Even if they were to win the Champions League from their current position, the most likely outcome would be for Florentino Perez to say ‘thanks very much, now clear off’.
There continue to be reports of disharmony in the Madrid dressing room. Mourinho doesn’t seem to like many of his players and they don’t much like him. He has met his match in Spain and has come across players who are simply unwilling to have the name of the club dragged through the mud. Mourinho’s antics worked at Chelsea, with a fawning media and a club with little history, but at a team like Madrid, who are steeped in heritage and class, the Portuguese simply does not work.
So where next for Mourinho? Manchester City? It seems likely that Roberto Mancini’s tenure at the helm there will not last long. And they will certainly want a manager of Mourinho’s pedigree. But would they actually go for him? With Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, men who were part of the recruitment process at Barcelona when they brought in Pep Guardiola, Mourinho may have problems. Begiristain was key in deciding not to hire Mourinho at Barca, concerned about the problem which has brought down his Real rein – the outbursts in the press.
It is unlikely Begiristain has forgotten that, and he will surely be wary about the appointment of a man he has had reservations about in the past. But then he noted Mourinho would have probably been successful at Barcelona, and was not entirely dismissive. And without Guardiola as an option now, Mourinho has more of a chance. But Manchester City, like Paris St Germain, have one thing in common. Their oil wealthy Arab owners are particularly keen on profile and respectability. Look at what Paris St Germain did recently with David Beckham’s salary, donating it to charity. These kinds of owners want to build not just a successful team but a brand, and Mourinho is a bit toxic. They are also clubs with structures. For Begiristain and Soriano at City read Leonardo at Paris St Germain. Mourinho is a man who demands control.
That would be more likely to happen at Manchester United or Arsenal, clubs who trust their coach’s judgment implicitly. But will Alex Ferguson want Mourinho to replace him? According to Sir Bobby Charlton quite possibly not. He doesn’t like him that much, apparently. And the club has figures who are concerned about his outbursts too. They may have the same reservations as Barcelona, and for a club similar in prestige and history, that is an issue.
Which leaves Chelsea. Will Mourinho and Roman Abramovich be reacquainted? Abramovich is also losing options fast. Maybe it is the best for all concerned – these two forced back into each other’s arms.