Manchester United assistant coach Rui Faria has announced that he will be leaving Old Trafford at the end of the season, as well as the side of his long-time mentor and friend Jose Mourinho.
The pair have been working together since 2001, with the United manager hiring his No.2 as an assistant and fitness coach at Portuguese outfit Uniao de Leiria. But with the Premier League season coming to a close on Sunday, Faria – who has followed Mourinho throughout his storied metier – has decided that a career change would be best for him.
“After a lot of consideration, and with a very heavy heart, I have decided the time is right for me to move on,” he told manutd.com.
“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.”
This announcement comes amid links with the soon-to-be vacant managerial post at Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger set to step down at the end of the season.
Mourinho, though, has given his blessing and wished Faria happiness, having previously branded him a ‘good fit’ for the Gunners job.
“17 years…in Leiria, Porto, London, Milan, Madrid, London again and Manchester. Training, playing, travelling, studying, laughing and also a few tears of happiness. 17 years and the kid is now a man,” Mourinho remarked.
“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!”
Mourinho and Faria have helped the club secure second place in the top flight ahead of the latter’s departure. But there will be one more job left to do as the pair prepare to face former employers Chelsea in the FA Cup final next weekend.