Jose Mourinho is expected to inform Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti today of his intention to join Real Madrid.
Mourinho is contracted to the Nerazzurri until June 2012 but can exercise a clause in his deal to depart this summer.
And his unease with the Italian game plus his desire to seek a new challenge after leading Inter to a domestic double as well as the Champions League title will spell the end of a hugely successful spell at the San Siro.
Mourinho's spokesman Eladio Parames confirmed to the Italian media yesterday: “Yes, they (Mourinho and Moratti) will meet in Milan.”
Moratti said: “There's always hope but we have to respect the wish of a person who already thinks his task has already expired.”
Mourinho admitted after Saturday's defeat of Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in Madrid that he was keen to fill a post at the Bernabeu still occupied by Manuel Pellegrini.
Reports in Spain suggested Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes was in Madrid thrashing out the finer details of a deal worth £36m over four years, while, in Italy, an inquest has started into the impending departure of arguably the best manager of his generation.
Milan's mayor, Letizia Moratti — the sister-in-law of Massimo —has laid the blame squarely at the door of the Italian media.
She said “I would like to appeal to journalists, help us to convince Mourinho to stay, more so because this is your fault.
“He wants to leave because in the rest of Europe the press is less critical.”
It was put to Massimo Moratti that Mourinho gave an interview to Portuguese television in which he said he already considered himself as the new Real Madrid coach.
“I don't know what he could have said or where he spoke,” Moratti said.
“Now I prefer to have a personal meeting rather than having others mediate.
“It will take place in the next few days.”
Moratti has ruled out the possibility of replacing Mourinho with former Inter boss Roberto Mancini, now at Manchester City.
Mancini, who guided Inter to three consecutive Scudetti before being dismissed in the summer of 2008 and replaced by Mourinho, led City to a fifth-place finish in the Barclays Premier League six months after taking over at Eastlands.
When asked about how he intended to fill the post should Mourinho depart, Moratti said: “I thought about it this morning.
“He (Mancini) is the only one I didn't think of due to the fact that we have already had him and he is part of our history.
“No, I don't think that for him this is the path to follow.
“I believe he is happy in England, that he likes living in England and hence, to bring him back in this difficult situation would be offensive.”
Moratti did express admiration for Mancini, however.
“They (Mourinho and Mancini) are very different from a character standpoint but they have something in common, courage,” Moratti said.
“Both of them are courageous, because, I have to say, the great thing about Mancini, is that he was courageous and talented as a player and as a person.
“Mourinho has talent and courage as well as a professionalism that is born in his work ethic.”
Mancini's former assistant at Inter and current Catania boss Sinisa Mihajlovic is among the leading candidates to take over.
Moratti said: “Mihajlovic certainly has character and is a fast learner.
“He is liked by the players. He is a friend of the players.
“We have a very good rapport with him but that doesn't mean that he could be the one chosen even though from a personal standpoint, it would be a choice I would like to make.
“Honestly, I have not decided yet.
“I am and will be more attracted towards an emerging coach but you have to find one that has new ideas.”