espírito Santo on the bench – when the two Portuguese giants met in September 2003.

Derlei put Porto into the lead at half-time, while an own-goal from Argel Fucks shortly after the break ensured all three points stayed in northwest Portugal.

Mourinho’s side also finished with a one-man advantage against José Antonio Camacho’s Benfica after defender Ricardo Rocha was shown a second yellow card just 20 minutes before the final whistle.


FC Porto

Jose Mourinho

One year and eight days after Mourinho’s win against Benfica, the Portuguese manager was once again in charge at the Estádio do Dragão, but this time he was sitting in the away dugout after taking over at Chelsea a few months earlier.

Mourinho, who’d just won the Champions League with Porto, unsurprisingly received a heroes welcome by the home fans.

But there wasn’t any love lost for Mourinho by the time the match kicked-off in their Champions League group stage match, and defensive midfielder Aleksey Smertin put Chelsea into a one-goal lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Didier Drogba added a second just after half-time to put Chelsea in control of the match, and although substitute Benni McCarthy did pull one back, captain John Terry rounded off the scoring against Porto to help the Blues qualify as Group H winners.


Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho’s second-longest spell as a manager came with Real Madrid, where he lifted a trophy every season he was at the Santiago Bernabéu before leaving the club in 2013.

But it wasn’t until he won the ‘Mourinho treble’ with Manchester United that he faced Los Blancos for the first time since he left, this time playing against his old side on neutral ground in the UEFA Super Cup.

There were over 30,000 fans packed into the Philip II Arena in Macedonia to watch Mourinho take on Real Madrid, but in a career first, the Portuguese manager actually lost his first game against his former club.

Casemiro put Real Madrid into the lead midway through the first half with a well-taken sliding finish, while Isco added a second goal just after half time when he combined with Gareth Bale before firing the ball underneath David de Gea.

Romelu Lukaku pulled one back when he reacted the quickest from Nemanja Matić’s long-range shot, which was spilt by Keylor Navas, but it was too little too late in what is still the penultimate final in Mourinho’s career to date – United went on to lose the FA Cup final later that season.


Chelsea

Inter Milan's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

Mourinho avoided the poetic return to Stamford Bridge in his first-ever match against Chelsea, but the Portuguese manager did have to knock his former side out of the Champions League knockout stages in 2010.

His Inter side famously went on to win the competition that season, but not before goals from Diego Milito and Esteban Cambiasso either side of Salomon Kalou’s equaliser gave the Nerazzurri a vital win in the first knockout stage match at San Siro.

Samuel Eto’o’s late goal in the return leg at Stamford Bridge ensured that Inter booked their place in the quarter-finals, but his form against Chelsea dipped dramatically after taking over at Manchester United.

In seven games against the Blues, Mourinho’s United lost four times across all competitions, while they also drew once against Chelsea just a few weeks before he was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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90min Editors Pick Their Alternative Ballon d’Or Rankings

France Football, we at 90min have a bone to pick with you lot. We feel that the Ballon d’Or rankings, overall, were a complete and utter shambles. 

Robert Lewandowski, eighth? REALLY?!

Raheem Sterling, 12th? ARE YOU FOR REAL?!

HUGO LLORIS, 23RD?! HOW AND WHY IS HE EVEN ON THIS LIST?!!

So, with fire in our bellies and expletives on the very tip of tongues, we at 90min have decided to do our own, alternative, Ballon d’Or rankings. 


Virgil van Dijk

​1. Virgil van Dijk

2. Lionel Messi

3. Robert Lewandowski

4. Sadio Mane

5. Kylian Mbappe

Virgil van Dijk pips Lionel Messi to the post for me because his brilliance led to Liverpool winning the UEFA Champions League. ​Lionel Messi’s only led to Barcelona winning La Liga – which isn’t as good. 

