Fonseca to leave Roma at end of season as Mourinho makes surprise return

Fonseca: Bruno Fernandes is a leader and a fighter (2:46)

Paulo Fonseca praises Bruno Fernandes ahead of Roma's Europa League semifinal against Manchester United. (2:46)

Roma announced that manager Paulo Fonseca will leave the club at the end of the season, shortly before making the surprise appointment of Jose Mourinho as his successor.

The news comes two days ahead of Roma's Europa League semifinal second-leg against Manchester United, a game in which they trail 6-2 on aggregate.

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Sources told ESPN last week that former Napoli, Juventus and Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri was set to take over but despite having a verbal agreement in place, the Serie A club reneged on the deal and appointed Mourinho instead.

Fonseca has clashed with several of Roma's senior players -- including Edin Dzeko, who was left out of the matchday squad for periods earlier in the season.

"On behalf of everyone at AS Roma, we would like to thank Paulo Fonseca for the hard work and leadership shown during these two years," Roma president Dan Friedkin said in a statement.

"Paulo led the team through several challenges, including the COVID pandemic and a change of ownership, and he did so with generosity, fairness and great character. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours and we are confident that he will represent fantastic added value wherever he goes."

Roma are seventh in Serie A, 14 points outside of the Champions League qualification positions and nine points behind rivals Lazio.

They have failed to register a victory against any of the top eight sides and have had two results awarded as 3-0 victories to their opposition due to administration errors.

The Roma manager's job is among the highest pressured positions in Italy, with fans demanding success despite having won the Serie A title just three times in their history -- with the most recent in 2001. Their last major trophy was in 2008.

Fonseca arrived at Roma in 2019 after an impressive three-year spell at Shakhtar Donetsk where he won the league title each season he was there. His time in the Italian capital has been largely underwhelming, though, with a fifth-place finish in his first campaign.