Manchester United assistant manager Rui Faria will leave the club this summer to pursue a career in management. The 42-year-old has been linked with a move to Arsenal, as incumbent Arsene Wenger steps down at the end of the season.
Faria has worked alongside Jose Mourinho for nearly 17 years, first at FC Porto (2002-2004) as a fitness coach, before turning assistant at Chelsea (2004-2007), Inter Milan (2008-2010) and Real Madrid (2010-2013), Chelsea (2013-2015) and United (2015-2018).
He released a statement explaining his decision to leave this summer and paid tribute to Mourinho for having believed in him. Faria said: “After a lot of consideration, and with a very heavy heart, I have decided the time is right for me to move on.
“I have had 17 years of incredible and unforgettable experiences. However, I have felt for some time that I would like to spend much more quality time with my family before pursuing any new challenge in my professional life.
“My heartfelt thanks go to the manager, Jose Mourinho, for the belief he had in me, all those years ago, when it all was just a student dream. I would like to thank him for the opportunity and confidence, for the knowledge and experience, but most importantly for his friendship.
“I would also like to thank Manchester United and all the clubs where I have had the privilege of working during this period. I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the staff and players who, in different ways, have made an important contribution to my growth as a person and as a professional.
“I wish you all the best for the future, knowing that you will always be my close friends.”
Arsenal are believed to have Faria on their list of potential replacements for manager Arsene Wenger this summer. Former Arsenal midfielders Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira are joined by Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri on the list, with ex-Barcelona manager Luis Enrique now being ruled out.
The Gunners could do a lot worse than Faria too, as he’s won 25 trophies with Mourinho – which could be 26 if United beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 19.
Mourinho spoke about his long-time associate, revealing the Portuguese coach will now have a “successful career in management” and wishing him well for the future.
“17 years… in Leiria, Porto, London, Milan, Madrid, London again and Manchester. Training, playing, travelling, studying, laughing and also a few tears of happiness,” he added.
“17 years and the kid is now a man. The intelligent student is now a football expert, ready for a successful career as a manager.
“I will miss my friend and that is the hardest thing for me, but his happiness is more important and, of course, I respect his decision, especially because I know that we will always be together. Be happy, brother!”