They say that life comes at you pretty fast, and that has rarely felt truer than when it was announced on Tuesday that Jose Mourinho will be the new coach of Serie A side AS Roma from next season.
- Serie A on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)
The announcement of Mourinho's appointment only came about three hours after Roma had made it known that Paulo Fonseca would be leaving the dugout at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
To complete the head-spinning effect of the revolving door at the Stadio Olimpico, Mourinho himself was fired by Tottenham Hotspur little over a fortnight ago, on April 19 (an announcement which was buried by the unfolding saga around the breakaway European Super League).
Hearing of Mourinho's return to Italy, the last place where he felt truly widespread popularity, felt at once both baffling and strangely inevitable.
The Portuguese coach is returning to the country where he won the Treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010. His arrival back in Italy will set off the *narrative klaxon* ahead of next season.
Ah yes, Antonio Conte. The coach who has just led Inter to their first league title in 11 years had plenty of run-ins with his former Premier League rival when he was in charge of Chelsea and Mourinho was at Manchester United.
Their two-year tussle in England featured various face-offs on the touchline and barbs traded via news conferences and postmatch interviews. Conte aimed digs at his rival for his lack of a professional playing career and called him a "fake," while Mourinho made fun of his counterpart's hair and said he acted like "a clown" on the sidelines.
Conte is not the only ghost from Mourinho's past with whom he will soon be reacquainted. Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were both under his charge at Old Trafford. No doubt they will be delighted to see their old boss -- Mkhitaryan in particular. The midfielder took more than a month to make his first start for Mourinho's United following his much-vaunted summer signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2016, and the moved to Arsenal on a free transfer 18 months later as Alexis Sanchez made the opposite journey.
And let's not forget the simmering resentment he is sure to be met with by fans of Juventus. After his Manchester United side secured a 2-1 win in Turin in a Champions League group match in 2018, Mourinho cupped his ear to the crowd and was met with an angry reaction by Juve's [players.
Mourinho said afterward:
"I was insulted for 90 minutes. I probably shouldn't have done it, and with a cool head I wouldn't have done it, but with my family insulted, including my Inter family, I reacted like this."
One of the surprising things about Mourinho's appointment at Roma was that he had already got a new job, as last week it was announced that he would be taking up a role as an analyst for talkSport.
Some joked that Mourinho's move to Italy may have been a cynical move to pad out his CV with one last "easy" trophy having failed to deliver any at Spurs.
Announcing the appointment, club president Dan Friedkin and vice president Ryan Friedkin said in a joint statement: "A great champion who has won trophies at every level, Jose will provide tremendous leadership and experience to our ambitious project. The appointment of Jose is a huge step in building a long-term and consistent winning culture throughout the club."
In unrelated news, Roma's stock price jumped immediately after Mourinho's appointment was made official.
So, the big question is: will Mourinho remain a relic, or will he be restored to former glory in the Eternal City?
Whatever happens, it's going to be a wild ride.