Jose Mourinho's departure from Real Madrid will be announced this week, moving his return to Chelsea a step closer.
lub president Florentino Perez will hold a directors meeting at the Santiago Bernabeu this afternoon where the timing of the announcement of Mourinho's departure and the manner of his exit will be discussed.
With the departure from Paris St-Germain of Carlo Ancelotti, Mourinho's likely replacement, all but confirmed the Portuguese's exit will be rubber-stamped by the Madrid board, but they must decide if he takes charge of the club's last two games of the season or leaves before Saturday's visit to Real Sociedad.
French television channel beIN Sport announced on Sunday that in an hour-long meeting Ancelotti told director of football Leonardo and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi that he wants to leave – beIN Sport is owned by Qatar Sports Investments that also owns PSG.
With the replacement now apparently available and the atmosphere at Real Madrid understood to be at breaking point, Perez is being urged to take action.
He attended a Real Madrid B-team match on Saturday with the club's second string playing Lugo in Spain's second division. There were around 2,000 supporters at the game and he was vocally encouraged to move to bring Mourinho's three-year reign at the club to an end.
Mourinho and Madrid have had to tread carefully in recent weeks because when the two parties signed a contract extension last year keeping them together until 2016 there was a £10m penalty applicable to either side if the deal was broken at the end of the season.
But with both parties wanting out, a gentleman's pact has been agreed in principal allowing an amicable parting of the ways, with neither the outgoing coach nor the club paying for the failure to see out the current deal.
After Mourinho was sent off in the Spanish cup final defeat, several directors were planning to push for his instant removal in today's meeting and Alberto Toril, the B-team coach, is poised to step forward to take charge for the last two games of the season.
Such an outcome will see Perez having at least partially saved face and help reinforce his reputation as the man in control at the Bernabeu. The directors will have to hope Mourinho swallows the minor indignity of clearing his desk before the last game of the campaign so as to maintain the pact to wave the £10m penalty clause.