There is no question about it: Jose Mourinho is leaving Spain.
Whether he brings Real Madrid their much sought-after decima (tenth European Cup) or he finds a way to exit in a less gracious manner, the Special One looks set to make a summer salida from the Spanish capital.
In a press conference preceding Manchester Utd's trip to the Bernabeu, Mou said his next job will be in the Premier League (via the BBC).
Here are his 5 most likely destinations...
If you were to poll the ten managers who have been hired by the notoriously ruthless Roman Abramovich in his ten year reign as Chelsea owner, the majority would probably decline an offer to take the job again.
A notable exception may be Mourinho.
However, just six months after being fired—and shortly after his predecessor Avram Grant was given his marching orders—the Russian oligarch gifted Mourinho with a £2 million limited-edition Ferrari. This is not exactly the generosity one would show to to someone they are not fond of.
What's more, in recent months the press has been rife with speculation that Mourinho has been in contact with The Blues. The Daily Star called him an "unofficial consultant" at Stamford Bridge after allegedly sending Abramovich solicited advice in text messages, while The Express say he has been "dropping hints" of a return to "everyone" at the club.
Rafa Benitez's days are clearly numbered as interim manager. The supposed favourite candidate Pep Guardiola has taken on a new project in Bavaria. Juergen Klopp has today insisted that money does not interest him, and he will stay at Borussia Dortmund (via The Telegraph).
The stage is clearly set for Mourinho to return to complete the job he nearly finished five seasons ago: winning a Champions League trophy in England with Chelsea.
The upper echelons of Manchester City's hierarchy are within their rights to be unhappy with Roberto Mancini.
A side that looked like they might begin a long period of dominance last season now have little chance to clinch the title, trailing a distant second to a fairly unconvincing Manchester Utd side.
Who better to help the Citizens realise their full potential than The Special One? He has won 19 titles across four teams, he has experience working with a side of highly paid "Galacticos" at Madrid and he has the Champions League-winning experience that Mancini lacks—and seems unable to acquire in the near future.
In 2008, Man City's director of football Txiki Begiristain interviewed Mourinho for the Barcelona job before it was awarded in-house to Pep Guardiola. The Catalan is no longer an option to supersede Mourinho in his next job pursuit, so presumably he still ranks highly with Begiristain.
Perhaps the biggest draw for Mou will be the allure of facing Sir Alex Ferguson as an adversary, representing Manchester Utd's fierce local rivals.
Mourinho has made no secret of his longing to face Sir Alex in domestic competition once again, and doing so without the drama and politics a role at Chelsea will inevitably bring—with the resources available at Man City–will be a highly attractive prospect.
Before the wheels started falling off the Mourinho bus at Madrid, I believed the 50-year-old would only return to England to take the helm at Manchester Utd. Sir Alex Ferguson has incredibly large shoes to fill, and Mou seemed to be the only man with the talent (and arrogance) to believe he can fill them.
Manchester Utd chairman Ed Woodward has admitted the club has already drawn up "a blueprint" of the type of manager they want. Ferguson will surely have a big say in the decision, and having spent many evenings with him mulling over a game with a bottle of wine, he would almost certainly hold Mourinho in very high regard.
The bookies continue to believe that Utd are a leading contender to be the Mourinho's next employer, but there are a few factors conspiring against this arrangement.
Sir Alex may have announced his retirement on many occasions during his tenure, but he recently admitted he would only step down if his health required it. It seems unlikely he will step aside in the time frame necessary for Mourinho's next post.
Also, Mou has repeatedly expressed his desire to face Ferguson, not replace him. "I think we have to end our career at the same time. [Ferguson] at 90 and me at 70," he jokingly told reporters this week (via the BBC).
As Jose Mourinho took his seat to watch Manchester Utd's clash with Liverpool on Sunday, many believed the Real Madrid manager could soon be the manager of one of the teams. According to the bookmakers, plenty of people believe that team might be Liverpool.
Having lost league matches to West Brom, Stoke and Aston Villa in recent months, it is probably fair to say that the Brendan Rogers project is not evolving how Liverpool's owners hoped it would. The former Swansea manager undoubtedly needs a few more seasons to develop his squad and style, but in the fickle world of Premier League football, time may not be a luxury he is granted.
As a club who have only won a League Cup trophy in the past six seasons, Liverpool would be extremely keen to bring in a man who has won at least one trophy in every campaign of the past ten years.
However, they may not be attracted to the baggage he brings. His spells at Chelsea and Madrid suggest he has destructive tendencies. A club that has had four managers in the past three years may not want a manager who has spent no more than three years with a single employer.
For these reasons and more, one would imagine coaches like Roberto Martinez, Martin O'Neill or even Rafa Benitez would be above him on the pecking order.
Also, Mourinho clearly wants to equal Bob Paisley's record of three European Cup trophies. In the short-to-medium term, Liverpool are not the club with whom he can do this.
Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have a lot in common. Both are highly respected for revolutionizing coaching practises in the game, and both have endured boos and whistles from home fans in recent months.
The Arsenal manager has been linked with a move to Real Madrid recently, having turned down the opportunity to coach Los Blancos in 2009.
If Wenger is finally lured to a club where he can no longer complain of restrictive finances, a direct swap with Mr Mourinho is feasible.
He may savor the prospect of facing the Chelsea side who spurned him at the helm of a North London rival, and he has good form of reinvigorating a team that has been absent from the top of the table (both his Porto and Madrid sides had been four years without a tittle before he guided them to glory).
However, with the financial resources at Chelsea and Manchester City, and the esteem of following Sir Alex Ferguson, it's hard to imagine Arsenal being Mou's first choice.