Elsewhere in my top five, Robert Lewandowski earns the number three spot for scoring more goals than anyone ever thought was humanly possible, and Sadio Mane and Kylian Mbappe round out the top five for being lightening quick and good at kicking the ball into a net. 


Lionel Messi

1. Lionel Messi 

2. Virgil van Dijk

3. Robert Lewandowski

4. Sadio Mane

5. Raheem Sterling

Could Virgil van Dijk score 50 goals in a calendar year nine times, like Lionel Messi will by the time 2019 is over? Didn’t think so.


FBL-ENG-PR-NEWCASTLE-MAN CITY

1. Lionel Messi

2. Virgil van Dijk

3. Sadio Mane

4. Robert Lewandowski

5. Raheem Sterling

​Raheem Sterling went up a level this season as a crucial part of a huge team…but Lionel Messi is Lionel Messi. Robert Lewandowski is having possibly his best ever year and has been the best player in the world since August…but Lionel Messi is Lionel Messi. Sadio Mane made the Champions League winners tick, but Lionel Messi is Lionel Messi. Virgil van Dijk had a historically colossal season in Liverpool’s defence………..but Lionel Messi is Lionel Messi.


Robert Lewandowski

1. Lionel Messi

2. Virgil van Dijk

3. Robert Lewandowski 

4. Raheem Sterling 

5. Sadio Mane

It’s kinda hard to argue with the top two. One was clearly the best footballer over the last year and the other was pivotal in a Champions League win for his club. As for the best of the rest, Lewandowski’s incredible form at the start of 2019/20 season sees him pinch third, while Sterling’s increased contribution at international level alongside his incredible club displays merits a higher ranking than 12th. ​Mane is brilliant and probably the forward Liverpool look to when they’re in trouble, and deserves a spot in the top five.


Sadio Mane

1. Lionel Messi 

2. Virgil van Dijk

3. Sadio Mane

4. Robert Lewandowski 

5. Raheem Sterling

I could wax lyrical all day about why Lionel Messi deserves to win, but the matter of the fact is he’s the best player in the world. For all of my rhetoric about how defenders or goalkeepers should never win a Ballon d’Or, Virgil van Dijk had an insane year that is probably the greatest peak of most if not all defenders this century, but Messi pips him to the award. 

The levels that my third-placed Sadio Mane manages to step up every year have become so normalised that it’s disrespectful. A two-footed threat who’s an underrated aerial threat, can play on the counter and in heavy possession. 

Christ, my number four Robert Lewandowski bloody loves goals. A victim of playing for a dominant force in one league for over half the decade, Lewandowski is now finally starting to get the recognition he deserves at the age of 31. 

And finally, arguably the best player on a treble-winning side, Raheem Sterling’s become the face of Manchester City, above and beyond Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero. Alongside Harry Kane, he’s also England’s biggest star, and his 2019 merits a place in the top five.


Alisson Becker

1. Lionel Messi

2. Virgil van Dijk

3. Sadio Mane

4. Raheem Sterling

5. Alisson Becker

Virgil van Dijk had a career-defining season that marked him out as not only worth every penny of the £75m Liverpool spent on him, but a generational behemoth of a centre back. 

Unfortunately, Lionel Messi is Lionel Messi.

Sadio Mane has been Liverpool’s match-winner for much of the calendar year, while taking Senegal to the AFCON final.


TOPSHOT-FBL-ENG-PR-COMMUNITY-MAN CITY-LIVERPOOL

1. Lionel Messi

2. Virgil van Dijk

3. Sadio Mane

4. Raheem Sterling

5. Alisson Becker

Lionel Messi deservedly tops the Ballon d’Or standings because he was the greatest in 2019. Simple really. Virgil van Dijk is a clear and obvious second ahead of Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, while Raheem Sterling and Alisson close out the top five after enjoying sumptuous calendar year’s for both club and country.


