Inter captain Javier Zanetti has said the club should welcome back Jose Mourinho amid speculation of a shock return to the San Siro.
Mourinho led Inter to Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia last season, but they have struggled since his departure under Rafael Benitez and Leonardo.
Mourinho has said he will remain at Real Madrid next season “unless the press sacks” him, but his future may ultimately be determined by the forthcoming Copa del Rey and Champions League clashes with Barcelona after Saturday’s 1-1 draw in El Clasico all but ended their hopes of winning the league.
Stories of a return to Inter have appeared Italian press, with Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Mourinho has pre-enrolled his children at the school they studied in during his time in Italy.
“Leonardo is doing good work and it wouldn’t be fair to condemn him for the recent results,” Zanetti said after this weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Parma, but he added: “The doors of Inter are always open for Mourinho after the extraordinary things he achieved with this club.”
Marcello Lippi, who has managed Juventus and Italy across two separate spells, believes a return to Inter could be beneficial for both parties.
He told RAI: “If Mourinho and Inter still hold one another in high esteem, why not? Making a return isn’t always a bad idea.
“When I returned to manage the national side [having won the 2006 World Cup], that didn’t work out, but before that I’d gone back to Juventus, and I won two league titles and reached the final of the Champions League.”
Mourinho recently praised Inter president Massimo Moratti as “an incredible man who shows the football world what a president should be”.