Jose Mourinho has fuelled speculation he will return to Chelsea next season, saying the club remains in his heart and he has ‘big emotional connections’ with Stamford Bridge.
It comes amid rumours that a deal to bring the Portuguese back to the London club is as good as complete following discussions with owner Roman Abramovich.
Tellingly, the Real Madrid manager played down persistent rumours he will join Manchester United, calling it ‘Sir Alex’s Kingdom’ and willing Ferguson to continue in the job for many years to come.
In an interview with Sky Sports News recorded in London, Mourinho said: ‘I can’t deny in spite of this disgraceful weather I love it here and I have a house.
‘I have big emotional connections with Chelsea, and one day I think naturally I have to be back to English football to Chelsea or another club.
‘Chelsea means for me different than other clubs. It’s in my heart as Inter is for example. One day I have to be back.’
Mourinho had been due to return to Stamford Bridge last night, as Brazil played Russia in a friendly match.
Despite being on the guest list of the Brazilian FA, there were no sightings of the 50-year-old in the stands.
However, it is now widely reported that a deal to replace Rafa Benitez at his former club is close to being agreed.
In the long-term though, many believe he will succeed Ferguson at Old Trafford when he eventually retires.
On the subject, Mourinho said: ‘I was in Manchester three weeks ago with much nicer weather.
‘I had a lot of fun with Sir Alex, texting him on the day of the match – I said, ‘what is this fantastic sunny weather in Manchester?’ It was really good.
‘I think Manchester is Sir Alex’s Kingdom and I would love that job to be forever, of course it can’t but I would love it for many more years.
‘In the other chair is Roberto Mancini, with a contract, he was champion last year so I don’t think there is a move over there.
‘I hope everything goes well for everybody, even Benitez. I hope everybody finishes the season well. I wish for them the same I wish for myself to finish the season well.’
Mourinho added he still has unfinished business with Real between now and the end of the season.
‘At the end of the day, I am in Madrid and I am very committed to the rest of the season.
‘We are in the last eight of the Champions League and we have a [Copa del Rey] final to play with Atletico.
‘I am professional and at the moment I only think about my job in Madrid.’