Jose Mourinho will leave as coach of Real Madrid at the end of the season after calling his third campaign in charge of the record nine-time European soccer champion a failure.
Mourinho and the club agreed by mutual consent for him to leave after Real plays its final two league matches of the season, team president Florentino Perez told a televised news conference yesterday. Real hasn’t signed an agreement with a replacement coach, he added.
“We both agreed it was the right time to end this relationship,” Perez said.
Real didn’t win a major trophy this season. It failed to defend its Spanish league title, lost to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semifinals and fell to Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final four days ago.
After losing to Atletico, the 50-year-old Mourinho said the season had been a failure and the worst of his career. He’s been consistently linked with a return to England’s Chelsea, which he managed between 2004 and 2007.
The pressure of being coach of Real has taken its toll on Mourinho and his family, Perez said.
“It’s permanent pressure,” Perez said. “Mourinho once told me that in England, soccer lasted the two hours before and after a game. At Real Madrid it’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Perez denied newspaper reports that Mourinho’s relationship with the squad was fraught, saying that wasn’t a true reflection of the situation.
Mourinho guided Real to last year’s La Liga title, ending a three-year streak by Barcelona, which regained the championship this season with four games to spare.
The Portuguese coach also led the club to three straight Champions League semifinals. Real hadn’t reached the quarterfinals of Europe’s elite club competition since the 2003-04 season before he arrived.
He has given the club a “big leap” forward in performance, Perez said.
Mourinho won the Champions League with Porto in 2004 and with Inter Milan in 2010, and led Chelsea to two Premier League titles in a three-year stint through September 2007.
He has been linked to a return to Chelsea in U.K. newspapers including The Sun and Daily Telegraph.