Sadio Mane,Virgil Van Dijk

1. Virgil van Dijk

2. Sadio Mané

3. Robert Lewandowski

4. Lionel Messi

5. Raheem Sterling

Yeah he’s a defender, but VVD has been imperious at the back for Liverpool in 2019. A European crown is already in the bag, and a Premier League title will soon follow, just as it will for Sadio Mané. While VVD has been the rock at the back, it has been Mané’s year to shine at the front for the Reds.

Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski has scored 45 goals and counting this calendar year, demonstrating he is pretty much the perfect striker on the way to another Bundesliga title, so for me the Pole deserves a spot. 

Meanwhile, Messi has still been doing Messi things but perhaps to a lesser extent, and he really deserves punishment for Barça’s capitulation at Anfield earlier this year, despite a La Liga win. Raheem Sterling takes my final berth for the example he has set on and off the field in 2019. He’s just a great guy.


90min’s Ballon d’Or Rankings

Using the following scoring system: 

1st = 5 points.

2nd = 4 points.

3rd = 3 points. 

2nd = 2 points.

5th = 1 point. 

Here they, are the definitive, the correct, the undisputed 2019 Ballon d’Or rankings, as voted for by the 90min editorial team: 


1. Lionel Messi (36 points)

2. Virgil van Dijk (34 points)

3. Sadio Mane (22 points) 

4. Robert Lewandowski (16 points) 

5. Raheem Sterling (10 points) 


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Ballon d’Or 2019: Full Golden Ball Rankings as Lionel Messi Scoops Award

Lionel Messi has only gone and won his sixth Ballon d’Or, the most of any player in the history of football.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to claim the Argentine is not the greatest footballer of all time, with his phenomenal stats in 2019 proving his is worthy of this year’s Golden Ball. In 54 appearances for club and country, the little magician has scored 46 goals and grabbed 17 assists, despite struggling with injuries.

Virgil Van Dijk

Those figures mean Messi beats Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk to the big prize, while Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo has lost another battle with his foe, the Portuguese coming third in the rankings.

Van Dijk is joined by several Reds teammates towards the top of the list, as Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Alisson all make the top seven.

Manchester City duo Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez finished ninth and tenth, respectively, with fellow Sky Blues representatives Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne also featuring.

The later pair sandwich either Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard, while other places in the top 20 were claimed by Matthijs de Ligt, Sergio Aguero, Roberto Firmino, Antoine Griezmann, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who shared the Premier League Golden Boot with 22 goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Incredibly, Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris features above Barcelona stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, while 2019 Golden Boot winner Joao Felix, now playing for Atletico Madrid, ties in 28th place with Marquinhos and Donny van de Beek.

We’ll be updating with results as they come – so hang with us!

Ranking
Player
​1 ​Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
​2 ​Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
​3 ​Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
​4 ​Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
​5 ​Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
​6 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
​7 ​Alisson (Liverpool)
​8 ​Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
​9 ​Bernardo Silva (Man City)
​10 ​Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
​11 ​Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)
​12 ​Raheem Sterling (Man City)
​13 ​Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
​14 ​Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
​15 ​Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
​16  Sergio Aguero (Man City)
​17  ​Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
​18 ​Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
​19 ​Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
​20 = ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
​22 Son Heung-min​ (Tottenham)
​23 ​Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
​24 = ​Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
​26 = ​Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Gini Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
​28 = ​Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Marquinhos (PSG)
Donny van de Beek (Ajax)

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Wales Set to Ban Gareth Bale From Playing Golf During Euro 2020

​Wales manager Ryan Giggs will ban Gareth Bale from playing gold during next summer’s European Championships.

Since joining Real Madrid for £86m in 2013, the winger has been heavily criticised by the Spanish media for his regular trips to the golf course. Despite the issues he has faced following his move to Los Blancos, Bale has remained a reliable performer for his national side, helping them secure their place at Euro 2020.

Ryan Giggs

After Wales beat Hungary 2-0 on 19th November – a result that confirmed the Dragons’ qualification for the European Championships – Bale was ​pictured holding a banner that read: “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.”

