Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

On this day, May 22, 2010: Jose Mourinho seals stunning treble with Inter Milan

Portuguese becomes only the third manager to win the European Cup with two clubs ... but appears set for a move to Madrid

If there is one thing that Jose Mourinho seems to thrive on as a manager, apart from winning major trophies, it is a sense of drama.

It seems to follow the Portuguese wherever he goes, country-to-country, club-to-club.

On this day in 2010, Mourinho had just seen his Inter Milan side complete a historic treble.

They had comprehensively outplayed a powerful Bayern Munich team, managed by his old Barcelona mentor Louis van Gaal, 2-0 to become European champions for the first time in 45 years.

Inter had already secured the domestic league-and-cup double. They defeated Roma 1-0 at the Stadio Olympico to lift the Coppa Italia, then finished two points ahead of Claudio Ranieri's side to seal Mourinho's second Serie A title in two seasons since moving to Milan. It was also the club's fifth scudetto in a row.

He had become only the third coach, after Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld, to win Europe's top prize with two clubs – coming on the back of his shock triumph with Porto in 2004

But where he had achieved his latest victory – Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu – was also significant.

His stunning success at Inter had again brought him to the attention of, arguably, the world's biggest club.

Eyebrows were raised the previous summer when Mourinho had agreed to sell star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Barcelona, receiving £35 million plus Samuel Eto’o in return.

It proved an inspired call. Eto’o had just won the treble with Pep Guardiola's side and would go on to play a key role in Inter's remarkable season – and help his new team knock Barca out of the Champions League semi-finals. Mourinho would describe that 3-2 aggregate win as "the greatest moment of my career".

Also brought in that season by the "Special One" was the likes of Diego Milito, Thiago Motta, Wesley Sneijder and Lucio – all resounding successes.

Argentina striker Milito would go on to score 30 goals in all competitions, including both goals against Bayern, and the winner in the Coppa Italia final.

Dutch midfielder Sneijder established himself as one of the world's finest midfielders.

Brazil defender Lucio and Italy midfielder Motta would play nearly 100 games between them in that glorious campaign.

But now Real were calling and rumours were rife that Mourinho's spell in Italy was coming to a close. The former Chelsea manager found himself exactly where he loves to be – the centre of attention.

"I'm so sad as almost for sure it's my last game with Inter," admitted Mourinho the day after beating Bayern. "If you don't coach Real Madrid then you always have a gap in your career.

"It was difficult to leave Chelsea and it will be sad to leave Inter. Inter is my house in the same way Chelsea was my house. But that's life, that's football.

"Now I have two houses, Stamford Bridge, San Siro and now a third house – probably the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Only Real are interested in me but I haven't spoken with anyone and I haven't signed anything. I promised I'd speak after the final.

"When I win I don't stop and here [in Italy] I have won everything. I've won the Champions League with two clubs and I can do it with three," he reflected.

"There are many things [in Italy] that I haven't liked and for three to four months I've been thinking of going.

"I've entered into Inter's history. I don't want to speak much because if I do I'll cry and I don't want to do that.

"I want a different challenge in my career, now is the time to decide. What's important for Inter is that [president Massimo] Moratti and [captain Javier] Zanetti stay."

On May 31, Mourinho was unveiled as Manuel Pellegrini's replacement at Real. The drama would also quickly move to Spain with him and remain by his side throughout his three seasons in La Liga.

Champions League success, though, did not follow, and beating Bayern represented the last time Mourinho lifted the European Cup to date.

What he achieved with Inter, though, should not be underestimated. For Milito, the two-goal hero in Madrid, there was no doubt his manager was a worthy winner.

"Mourinho deserves this the most. He is great coach and he deserves all of the credit for this success," he said after the match against Bayern.

"This is the team that he has made. He made many changes to the team that finished last year and we have come so far.

"What I feel now is a joy I have never felt before, an incredible joy. I am so happy for Inter because we have been waiting for so long and we deserved this trophy."

Updated: May 22, 2020 08:55 AM

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