Why Did Jose Mourinho Leave Real Madrid? Exit Explained

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In 2012, Jose Mourinho brought an end to Barcelona’s dominance under Pep Guardiola by leading Real Madrid to La Liga glory. A year later, he left the Bernabeu and returned to Chelsea. Everything seemed to be going so well for the Portuguese coach after two seasons at Madrid, so why did he suddenly depart after his third year in charge?

Mourinho left Real Madrid after a disappointing 2012-13 season. Madrid president Florentino Perez said Mourinho and the club agreed that the time had come to mutually part ways.

In 2012-13, the Spanish giants finished second in La Liga after amassing 85 points from 38 games. Barcelona, then coached by Tito Vilanova, reached 100 points that season to comfortably reclaim the title. Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League shortly before Mourinho’s exit was confirmed, losing to Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals. They also lost the Copa del Rey final against Atletico Madrid.

The perception of Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid

Love him or hate him, Jose Mourinho is a box-office attraction wherever he goes. At Real Madrid, The Special One got caught up in controversies on what felt like a monthly basis. One of his most notable moments came in 2011 when he poked Tito Vilanova in the eye during a touchline spat in the Supercopa de Espana. The former Chelsea boss also fell out with goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Ramon Calderon, Real Madrid’s president between 2006 and 2009, claimed in 2015 that Mourinho failed to deal with the Spanish media spotlight. “To be a manager of Real Madrid is really, really difficult,” Calderon told BBC World Service. “See what happened to Mourinho. He is someone who is used to coping with pressure and he couldn’t.”

On June 1, 2013, Real Madrid beat Osasuna 4-2 in Mourinho’s final game in charge. The home fans at the Bernabeu did not know whether to cheer or jeer the outgoing boss. While some supporters sang his name throughout the match, others displayed anti-Mourinho messages for all to see. One brutal banner read, “Good riddance Mou.”

When did Jose Mourinho manage Real Madrid?

Jose Mourinho managed Real Madrid between May 2010 and June 2013. He won 128 of his 178 matches in charge, losing 22 and drawing 28.

Throughout his career, Mourinho has been accused of suffering from third-season syndrome. In England, the term second-season syndrome is used to describe a promoted team that survives its first campaign in the Premier League before suffering relegation the following year. In Mourinho’s case, he has developed a peculiar habit of struggling in his third season at several clubs.

Fans often point to The Special One’s 2012-13 campaign with Real Madrid and his third years at Chelsea in 2006-07 and 2015-16 to back up the third-season syndrome theory. He also left Manchester United after a disappointing start to his third year in charge.

What did Jose Mourinho win at Real Madrid?

Jose Mourinho won the Copa del Rey (2010-11), La Liga (2011-12) and Supercopa de Espana (2012) with Real Madrid. His biggest achievement undoubtedly came in 2011-12 when he led Madrid to 100 points in La Liga – a record tally.

Fairly or unfairly, Mourinho’s time at Real Madrid was ultimately judged on the club’s Champions League performances. The Special One previously won the competition with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010. However, he failed to take Madrid to a Champions League final, losing at the semi-final stage in three successive years.