However, Giggs has informed the 29-year-old not to continue his golfing exploits at the finals due to fears the swinging motion could aggravate an injury, according to the ​Times.

​Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey and ​Crystal Palace’s Wayne Hennessey often join Bale on the green when the trio are on international duty, but they will also be banned from the sport during the summer.

Discussing Giggs’ decision, Welsh Football Association’s chief executive Jonathan Ford said: “Ryan is clear that while in camp our focus should be on the football,” Ford said. “Golf won’t be on my checklist when I look at base camps.

FBL-EURO-2020-QUALIFIER-HUN-WAL

“You can’t be in a situation where you have players risking their fitness by playing golf. I appreciate that some players look at it differently. You can’t train all day so there has to be some entertainment for the guys.”

Ford has been researching potential training camps for Giggs and his squad, with Azerbaijan a potential location for the Welsh to set up base.

They have been drawn into a difficult group for the tournament, and will begin their campaign with a match against Switzerland, before they take on Turkey and Italy in the final two rounds of the pool stages.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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Correcting the Ballon d’Or’s Mistakes: All the Players Who Should’ve Won Since 1995

​The Ballon d’Or is expected to go to Lionel Messi in Paris tonight, making it a record six wins for the incomparable Argentine.

In the Messi and Ronaldo era, the award has taken on new significance as the defacto signifier of the best individual in the sport. However, the voters don’t always get it right.

Ferenc Puskas and Kenny Dalglish are two famously overlooked examples, and Virgil van Dijk – most people’s favourite for runner-up – can count himself in good company in being snubbed for football’s top individual gong.

Since the award went global in 1995, here are seven stars who didn’t win but probably should have…


1995 – Jari Litmanen (Ajax)

SOCCER-AJAX-BAYERN

If 1995 was all about making sure the award went to someone outside Europe for the first time, then George Weah was a fine candidate. The Liberian striker also won African Footballer of the Year and was the Champions League’s top scorer, bagging seven goals as PSG made it to the semi-finals. During the summer he then made the move to Serie A, with the side who had bested him in Europe, ​AC Milan, hitting the ground running in Italy.

And yethe just wasn’t the best player in the world that year, which is what the award was supposed to celebrate.

Already arguably past his peak, Weah had scored just seven times in 34 Ligue 1 matches in 1994/95, as PSG only finished third, way off eventual winners Nantes. He also only scored one of his eight Champions League goals from the 1994/95 season in 1995, too.  

Instead of competing domestically, PSG poured their efforts into Europe but fell short to Milan, who in turn lost the final to that Ajax side coached by Louis van Gaal, featuring Patrick Kluivert, Clarence Seedorf, Frank Rijkaard, Edwin van der Sar and the de Boer brothers. Perhaps most importantly, however, Ajax had a Finnish number 10 by the name of Jari Litmanen.

The forward nicknamed ‘Merlin’ was the creative heart of the Ajax team, who had secured back-to-back Eredivisie titles, scoring 26 times in all competitions in 1994/95 as the Dutch side swept all before them, adding the Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup to their trophy cabinet later that year.

While Weah was the inclusive choice for 1995, the timing of the voting change possibly denied Litmanen – who came third that year – the recognition he deserved.


1999 – Roy Keane (Manchester United)

Champs League SF Roy Keane

Rivaldo was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1999 after a stellar season in which he played a starring role in the winning of La Liga and the Copa America.

However, while David Beckham actually finished runner-up in the voting, ​Manchester United’s captain fantastic Roy Keane was overlooked by the judges, despite ending 1999 on top of the world.

The Irishman took the club’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award as he led United to that historic treble (the first and only ever by an English club), with his own standout performance coming in the Champions League semi-final comeback against Juventus, where Keane’s determination and drive from the middle of the park became iconic.

Perhaps the fact that he was suspended for the final harmed Keane’s chances for the Ballon d’Or. However, he did score the only goal in the Intercontinental Cup later that year against Palmeiras to further solidify United’s world domination and his own claim as one of the very best at the time.


