Jose: I'll leave Real in great shape
Jose Mourinho says life will go on whenever he does decide to leave Real Madrid, and nobody will be able to erase his achievements in three seasons at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Mourinho's statements after Tuesday's Champions League semi-final exit to Borussia Dortmund have led many in Spain and England to assume that his time at Madrid is almost over, and that a return to former club Chelsea is all but certain.
Indeed, agent Jorge Mendes was quoted as telling Radio Mana Mana on Friday that Mourinho is closing in on a return to Stamford Bridge.
"After the match against Borussia Dortmund, he spoke to Real and was quite clear, saying he wants to leave and that there is an 80% chance he will go to Chelsea," Mendes said.
The Portuguese coach, while again maintaining that he would only decide his future when speaking with Blancos president Florentino Perez at this season's end, told reporters on Friday morning that if he did go he would leave the Bernabeu club on good terms.
"It is not worth talking about whether I will go or not," Mourinho said. "I have always left my clubs well. Even my exit from Chelsea, which seemed controversial, was not. At all the clubs I have left there are no records of negative words or criticism. Just the opposite.
"The day I leave here, be it this season, or in one or two more years, it will not be any different. Life in football is fantastic, you must close one stage and open another. Always with the maximum respect for the clubs."
Mourinho claimed that his current situation was no different from that at most top clubs around Europe, where there is uncertainty over their coaching situation for next season.
"I think that, in football, this happens to practically everyone," he said. "Look to Paris and they say Carlo [Ancelotti] is leaving. Look to Bayern, who are a record champion and the coach is going with [Pep] Guardiola arriving. Look at [Manchester] City and Roberto [Mancini] is leaving, look at Chelsea, where [Rafael] Benitez is going.
"Many clubs are in similar situations. Some clubs are eaten up by these changes, other clubs are not. Coaches work with the maximum professionalism. Us coaches adapt. I have the pleasure and honour to work for this club. Less happily at the moment, because we lost a tie a few days ago. And in two days you do not forget something so sad."
Should Mourinho leave the Bernabeu this summer, many in Spain will point to a record of one La Liga title from three, and especially three losing Champions League semi-finals, as a failure, even if he achieves a second Copa del Rey trophy by beating Atletico Madrid in June 17's final. But the Special One said such an appraisal would be unfair.
"I have won so, so, so much that the expectations are so high," he said. "I will say it like this: 'La Liga de los records' [100 points, 121 goals in 2011-12] is mine. You will want to erase that, but you will not achieve it.
"Twenty years without winning the Copa del Rey - because it is not easy. You cannot erase that either. The Supercopa is tiny, but three Champions League semi-finals, which do not feed my ego nor leave me satisfied, cannot be easy. It cannot be easy because Madrid have had 18 coaches in 21 years and five Champions League semi-finals in 21 years."
Asked if he would change anything from his three seasons in charge to date, Mourinho suggested he would have replaced Iker Casillas as goalkeeper much earlier.
"I would be more active, more demanding and determined at the end of my first season," he said. "I would have signed Diego Lopez then. I wanted to do it, but I did not try hard enough. That is a pity."
Mourinho was speaking after Friday's training session at Valdebebas, which Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain all missed due to problems picked up during Tuesday's game against Dortmund.
With Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo still on the injury list, a number of youngsters and reserves including Alvaro Morata, Nacho Fernandez, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon could all get game-time in Saturday evening's La Liga game against Real Valladolid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.