Real Madrid last night confirmed what everybody had known for months when President Florentino Perez told the world Jose Mourinho will leave the club at the end of the season – paving the way for the Special One to make a sensational return to Chelsea.
Madrid signalled the end of Mourinho’s spell at the Bernabeu at a 7pm press conference yesterday, bringing to a close a controversial and not universally successful era for the former Porto coach.
In his three years at the club, Mourinho won one La Liga, one Copa del Rey and one Spanish Super Cup, but he couldn’t end Barcelona’s dominance in Spain and he failed to secure the Champions League, reaching the semi-finals three times.
“We had a frank conversation, we analysed a number of things, and we took the decision that after three years it was time to end the relationship,” Pérez said. “It is never nice when you have to leave but we thought it was the right decision.”
After Friday’s Copa del Rey final defeat at the hands of city rivals Atletico, a result that left Los Blancos without a major trophy this term, Mourinho said it had been his “worst ever season” but it wasn’t just a relative lack of success that did for the Portuguese boss.
Several high-profile spats with senior members of the squad, particularly the Spanish contingent of Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, made his position untenable.
But the move has cleared the way for Chelsea, whose interim manager Rafael Benitez will leave his post after the Blues’ post-season tour of America, to pick up Mourinho without having to pay any compensation, and the former Inter Milan coach’s appointment at Stamford Bridge now seems like a matter of when rather than if.
Taking over a team that has just finished in third place and won the Europa League, Mourinho will have his eyes on bigger prizes at the club where we won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups, with bwin offering odds on his domestic success next season.
Chelsea are 5/2 to win the Premier League in 2013/24, third favourites behind Manchester United (19/10) and Manchester City (2/1), while the Blues are 6/1 third favourites to win the FA Cup, again behind the two Manchester clubs, who are both priced up at 11/2.
But with both clubs changing manager – United to David Moyes and City to (in all likelihood) Manuel Pellegrini – Mourinho may feel he can forge ahead of his rivals at the club he knows so well and where he feels truly at home.