2000 – Fernando Redondo (Real Madrid)

Fernando Redondo

Luis Figo’s controversial move across the Catalan-Castillan divide was rewarded with the first Ballon d’Or of the new millennium and while the Portuguese was arguably the best player in the world (and the most expensive), he didn’t really have the best year.

He helped Portugal to the semi-finals of Euro 2000, but was on the losing end in La Liga as Deportivo ran away with the title. In Europe, meanwhile, ​Real Madrid won the Champions League but Figo hadn’t joined yet.

Captaining Los Blancos to success at the Stade de France in Paris was deep-lying Argentine Fernando Redondo, who remains criminally underrated outside of his homeland of Argentina and Spain.

The classy midfielder picked up UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and Real Madrid’s Player of the Year for 2000 and was simultaneously midfield playmaker and anchor for Vicente del Bosque’s side. However, France Football’s voters went for the glitzier option. 

Sadly, injuries curtailed Redondo’s career, but the midfielder – nicknamed ‘Il Principe’ was still selected in a MARCA poll for Real Madrid’s all-time XI.


2001 – Raul (Real Madrid)

SOCCER-REAL MADRID-ALAVES

A year later came one of the Ballon d’Or’s most controversial awards in recent times, with Liverpool sensation Michael Owen causing a shock by pipping Raul to the honour, after helping Liverpool to a baby-treble of the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup and League Cup.

Real Madrid’s homegrown hero Raul, however, had enjoyed his best ever year, top-scoring in both La Liga and the Champions League, while Los Blancos stormed to the league and reached the semi-finals in Europe. He was named UEFA’s Forward of the Year in 2001 – as well as the years before and after.

The fact that Madrid were between Champions League titles – in 2002 Raul became the first player to score in two finals – possibly counted against him in the judges’ minds. There are also suggestions that the Spaniard was a victim of voting politics, with the selectors keen to award to an English player for the first time since Kevin Keegan in 1979.

Raul, Madrid’s ‘eternal seven’ was also perhaps a victim of his own consistency, but he never bettered his 2001 year.

Following Owen’s surprise confirmation, former winner ​Roberto Baggio declared: “Raúl is the 2001 Ballon d’Or, whatever is said.” 

Fabio Capello too called Raul’s snub ‘a mystery’. 


2004 – Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

Arsenal's French forward Thierry Henry (

2004 was the year football went weird. Porto won the Champions League, Greece won the European Championships, Valencia were champions of Spain. There was a lot that just didn’t quite look right.

However, one team that stood out among the unlikely chaos were ​Arsenal, who went the entire Premier League season unbeaten. Among the ‘Invincibles’, Thierry Henry was the star, a striker of ridiculous grace and ruthlessness.

The French forward scored 30 times in the league in 2003/04, but unfortunately flattered to deceive for France in Euro 2004, while Arsenal were dumped out of the Champions League by Chelsea in the quarter-finals.

Instead, Andriy Shevchenko, who blitzed Serie A with Milan, picked up the Ballon d’Or, while Henry had to make do with fourth place.   

Henry has since claimed he never thought about winning the Ballon d’Or as a player, but to be overlooked by France Football in the season in which he won the league unbeaten, was named PFA and FWA Player of the Year, won the Premier League Golden Boot and was named FIFA World Player runner-up may have understandably stung.

Henry is remembered as the Premier League’s greatest ever player, and 2004 was his greatest season.


2006 – Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona)

Barcelona's Cameroonian forward Samuel E

2006’s voting was ultimately swayed by Italy’s World Cup victory in Germany, with Fabio Cannavaro taking first place as captain of the Azzurri under Marcelo Lippi.

The centre-back, who was the first defender to win since Franz Beckenbauer in the 1970s, had enjoyed a stellar tournament but, at 33, his powers were already somewhat on the wane.

