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May 20, 2013

Madrid confirm Mourinho to exit

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has confirmed that Jose Mourinho will leave his position as coach of Los Blancos at the end of the season, after a mutual agreement was reached between the two parties.

• Hunter: Good riddance to Jose
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Mourinho has won a trophy in each of his three seasons at the Bernabeu, claiming the Copa del Rey in 2011, the Primera Division title last May and the Spanish Supercopa at the start of the current campaign.

However, failure to deliver the club's elusive tenth European Cup, coupled with defeat to city rivals Atletico in last Friday's Copa del Rey final meant the writing was on the wall for the Portuguese boss.

Perez announced the news at a packed press conference at the Bernabeu, insisting that "nobody has been sacked" and that the decision for Mourinho to leave was a mutual one.

"After conversations with our coach Jose Mourinho, we have decided to end our relationship at the end of this season," Perez said. "Both the club and the coach think this is the right moment to end the relationship. In the name of all the board I want to thank Mourinho for his work over these three years, he has helped us make an important sporting improvement. We wish him success in the next stage of his career."

The Portuguese coach is now likely to return to former club Chelsea in the summer, with current Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti is the frontrunner to replace him at the Bernabeu. Perez said he was now considering his options after an initial approach to the French club was knocked back.

"I have maximum respect for PSG, its president, and all other clubs," the Madrid president said. "That is how we work. There was a call made about the possibility of Carlo Ancelotti coming here, and they told us he was under contract. The new coach is not something which will be resolved tomorrow, we have time to think about options. There are many of these."

The construction magnate said he did not view Mourinho's three trophies in three years at the club a failure, and suggested that the pressure of managing "the biggest club in the world" had caused the Portuguese to sometimes err in his behaviour.

"Each coach has their own personality, their level of demands, of competitiveness," he said. "Has he made some mistakes? Of course, he has admitted that himself. But there is a lot of pressure at Real Madrid. We all know that, we are proud of that pressure that we need to win.

"Everyone has their own personality and can make mistakes. But Mourinho gave us a level of intensity and competitiveness, and improved us on a sporting level. Today we are proud of being back where we belong. Previously we were getting knocked out in the last 16, and we have reached the last three Champions League semi-finals and had bad luck each time."

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.

Mourinho's final matches for Real Madrid will be La Liga clashes away to Real Sociedad on May 26 and at home to Osasuna on June 2, after which he will depart the club.

Perez also used the occasion to set Madrid's presidential elections for June 16 next and said he expected to be challenged for the position.

"I would like to say I have decided to take part in those elections and I will present my candidacy in the next few days," he said. "There are always [other] candidates, that seems to me normal, and healthy. But I cannot say."

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