Real Madrid has announced the departure of Jose Mourinho - igniting excitement among Chelsea fans hoping for a sensational return of the Special One to Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho will leave Real Madrid at the end of the season after the club and the coach agreed to his departure by mutual consent, the club's president Florentino Perez has announced.
Mourinho will take charge of Real Madrid's final matches of the Primera Division season, away to Real Sociedad on May 26 and at home to Osasuna on June 2, after which he will depart the club.
Perez declared that Mourinho had come to an agreement with the club to rescind his contract.
"The club and the manager agree that the timing is right to bring our relationship to an end," Perez said at a press conference this evening.
"On behalf of the directors, I would like to thank Jose Mourinho for his hard work over the last three years."
Perez also announced that Real Madrid's presidential election will take place the day after Mourinho leaves the club, on Monday June 3.
It is expected that he will be unopposed in the election, with no candidates having put themselves forward two weeks before the election is due to take place.
Perez added that the club had not come to any agreement, or signed any pre-contract with a coach, declaring they would begin searching for Mourinho's successor in the coming days.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has been touted as the front runner and admitted on Sunday that he had met with his current club's president Nasser Al Khelaifi and director of football Leonardo to inform them of his desire to leave the Ligue 1 champions and join Madrid.
Al Khelaifi confirmed that but reiterated that the club wanted the Italian to see out his contract, which expires in 2014.
Perez also declared that Mourinho would not receive any compensation for leaving the club, therefore forgoing the 20million-euro clause in the coach's contract in the event he was sacked.
Real Madrid contenders
Jose Mourinho's departure leaves a vacancy for one of the most high profile jobs in world football.
So who are the main contenders to succeed the Portuguese in the Santiago Bernabeu hotseat?
The Italian has emerged as the hot favourite to take over at the Bernabeu in recent weeks, although his exit from Paris St Germain may not be as straightforward as his suitors would have hoped. Reports emerged over the weekend that Ancelotti was keen to leave the Parc des Princes, but Les Parisiens' owners are reluctant to let the man who guided the club to their first league title in 19 years this season leave. It is rare that Madrid do not get what they want, however, and if they could prize Ancelotti out of the French capital they would be recruiting a coach with considerable pedigree. Ancelotti won the Premier League with Chelsea, but it is his exploits at AC Milan which stand out, where he won two Champions League titles, the trophy which Madrid crave above all others.
Another ex-Chelsea manager with a European Cup triumph on his CV, it is possible Benitez could swap jobs with Mourinho this summer. Despite guiding the Blues to the Europa league title and Champions League qualification this season, the Spaniard has not been retained in west London. He guided Liverpool to European Cup glory in 2005 but his association with Madrid goes way back. Benitez coached the youth teams at the Bernabeu and made his way through the ranks to coach Real Madrid B and serve as first-team assistant to Vicente del Bosque. After branching out away from the capital he moved to Valencia in 2001 and in three seasons with Los Che won two La Liga titles and the UEFA Cup. The 53-year-old had an unsuccessful spell at Inter Milan after leaving Anfield, but still boasts one of the most impressive managerial records in Europe.
The Swansea manager also has an association with Madrid after helping Los Blancos wrestle the La Liga title back from Barcelona as a player in 1995. Laudrup had been a member of the Catalan dynasty that won four consecutive titles in the early 90s, but his controversial switch in the summer of 1994 provided the catalyst for Madrid to break the chain. He has also managed in the capital after spending a single season with Getafe in which they reached the Copa del Rey final and quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup. The Dane has also coached Brondby, Spartak Moscow and Real Mallorca, but it is his work this season in south Wales which has caught the eye. Laudrup guided the Swans to victory in the Capital One Cup and a ninth-placed finish in the Premier League, while earning numerous plaudits for his style of football along the way. And while his playing career may make him a popular appointment with the fans, a lack of European experience may go against him.
The Italian is looking for work after being dismissed by Manchester City and would doubtless see the job at the Bernabeu as a chance to prove his former employers wrong. Despite winning the FA Cup and Premier League in his three-and-a-half year spell at the Etihad, a lack of success in the Champions League eventually proved his downfall and that could also go against him in the race for the job in Madrid. But he holds a formidable domestic record with three consecutive Serie A titles with Inter Milan and four Coppa Italia titles. He also tends to keep a reasonably low profile and that could prove tempting to a club that have had three seasons of the Mourinho show to contend with.
Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp is one of the most sought-after managers on the continent after resurrecting the Westphalians' fortunes since his appointment in 2008. He began his managerial career with Mainz in 2001 and guided the unfashionable outfit from the second tier into the Bundesliga and, in 2005, into the UEFA Cup in 2005. The 45-year-old won the Bundesliga in his third season at Dortmund and successfully defended the title the next year, while also adding the DFB-Pokal. Klopp has gained many plaudits for his attacking style, with Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski at its heart and, while his side were blown away by Bayern Munich domestically this term, they could gain revenge at Wembley in Saturday night's Champions League final.