Samuel Eto’o, by contrast, was consistently brilliant in 2006, claiming the Pichichi trophy with 26 goals in a title-winning ​Barcelona season which kickstarted a new era of dominance.

With Italians dominating the voting, the Cameroonian finished sixth in the overall Ballon d’Or rankings. However, that doesn’t do justice to what was a pretty sensational year for a player who, alongside Ronaldinho, lit up the most terrifying attack in world football.

As Frank Rijkaard’s side powered to Champions League triumph over Arsenal, Eto’o scored the crucial equaliser the final and was named UEFA’s Best Forward of the Year.

A knee injury kept him out from the end of September to January 2007, perhaps hindering his chances of becoming only the second ever African player to win the Ballon d’Or.


2007 – Francesco Totti (Roma)

Francesco Totti

​2007 saw Kaka named Ballon d’Or winner after starring in AC Milan’s Champions League triumph. The elegant Brazilian was famously the last person to win the award other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo prior to Luka Modric interrupting the duopoly last year.

However, despite European success, there is an argument that 2007 was actually one of Kaka’s poorer years in Milan on an individual level, with the attacking midfielder more productive in both 2006 and 2008.

One man who did enjoy his very best season in the year of 2007 was Roma legend Francesco Totti, who won both Serie A’s top scorer award and the European Golden Shoe after hitting 32 goals in 50 matches. In addition, he was also the top assist maker in Italy’s top flight that season, playing in a false nine role.

Totti was also named Serie A’s Italian Footballer of the Year as Roma won the Coppa Italia, in which he scored the first-leg opener, and Supercoppa Italiana.

‘Er Bimbo de Oro’ (the Golden Boy) had to make do with tenth on the Golden Ball rankings, with Roma’s embarrassing Champions League quarter-final defeat to Manchester United and his retirement from the Italy national team counting against him. 


For more from Andy Headspeath follow him on Twitter! 

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Real Madrid ‘Offered’ José Mourinho Staggering £12m Not to Join Tottenham Hotspur

​Real Madrid reportedly offered José Mourinho an eye-watering £12m to reject Tottenham Hotspur and all other offers, in case they decided to sack Zinedine Zidane.

Doubts had arisen over Zidane’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu following a poor start to the season, and Los Merengues were desperate for Mourinho to remain available as a possible replacement for the under-pressure Madrid boss. 

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho rejected the lucrative offer, however, and according to ​The Sun, the Portuguese boss only had eyes for the Tottenham Hotspur job, rejecting a whole host of other clubs in the meantime. 

The 56-year-old ignored the interest of European giants ​Borussia Dortmund, ​AC Milan and Lyon, whilst Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande reportedly offered the ex-Chelsea coach an incredible €40m after tax to take their reins. 

​Tottenham’s poor early season form led to the decision that swift action had to be taken by the board, and it is believed that a meeting took place between the club and their new boss on October 21, after the former ​Manchester United coach cancelled several appointments on that day. 

Mourinho left the meeting in confident mood that he was Daniel Levy’s number one candidate to replace Mauricio Pochettino, which resulted in him turning down every other opportunity that was passed his way.

The ex-Manchester United, , Chelsea and Inter man has made a perfect start to life in north London, winning all three of his matches in charge in the Spurs dugout.

Jose Mourinho,Dele Alli

Tottenham were made to work for their most recent victory against Bournemouth, racing into a three-goal lead before they were pegged back by two Harry Wilson goals.

Mourinho’s men held on to collect back-to-back 3-2 victories in the ​Premier League, and the Lilywhites also gained a vital three points in their Champions League tie against Olympiacos, coming back from a two-goal deficit to win the match 4-2. 

Spurs now lie in fifth place, only six points behind ​Chelsea, who sit one position above them in the table.

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Real Madrid Set to Announce Christian Eriksen Signing After Spurs Star ‘Agrees Free Transfer’

​Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen has reportedly agreed a free transfer to Real Madrid once his contract with the Lilywhites expires in the summer.

