FORMER Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has fuelled speculation of a sensational Stamford Bridge homecoming this summer, believing a return to management in England is the next inevitable step on his career path.
The Portuguese coach left the Blues in 2007 after guiding them to back-to-back Premier League titles but admits Chelsea still holds a special place in his heart.
The west London club will need a new manager for the 2013-14 campaign with current interim boss Rafael Benitez set to leave this summer.
And Mourinho, who was in the capital this week to watch Brazil’s 1-1 draw with Russia at Stamford Bridge, has hinted that Chelsea could be his next destination if, as expected, he leaves current club Real Madrid this summer.
“I have big emotional connections with Chelsea and one day I think naturally I will have to be back to English football, to Chelsea or to another club,” he said.
“Of course Chelsea means to me differently than other clubs. Chelsea is in my heart.
“One day I have to be back but again it is normal that I am in London, the same way I walk in my home city in Portugal. People see that as normal and this is normal, the same thing is normal when I am in London.”
Mourinho has guided Real to the Champions League quarter-finals this season.
But his team are 13 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona with 10 games left to play and look unlikely to retain their title, with a battle to fend off city rivals and third-placed side Atletico their primary concern.
The 50-year-old’s future at the Bernabeu remains in doubt, though he insists the prospect of managing either Manchester United or City is unlikely to come up this summer.
“Manchester is Sir Alex’s [Ferguson] kingdom,” Mourinho added. “I would love that job to be his job forever and the other chair is Roberto’s [Mancini] with a contract.
“I am in Madrid and very committed with ambitions for the club for the rest of the season. People who know me know I am professional and that in this moment I only think of Real.”