Real Madrid president Florentino Perez could decide the future of coach Jose Mourinho future sooner rather than later, according to widespread reports in Spain.
Few in Madrid doubt that the Portuguese's time at the club is drawing to a close, with even his biggest supporters in the local media finding it difficult to defend him after Friday's 2-1 Copa del Rey final defeat to Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho is widely expected to return to his former club Chelsea in the summer, with Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti believed to have already signed a pre-contract agreement to replace him.
The financial side of things remains an issue, however. Perez would prefer Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to pay the release clause in Mourinho's contract, while the 'Special One' would reportedly be due a €10 million pay-off if fired.
Some in the Spanish media have also claimed the president will not pay compensation to release Ancelotti from his deal at PSG, which still has 12 months remaining.
Should the French club's Qatari owners play hardball, outgoing Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes - who won the 1998 Champions League during a previous stint at Madrid - is another option.
Mourinho, who was sent to the stands by referee Carlos Clos Gomez during the Copa defeat, could now be banned for Madrid's last two La Liga games - away at Real Sociedad next Sunday and at home to Osasuna the following weekend.
Speaking after the final, Mourinho suggested Madrid's fans "deserved" to know what would happen as soon as possible.
However, the official line remains that he and Perez will not discuss the situation until the end of the season, 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 Mourinho to leave immediately, with 82% saying they would prefer it if Madrid B boss Alberto Toril - 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 solution.
The summer's presidential elections at the Bernabeu may also be a factor in what Perez does.
The construction magnate has long been thought a certainty for re-election, especially after last year's changes to the club statutes made it more difficult for potential challengers to emerge, but a quick decision on Mourinho may help calm the mood among Madrid fans.