Los Blancos have been heavily linked with a move for the Denmark star, with the club pushing hard to sign him over preseason. They were unable to secure his services as Spurs retained hope of tying Eriksen down to a new deal in north London, but it seems Real have ultimately had their way, beating off competition from a host of elite European clubs.

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain"

​Juventus had been monitoring the playmaker’s situation at ​Tottenham, and were allegedly ​weighing up whether to make a bid in January. 

However, they have lost out to ​Madrid, according to Spanish news outlet ​El Desm​arque, who claim Eriksen and Real have put the finishing touches on a deal that will see him join Zinedine Zidane’s recruits ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

It had been hoped José Mourinho’s appointment as Spurs boss could help persuade the 27-year-old to stay in England, but the latter seems set on a transfer to the Spanish capital, having ​rejected Tottenham’s latest contract offer.

Like Juve, Real had been considering a move for Eriksen in January, though they abandoned that idea due to the glut of midfield talent currently at the Bernabeu. 

Christian Eriksen

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been prominent figures in a glorious period of Madrid’s history. They were integral to the club winning three successive ​Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018, with the Croat also featuring in their glorious 2013/14 campaign.

Isco has also shown his superb playmaking abilities since joining Los Blancos six years ago for £23m, but he has found regular minutes hard to come by for much of his career in the capital.

Nevertheless, the former Malaga man is set to leave the club before Eriksen arrives in the summer, with ​Juventus leading the race for his signature alongside ​Manchester City and ​Arsenal.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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Marcelo Seen Telling Neymar Starting XI Omission in Real Madrid-PSG Clash Was ‘a Joke’

​Real Madrid and Brazil star Marcelo was caught on camera telling Paris Saint Germain’s Neymar Jr he should have started for the French club in Tuesday’s Champions League draw, brandishing the decision ‘a joke’.

Neymar came on as a half-time substitute in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw against Real Madrid and was clearly frustrated by Thomas Tuchel’s decision not to start him, given PSG’s improved performance after his introduction.

Despite Neymar playing for bitter rivals Barcelona once upon a time, he and Marcelo have struck up a friendship as they both played for Brazil in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, with Marcelo leaping to the defence of his compatriot after being snubbed by Tuchel.

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH41-SRB-BRA

​RMC Sport cameras were able to film in the pre-match tunnel and managed to catch an interesting exchange between the two players.

Neymar can be heard telling Marcelo: “I wanted to play this match, you know it. I wanted to play this match. This match is awesome.” To which Marcelo replied: “It’s a joke, no? He leaves you on the bench, Mbappé will play. You should’ve been playing instead of Di Maria.”

Marcelo can also be seen telling Neymar ‘You play better than Mbappé’ after the 20-year-old got the nod ahead of the Brazilian in the PSG starting XI. 

It remains to be seen whether the conversation may have repercussions at the French club, despite the great relationship shared by Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.

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It was Mbappé who had the last laugh, as the former Monaco starlet grabbed a goal in the 81st minute of the UCL clash, sparking a comeback for PSG at the Santiago Bernabéu. 

Neymar was subject to ​transfer speculation linking him with a shock summer move to the Spanish capital, although any supposed deal failed to materialise. There is expected to be more drama over his future next year, with Barcelona expected to come calling again.

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Twitter Reacts as Real Madrid Secure Unconvincing Win Over Alaves to Go Top of La Liga

​Real Madrid went top of ​La Liga for the time being as they battled hard to beat Alaves 2-1 away from home thanks to goals from Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal.

It was goalless at half time but the game kicked into life when Ramos scored a header and then conceded a penalty in 15 second-half minutes. Carvajal nicked it late on for Zinedine Zidane’s side with his first league goal of the season in the pouring Basque rain. 


Gareth Bale started for Los Blancos for the first time since October and hit the post in the first half following smart play from Isco.

