- La Liga
Mourinho expected to leave Madrid before end of season
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez could decide Jose Mourinho's future sooner rather than later, according to widespread reports in Spain.
Few in Madrid doubt that the Portuguese coach's time at the club is drawing to a close, with even Mourinho's closest supporters in the local media finding it difficult to defend him after Friday's embarrassing 2-1 Copa del Rey final defeat to city neighbours Atletico Madrid at Los Blancos' own Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Mourinho is now widely expected to return to former club Chelsea in the summer, with current Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti thought to have already signed a pre-contract agreement to replace him at the Bernabeu.
The financial side of things remains an issue however - as Perez would prefer Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich paid the release clause in Mourinho's current contract, while the Special One himself would reportedly be due a €10 million pay-off were he fired.
Some in the Spanish media have also claimed Perez will not pay compensation to release Ancelotti from his deal at PSG, which still has 12 months to run. Should the French club's Qatari owners play hardball on this, outgoing Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes - who won the 1998 Champions League during a previous stint at Madrid - is another option for Madrid.
Mourinho, who was sent to the stands by referee Carlos Clos Gomez during Friday's Copa final defeat at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, could now be banned for Madrid's last two La Liga games - away at Real Sociedad next Sunday and at home to Osasuna at the Bernabeu the following weekend.
Speaking after that game Mourinho suggested that Madrid's fans "deserved" to know as as soon as possible what would happen, however the official line remains that he and Perez will not discuss the situation until the season's end, when a long signalled "friendly chat" is due to take place.
A madridista fans poll in AS over the weekend found a large majority wanted the Special One to leave immediately. Eighty-two per cent of respondents said they would prefer Madrid B boss Alberto Toril - one of many at the Bernabeu who clashed with Mourinho earlier in the season - took charge for the remainder of this term. Current assistant coach Aitor Karanka is another possible short-term fix for the final two games.
The summer's presidential elections at the Bernabeu club may also be a consideration in Perez' next move. The construction magnate has long been thought a shoo-in for re-election, especially after last year's changes to the club statutes made it more difficult for potential challengers to emerge. A quick decision on Mourinho's future may help calm the mood among Madrid socios who are increasingly unhappy with both the club's results and image this season.