Jose Mourinho will leave Real Madrid at the end of the season by mutual agreement following three turbulent seasons in charge of the Spanish giants.
PA Sport looks at some of the ups and downs of Mourinho’s three seasons in charge.
Mourinho has never been far away from the headlines throughout his coaching career and it was no different during his first season at Madrid.
He twice received touchline bans from UEFA for incidents during the Champions League, the first for apparently instructing Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso to deliberately pick up bookings, and the second time following Madrid’s ill-tempered semi-final defeat to arch-rivals Barcelona.
Mourinho was sent off in the first leg and then implied Barca were given special treatment by UEFA, with his conduct earning the Portuguese a five-match ban.
On the field, Madrid were unbeaten in their opening 19 matches under Mourinho but that run came to a humiliating end as they were thrashed 0-5 by Barca at the Nou Camp.
Madrid would end up finishing second to Barca in La Liga, although they did gain some revenge by beating the Catalan club in the Copa del Rey final — the first time Madrid had won the cup since 1993.
Mourinho was confident Madrid would steadily improve during his tenure and that proved the case as they won the Primera Division title in record-breaking fashion in his second term.
They became the first team ever to reach 100 points in La Liga and also scored 121 goals as they ended Barca’s three-year reign as champions.
However, they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage by Barca and also suffered more disappointment in their bid for a 10th European Cup title as they lost out to Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.
Mourinho also attracted controversy after appearing to poke then Barcelona assistant manager Tito Vilanova in the eye during Madrid’s Supercopa defeat at the Nou Camp at the start of the season — subsequently earning him a two-match touchline ban.
Mourinho’s final season in charge started well with Madrid getting the upper hand over Barcelona to win the Spanish Supercopa, taking the trophy on away goals following a 4-4 aggregate draw.
That was as good as it got for the capital club, though. In the league Barca stormed away from Madrid to such an extent that Mourinho conceded the title race was all but over before Christmas.
Madrid, who trailed by 16 points at one stage in February, went on an impressive run in the second half of the season but the damage had been done and Barca clinched the title with three games to go.
There was also more Champions League agony for the Spanish giants as they were knocked out in the semi-finals by Borussia Dortmund, going out 4-3 on aggregate after losing the first leg 4-1.
Madrid had hoped to salvage something from the Copa del Rey final against local rivals Atletico, but they were beaten 2-1 at the Bernabeu in a match which saw Mourinho sent off — the first time they had lost to their neighbours in 14 years.
As well as those setbacks, there were also reports of dressing room rifts — notably over the axing of long-serving goalkeeper Iker Casillas — while Madrid fans also appeared to have turned on Mourinho as his time at the club drew to a close.
Life after Mourinho
A look at the main contenders to succeed Jose Mourinho in the Santiago Bernabeu hotseat
Carlo Ancelotti The Italian has emerged as the hot favourite to take over at the Bernabeu in recent weeks, although his exit from PSG may not be as straightforward as his suitors would have hoped. Reports emerged over the weekend that Ancelotti was keen to leave the Parc des Princes, but Les Parisiens’ owners are reluctant to let the man who guided the club to their first league title in 19 years this season leave.
Rafael Benitez Another ex-Chelsea manager with a European Cup triumph on his CV, it is possible Benitez could swap jobs with Mourinho this summer. Despite guiding the Blues to the Europa league title and Champions League qualification this season, the Spaniard has not been retained in west London. His association with Madrid goes way back. Benitez coached the youth teams at the Bernabeu and made his way through the ranks to coach Real Madrid B and serve as first-team assistant to Vicente del Bosque.
Roberto Mancini The Italian is looking for work after being dismissed by Manchester City and would doubtless see the job at the Bernabeu as a chance to prove his former employers wrong. Despite winning the FA Cup and Premier League in his three-and-a-half year spell at the Etihad, a lack of success in the Champions League eventually proved his downfall and that could also go against him in the race for the job in Madrid. — PA Sport
Asmir Begovic (Stoke)
The £15 million-rated Bosnian produced a series of fine performances, played all 38 league games and managed to keep 12 cleansheets in a struggling side.
Pablo Zabaleta (Man City)
In a season of underachievement at Eastlands, the Argentina right-back was one of the few to emerge with any credit.
Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd)
The 34-year-old’s return to form defied critics who claimed he no longer had the pace to play at the highest level.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
The versatile Belgian has emerged as one of the best defenders in the league. Capable of filling in at full-back, he shone brightest at centre-back and chipped in with six goals.
Leighton Baines (Everton)
Long regarded as a key component of Everton’s back-four, the dynamic left-back enjoyed the best season of his career.
Juan Mata (Chelsea)
As well as an eye for a killer pass, Mata, who netted 20 times this term, also displayed stamina as he featured in 66 of Chelsea’s 69 matches during a marathon campaign that brought third place and Europa League glory.
Michael Carrick (Man Utd)
After spending much of his time at Old Trafford as the forgotten man in United’s midfield, Carrick finally took centre-stage this season.
Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
Whether playing wide or in a more central role, the 28-year-old was at the heart of all Arsenal’s best moments, scoring 12 times including a hat-trick at Reading, as they finished the season strongly and took fourth place.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
Almost single-handedly kept his team in the race to qualify for the Champions League with a series of brilliant displays and jaw-dropping goals that earned him both the Players’ and Football Writers’ Player of the Year awards. The Wales winger was granted more freedom to play in-field by Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas and he responded with 26 goals, many of them long-range strikes.
Unquestionably the bargain of the season, Michu, who cost just £2 million from Rayo Vallecano, announced his arrival in the Premier League with two goals on his debut in a 5-0 win at QPR and never looked back. The Spaniard ended the season with 22 goals.
Robin van Persie (Man Utd)
The £24 million deal revitalised United as van Persie scored on his Old Trafford debut against Fulham, netted a hat-trick in his third match at Southampton and went on to finish as the league’s top scorer with 26 goals. —