Jose Mourinho has reacted angrily to reports which have emerged of him making disparaging comments about his strikers while speaking to the owner of watch manufacturer Hublot.
The remarks were made last week at a sponsor's event in Nyon, France and were filmed by TV channel Canal Plus, who were there to conduct an interview. Mourinho has claimed that he was unaware that comments were being recorded, but a video of the exchange has since been published online. In it, the 51-year-old claims he does not have a striker and questions the authenticity of Samuel Eto'o's listed age.
"I have a team but no striker,” he said. “The problem at Chelsea is that we are lacking a goalscorer. I have one [Eto’o] but he is 32, possibly 35, who knows?”
Chelsea have not denied that Mourinho made the remarks but insist that they were made in a private, lighthearted capacity and were not meant for publication. However they will probably overshadow the buildup to his team's first leg meeting with Galatasaray in Istanbul on Wednesday, in the last sixteen of the Champions' League.
Mourinho will now have to repair his relationship with his battery of strikers, after having consistently praised their work-rate all season, even if he has decried their lack of goals. He did, however, speak highly of Eden Hazard, saying that he had no desire to let him leave the Chelsea.
“Eden is our boy,” Mourinho said. “We want him to stay for 10 years. We want to build the team around him. He’s a player with the style of football that we want to have in our team."
It is no secret that Mourinho wanted to add to his attacking options, having made two unsuccessful bids for Wayne Rooney last year. Radamel Falcao is still on his wish-list, even though the sharp-shooter made a £50 million move to AS Monaco in January, and looks set to miss the World Cup due to a knee injury.
“He doesn’t have a team," Mourinho said of the Colombian. "Who wants to play in front of 3,000 supporters? If I was one day to go to Monaco it would be the end, perhaps to prepare for retirement.” Chelsea strongly deny that these remarks were meant for public consumption.
Speaking about the possibility of bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Edinson Cavani to Stamford Bridge, Mourinho conceded that it would be impossible for Chelsea to acquire either player.
Of Ibrahimovic he said: “Zlatan to Chelsea? It’s impossible. He’s happy at Paris. I know because he is my friend and we are in touch. PSG, with all its wealth, would never open the door. That’s mission impossible.”
He also spoke of his love for Chelsea football club, but he also revealed that he had once met the owners of Paris Saint-Germain, and that he might one day like to work in France when his Chelsea deal ends in four years' time.
“I am very, very, very happy, I am at a club that represents for me more than a club,” he said. “It is a project that I love. I could work in France in the future, why not? I did not say no, or yes [to PSG], there was not a true, direct offer. We met, I had the honour of visiting the Emir at his house in Qatar three or four years ago, before he bought the club. We have a respectful relationship, but after Real Madrid, I said to everyone what I wanted to do which was to return to England. I want to stay, I have four years on my contract.”