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The fiery Italian manager hopes to match his wits against the 'fantastic' Real Madrid boss next season, should the Portuguese move to Chelsea as has been reported

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio would relish the opportunity to face off against Jose Mourinho, should the Portuguese coach return to the Premier League.

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Goal.com understands that the Real Madrid boss is set to take over at the west London club at the end of the season, having put his future in the Spanish capital in doubt after los Blancos' Champions League exit.

And Di Canio would welcome Mourinho's return, and is already eagerly anticipating pitting his wits against the two-time Premier League winner.

"He is the 'Special One'. So it would be fantastic," the Black Cats' manager told reporters.

"A few years ago I used to give questions to him because I used to work in television and ask him questions about the game.

"So imagine myself with Sunderland and trying to go to Chelsea and win against them. It would be a fantastic moment for everybody, also for myself."

Sunderland's top-flight status remains in the balance, however, and they will be eager to pick up points in the race for survival against Stoke on Monday night.

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