The statement, when it came, was without drama and very matter of fact. Fiorentino Perez, real Madrid President declared that Jose Mourinho would be leaving the Bernabeu at the end of this season by ‘mutual consent.’ With those few brief words, the “Special One’s” Spanish career was ended and apparently, the final road block barring a return to Chelsea was removed. It’s probably a day that real Madrid fans will not lament over much. For Chelsea fans however, the joy will have been tumultuous.
Since that day in 2007, when Mourinho left the club after the split between the owner and manager became just too great, it’s the news that almost all – are there any dissenters – will have craved. No more obstacles, get the deal done. Get Jose back, and with Ferguson retired, all things are possible. There’s a saying about there being many a slip between cup and lip, but there’s just too much momentum now for this not to happen.
True to say that the view from Spain is not one of regret to see the Portuguese leave La Liga. The BBC have quoted Barcelona vice-president Carles Vilarrubi as saying the he considered Mourinho a ‘scourge’ and that seeing him leave “is a positive for Spanish football because he had created a negative atmosphere.” Now, for a good while now there’s not been much love lost between Barca and the Interpreter, and the Catalans will also have been minded to have a poke at Real Madrid at the time, but this is probably representative of the general feeling in Spanish football – certainly with some of Real’s squad.
It’s said that parting can be such sweet sorrow, but with Mourinho you can almost guarantee that the sorrow will have a bitter taste to it when he leaves. Chelsea however either aren’t thinking that far ahead – when do they ever- or like some lovelorn tragic figure, they feel that they can ‘change’ the serial philanderer. Talking on Radio 5, European football expert Graham Hunter described how some could say that the fifty year old had neatly manufactured an exit strategy from the Spanish capital by developing rifts with a number of his squad including the hugely influential national captain, Iker Casillas. He even snubbed the King of Spain by refusing to go up for his loser’s medal after the Copa del Rey on Friday. No other manger in the history of the club has ever done anything like that. With Spain’s history embroiling Real Madrid with the monarchy, the step was guaranteed to ensure an exit.
So Spain will wave him a not so fond fare well, but Chelsea will welcome him with open arms, and rest assured that when the west London club are paired with Madrid in European competition – and yes, it will happen because football just does that – he will both relish the scorn poured on him, and use it to inspire himself on.
The graham Hunter interview ended by making two statements about Mourinho. Firstly that he was becoming less of a special one, and more of an arrogant one. The second one was in response to being asked if he was going to Chelsea. “The answer is yes” he replied. Chelsea fans will have little mind to first statement, because with their blue-tinted glasses on, they couldn’t see past the other one.