| -2°C Dublin

John Giles: City lights perfect to allow José to shine

THERE has never been a better match made in Heaven than José Mourinho and Manchester City. Where else can the full scale of his ego and ability be indulged and what better club to help him take up where he left off at Stamford Bridge?

It was a heady week for the celebrity side of the game with David Beckham once again displaying his genius for making himself the story of the day no matter what else is going on the world.

He could actually teach Mourinho a thing or two about self-promotion and the Inter manager is no slouch.

I've no doubt in my mind that Beckham will find a way to be the biggest story at the World Cup even though he won't kick a ball.

Thankfully, Mourinho kept his instinct for headlines in check and as far as the football world is concerned, Inter's clinical and brilliant execution of a winning plan was the most significant story of the week.


I've heard many possible scenarios suggested after his masterly performance against Carlo Ancelotti on Tuesday night and most of them don't include a prolonged stay at the San Siro. I'm convinced that Mourinho and Manchester City is the perfect marriage.

First, tick off the only real options available to a man who can virtually write his own ticket; even more so if he can keep Inter Milan at the same pitch that they reached against Chelsea in the Champions League and maybe even win it again against the odds.

The obvious, and I would reckon least likely scenario, is a return to Stamford Bridge. It would be the sensible thing for Roman Abramovich to do but that won't be easy for a man who has, to my mind, made some very poor decisions since he bought into Chelsea and I don't believe he has learned his lessons.

It was very revealing to see some of the players describe how Abramovich came into the dressing room and said nothing, an action which was interpreted by Florent Malouda as an act of solidarity.

I'm not so sure that's what it was and I suspect Malouda got an earful of his owner's true feelings when Abramovich called the players together and, according to reports, questioned their motivation.

Abramovich pays the bills so he's entitled to do what he chooses in his own football club but I would think he might be better served sitting in front of a mirror asking himself what part he played in the process which brought Mourinho back to Stamford Bridge with Inter and ended with elimination from the Champions League -- again.

He sacked a winner in some mad and intensely naive hunt for something better. Mourinho would have kept the party bus rolling for Chelsea and would have won a Champions League by now if he had been allowed to carry on with his job without interference.

But I don't think Abramovich will be able to get past his own ego and do everything he can do to get Mourinho back. It would be the smartest decision.

The next most popular destination for Mourinho in the speculation stakes is Liverpool and while I would agree that he would be drawn there by the amount of history present and the fact that Anfield is such an important temple of football, he knows that he would never get the budget he needs to be truly competitive.

I think he wants to make his mark on his own terms and that's why Manchester United is another impractical suggestion as a venue for his return to England.


Mourinho knows that he would be judged relentlessly against the achievements of Alex Ferguson and no matter how much success he enjoyed, at least some of the glow would fall on his predecessor.

If he failed at Old Trafford, he would forever be remembered as an upstart who couldn't do what Ferguson did rather than the world class coach he has become.

But the City experiment is different. It's so long since the club won anything of consequence that Mourinho would have a blank canvas to work his genius and an awful lot of money.

I'm pretty certain that the billionaire backers of the club have watched the drama at Stamford Bridge unfold and understand exactly what Mourinho is and how attractive a proposition they can present to him.

Limitless funds and a free hand transformed Chelsea under his guidance and I have no doubt that he would be intrigued by the idea of establishing his own legacy in a vacuum occupied by nothing more than old memories.

Even more so when he gets to fence with Ferguson back and forth across Manchester at least twice a season and further opportunities to show Abramovich what he's missing.

What price a Manchester United v Manchester City Champions League final within the next five years if they manage to hire Mourinho?