So, the worst kept secret is out. Jose’s leaving the Bernabeu on June 2 and for many players and fans alike, they will be sighing with relief at the thought.
Yes, Mourinho brought relative success in his three years in charge of Los Blancos – the record-breaking La Liga win last year being the most outstanding achievement. He also landed the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa in his time in charge.
But he also had rows with pretty much everyone he came across – except three members of the current playing squad if reports are to be believed.
While the club and fans may be pleased to see the back of Mourinho, the feeling may well be mutual. The Portuguese will have felt an extra spring in his step on Tuesday morning, knowing he will know longer be in one of the most high-pressured jobs in football any more.
When Mourinho took charge three years ago he was still relatively fresh faced. He looks like he’s aged 10 years in a short space of time.
And that’s what the Madrid job does to you, so whoever fills his shoes will be in for a rough ride along the way.
Mourinho became Madrid’s eleventh manager in just seven years when he took charge. At such a high profile club, there is no time to settle in. There is no honeymoon period.
The pressure from the board to deliver European and La Liga success is immense particularly as the club is obsessed with La Decima. And life isn’t made easier by a fickle crowd that can turn on the manager at any minute, or by a Madrid press that scrutinises every word, every decision.
Even winning trophies doesn’t save the manager from the chop. Vicente del Bosque and Fabio Capello both delivered titles and were shown the exit door immediately.
Managers who leave the Bernabeu hotseat usually take some time to recover from the experience. Wanderlei Luxemburgo, Bernd Schuster and Juande Ramos never managed in Spain again after their stints in charge.
Those interested in the task of succeeding Mourinho – Ancelotti, Laudrup, Benitez, or whoever it may be – should be warned that the job is akin to taking a suicide pill. Good luck to them!