Jose Mourinho‘s departure from Real Madrid has been world soccer’s biggest open secret since early December. On Monday, it became official.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez announced that Mourinho has agreed to leave the club after this season. Mourinho and Real Madrid will part ways by “mutual consent,” and neither party will pay any compensation to the other, according to the Guardian.
“We had a frank conversation, we analyzed a number of things, and we took the decision that after three years it was time to end the relationship,” Perez said. “It is never nice when you have to leave but we thought it was the right decision.
“The balance of Mourinho’s time here is positive. We have made a very important qualitative leap and we are back where this club should be. For six years we were knocked out at the last 16 of the Champions League and were not even seeds. We have now been semi-finalists three years in a row. Maybe for mere mortals that would be enough but not for a club like us. We are not satisfied because this club is so demanding but you have to look at where we came from. The word ‘failure’ is not appropriate.”
Mourinho took charge in 2010 after winning the UEFA Champions League with Inter Milan. His first two seasons were largely successful, as Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey in 2011 and La Liga (Spain’s first division) in record-breaking fashion in 2012. He signed a new contract (which was supposed to expire in 2016) last summer, but things soured in the Spanish capital shortly afterwards.
Fissures which formed between Mourinho, star players and senior club officials during those first two seasons became chasms in the third. He repeatedly clashed with Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and Mezut Ozil in the early days of the 2012-13 campaign, which was part of the reason Real Madrid sputtered at the start of the season.
Reports of unrest in the dressing room dominated the headlines from August through November. In early December, reports saying the relationship between Mourinho and Perez had completely broken down emerged in the Spanish press. They claimed that Mourinho would leave the club in June and were ultimately proved correct.
Real Madrid hopes to replace Mourinho with current PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti. Ancelotti wants the job, but he has one year remaining on his contract. PSG has denied his and Real Madrid’s requests for permission to speak. That could change if the two clubs reach a compensation agreement.
Meanwhile, Mourinho is widely expected to replace Rafa Benitez as Chelsea’s manager, but he could also take the PSG job if it opens up. The return of “The Special One” to Stamford Bridge will be one of the summer’s most anticipated moves. He will reportedly look to bring Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back to England with him, but Real Madrid, Manchester United and PSG will do everything in their power to ensure that does not happen.