As sure as night follows day, severe weather warnings follow a smattering of snow in England, and a penalty follows a blatant Steven Gerrard dive, Chelsea were almost destined to follow the name ‘Inter Milan’ in Friday’s Champions League draw. Having recently welcomed back to the Bridge ex-manager Avram Grant – who brought his struggling Portsmouth side back to SW6 – Europe’s elite competition has thrown up another reunion between the Blues and a former staff member; in this case it is the daddy of them all, José Mourinho.
The most successful manager in the history of Chelsea FC will lead his Inter Milan side out at Chelsea as part of the two-legged knockout round, with the second-leg bringing ‘The Special One’ back to his adopted home at Stamford Bridge where he is sure to get an impeccable reception, before the game at least.
All this is dependant on Mourinho still being in charge of the Nerazzurri by the time the competition restarts in February though. Rumours in and around Italy suggest that Mourinho allegedly wants out – along with the compensation afforded through a sacking – and his recent antics include picking up another touchline ban and – again, allegedly – insulting and attacking an Italian football journalist.
Just another week in the world of Mourinho. Expect more mind games and psychological warfare ahead of the game if the Portuguese legend is still in the hotseat, and plenty of pressure on our boss Carlo Ancelotti. Last year – Mourinho’s first in Italy – saw a large amount of animosity between the two men through the press, with Mourinho once proclaiming: “Ancelotti is no friend of mind.”
Ancelotti also swiped at Mourinho by saying: “If Mourinho is Jesus, I am certainly not one of his apostles.”
Chelsea did meet Inter Milan in a pre-season friendly back in late July, and it was the Blues who took the bragging rights following a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, who bagged a penalty.
That was just a warm-up for the season ahead, and perhaps it was a gentle pre-cursor to the explosive events we may pray witness to when Chelsea and Inter Milan tussle in the Champions League. The Blues V The Black and Blues, Ancelotti V Mourinho; call it what you like and predict what you will.
What is for sure is that José is coming home.