José Mourinho responded to Real Madrid’s crushing disappointment in the Champions League last night by making clear that his heart is set on rekindling his love affair with Chelsea next season.
Speaking after Real were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final, with a 2-0 victory not enough for his team on the night, Mourinho gave the strongest indication yet that he wants — and expects — to return to Stamford Bridge. It was expected that Real would look to part company with Mourinho in any case, but he implied that, because he feels unwanted and unloved in Madrid, he would break his contract to move back to Chelsea.
A further development came when Cristiano Ronaldo, whose future in Madrid is also uncertain because of the club’s reluctance to match the type of contract that Lionel Messi has in Barcelona, expressed indifference as to whether or not Mourinho stays at the club. Both Ronaldo and Mourinho are represented by Jorge Mendes, the Portuguese agent, who is reported to have arranged a meeting this week with officials from Paris SaintGermain to discuss the forward.
However, Mourinho’s post-match comments, after months of flirting amid persistent claims of firm contact between Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, and Mendes, will immediately set tongues wagging in England. Mourinho and Abramovich parted on bad terms when the manager was sacked in 2007, after leading Chelsea to their first two league titles in half a century, but a reunion would delight the club’s supporters amid the dissatisfaction that has engulfed the club during Rafael Benítez’s tenure.
When asked by ITV, immediately after the final whistle, whether he expects to be in charge of Real next season, Mourinho replied: “Maybe, maybe not. I want to be where people love me to be.”