Nothing else of note happened in the first half as Real struggled going forward with the rain pouring down on the Mendizorrotza Stadium. However, ​Ramos opened the scoring with a fantastic header to put Madrid on their way to a ninth league win.


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Sergio Ramos

​​​Real Madrid looked well on their way to securing the three points in a tough battle as they controlled the majority of the game. Alaves never looked like creating any chances of note and the rain was effecting both sides.

However, the Real captain soon turned from hero to villain as he elbowed former Newcastle striker Joselu on the edge of the box. Another former Premier League striker, Lucas Perez – yes, remember him Arsenal fans? – converted from 12 yards and the game was once again level.


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Real were staring down the barrel of another La Liga draw which would give the advantage to their main rivals Barcelona in the race for the title. Zidane made changes and took off ​Bale for young Brazilian Rodrygo looking for a winner.​​

The majority of Real fans were happy to see the introduction of Rodrygo and the end of Bale’s time on the pitch. The young Brazilian looked dangerous and was involved in the Carvajal goal that would secure the win for Zidane and co.

Isco’s header was parried out by Alaves’ goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco and the chance was gobbled up by the Spanish right back. ​​


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​​​​Like the aforementioned Bale, Isco had also found himself slightly alienated by Zidane but started ahead of Eden Hazard down the left side of the attack. He showed that he still has so much class and might be the player Real have missed this season when they’ve lacked goals.

Unlike Bale, he was praised by the Madrid fans in his return to the starting XI and provided two crucial assists to ensure Real got this hard fought win.

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​​Real battled hard in the last 25 minutes or so as the rain and Alaves’ attack threatened to take away two points. Eder Militao and Sergio Ramos were terrific at the back and it was the sort of performance needed if Real are to finish as champions.

​​Real Madrid’s next fixture is against Espanyol as they look to maintain this title surge, and there will be keen eyes on the Atlético Madrid-Barcelona clash on Sunday. Alaves remain 13th and travel to Granada next weekend looking to bounce back.

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Inter Consider Summer Approach for James Rodríguez as Club Target Other Signings in January

​Inter are contemplating a summer move for Real Madrid midfielder James Rodríguez, but they want to focus their efforts on other signings in January.

Rodríguez has made just nine appearances in all competitions this season, having started just four league games as he has battled injuries and poor form.

James Rodriguez

According to ​La Repubblica, ​Rodríguez wants to leave ​Real after growing frustrated with his lack of first-team football, and ​Inter are considering taking advantage of the situation with a bid for the Colombian midfielder in the summer.

The report suggests that Rodríguez was a serious target for ​Arsenal last summer, only for the move to break down for a number of reasons. Firstly, Real want €50m to part ways with Rodríguez, while the player himself is said to have snubbed the move in favour of a switch to Inter or Paris Saint-Germain.

A January move is unlikely as Real do not want to weaken their squad midway through the season, but a bid at the end of the season is certainly a possibility.

James Rodriguez

Inter are said to be happy to wait until the summer, because they have other plans for the winter window. 

Their primary goal is to find a buyer for Brazilian forward Gabriel Barbosa, who is expected to attract real interest from across Europe after his outstanding season on loan with Flamengo. Plenty of ​Premier League sides have been linked with a move, with Crystal Palace and West Ham regularly tipped to launch a bid.

Alongside selling Gabigol, Inter also want to strike a deal for River Plate centre-back Lucas Martínez Quarta. The 23-year-old has attracted interest from Benfica and Celta Vigo, but I Nerazzurri are confident that they are leading the race for his signature.

River Plate v Alianza Lima - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2019

Once those deals are out of the way, Inter could switch their focus to Rodríguez, whose days at Real certainly seem numbered after failing to win over Zinedine Zidane.

Inter’s squad already boasts plenty of central midfielders, but manager Antonio Conte is eager to add some more quality to try and finally end ​Juventus’ reign of dominance in Italy.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter! 

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