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Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Amorim couldn’t be further from ‘next Jose Mourinho’ label, compared himself to Bobby Robson, told Manchester United to sign Erik ten Hag, and could be the man to replace Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa

“My number two is Carlos Fernandes, he’s been my right-hand man right from day one. He’ll be a much better coach than me. I often say if I become Bobby Robson, then he’ll be my [Jose] Mourinho.”

It was just a passing comment, but few quotes better sum up the latest managerial superstar produced in Portugal, Aston Villa-linked Ruben Amorim.

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Amorim has already achieved the unachievable at Sporting

But he might not be there for much longer if his rapid ascent to the top continues in the Champions League

AFP

But he might not be there for much longer if his rapid ascent to the top continues in the Champions League

From Cristiano Ronaldo to Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota, it’s hard to find a top team in either England or Europe that isn’t heavily influenced by at least one Portuguese player.

Gold dust continues to be found in the Primeira Liga, but the greatest talent to emerge since Ronaldo and Mourinho could be one on the bench, rather than the pitch.

Amorim’s ascent has been as sharp as fathombly possible, appointed as Braga reserve boss in September 2019, it was just four months before the former Portugal midfielder was given the first team job, and began with a 7-1 destruction of Belenenses.

Soon 10 wins and a draw followed in all domestic competitions, winning the League Cup final and racking up wins against all of ‘Os Tres Grandes’ – the big three.

One of them had seen enough, with Sporting CP handing Amorim a contract featuring a €20million (£16.75m) release clause, by far the biggest in the history of Portuguese football, just four months into his professional career.

Incredibly though, that clause soon looked cheap, with Amorim guiding the faltering giants to their first league title in 19 years, ending a curse and cementing legendary status in his home country.


Amorim has been hoisted by his players on multiple occasions after securing titles, but such a humble character would have found the gesture rather awkward

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Amorim has been hoisted by his players on multiple occasions after securing titles, but such a humble character would have found the gesture rather awkward

Amorim (No.10) played alongside Ronaldo (No.7) at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups

Amorim (No.10) played alongside Ronaldo (No.7) at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups

Turning out for Lisbon rivals Benfica over 150 times as a player, Amorim even featured alongside Ronaldo for Portugal at two World Cups, and could soon be facing his former teammate in the Premier League.

Amorim is currently the betting favourite to become the next Aston Villa manager, with The Athletic reporting that talks have already taken place.

The 37-year-old is clearly destined for greatness, which has led to him being labelled ‘the next Mourinho’ but in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every imaginable criticism of Mourinho over the years, Amorim is the antithesis of.

Mourinho doesn’t like youth, Amorim won the title with teenagers dotted all over the pitch, turning debutants into superstars in mere weeks.

Sporting’s incredible triumphs are never about the coach

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Sporting’s incredible triumphs are never about the coach

Amorim’s first port of call is always to give the credit to his staff and players

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Amorim’s first port of call is always to give the credit to his staff and players

Mourinho is arrogant, Amorim always takes the blame for defeats, and always ensures that his players are the ones given the credit for wins.

Upon winning his Sporting’s historic title, he even made sure his staff were present for the press conference, sharing the plaudits for such an incredible victory that was mostly down to him.

Earmarked by some as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor at Real Madrid, Amorim was mooted to be in the running for vacancies at both Manchester United and Chelsea.

Asked about the United reports, his answer was as anti-Mourinho as ever.

A usually volatile Conceicao couldn’t help but smile when he was approached by Amorim during a post-match bust-up that saw FOUR red cards

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A usually volatile Conceicao couldn’t help but smile when he was approached by Amorim during a post-match bust-up that saw FOUR red cards

Amorim thinks Ajax’s Ten Hag deserves links to United, not him

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Amorim thinks Ajax’s Ten Hag deserves links to United, not him

“These are just rumours,” Amorim said. “I don’t attach any importance to it. I think Manchester United should contact [Ajax manager] Erik ten Hag, and right away!”

The only real similarity between Mourinho and Amorim is their nationality, but the Champions League has an opportunity for another parallel to appear.

In February 2004, Mourinho announced himself to the UK with an iconic sprint down the touchline at Old Trafford as his Porto side knocked Man United out of Europe before winning the competition.

Mourinho became a household name in England with his Old Trafford touchline run in 2004

Mourinho became a household name in England with his Old Trafford touchline run in 2004

But you won’t see anything of the sort should Sporting somehow upset City

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But you won’t see anything of the sort should Sporting somehow upset City

The chances of a repeat look incredibly slim, but Sporting could well progress from their European group this season.

But if Amorim is to captivate the English audience by causing an upset, you can be sure the celebrations certainly won’t be about him.

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