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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 21 April, 2014

‘Divorce on the horizon’? Mourinho rubbishes Madrid exit reports

Is this the end for the Special One?

Updated 13.45

MANAGER JOSE MOURINHO dismissed a report in the Spanish media sports daily Marca that he would be leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season after a below-par start to their La Liga title defence.

Marca’s front page story, headlined “Divorce on the horizon”, suggested Mourinho’s exit was looming after a deterioration in the Portuguese manager’s relations with Real president Florentino Perez.

Under a picture of a broken heart, the report claimed: “Jose Mourinho will not coach Real Madrid next season”.

But Mourinho dismissed the story as having “no foundation”.

He added: “As I’ve always said, my relationship with the president is very good.”

Following their sluggish start to the season the Spanish champions are lagging 11 points behind Barcelona and five points behind second-placed city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Perceived disquiet at the Bernabeu has led to former Chelsea boss Mourinho’s name being linked to a return to the English Premier League, in particular as a possible successor to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Ferguson is a fan of Mourinho. When asked by British broadcaster ITV if he could replace him in the Old Trafford hot-seat, the Scot replied: “He can manage anywhere, absolutely.

“I’m not going to put any forecasts on what is going to happen at this club. I won’t last forever but Jose can manage anywhere, there is no question about that.”

Mourinho was careful not to add fuel to the Old Trafford fire on Monday, saying: “I regard these comments the result of the friendship and mutual respect that each of us has for the other.

“But his succession doesn’t seem to me to be on the cards at the moment in the sense that I can see him managing for a further 10 years. He is in form, he gets stronger and stronger.”

- © AFP, 2012

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