"Inter owe me nothing, I owe them nothing because I have given them everything I have and for this I am calm about the matter''.
That was Jose Mourinho in a press conference this week, responding to speculation that he is looking to leave his job as the manager of Internazionale, where he is a Champions League final match against Bayern Munich away from leading his side to an incredible treble, to become coach of Real Madrid.
Despite the phenomenal success he has achieved in leading Nerazzurri to successive titles, it seems that Mourinho, dubbed 'The Special One' by the British press, is not too enamoured with life in Serie A:''All I see is intellectual prostitution. Inter are treated by the media as murderers. Tell me, who caused Calciopoli? Who has been robbed by referees for the last four years? Whose 75-year-old president goes out with 18-year-olds? Not Inter!''
Now that he has fulfilled personal ambitions through coaching stints in England and Italy, he has set his sights on the hotseat at The Bernabeu, where his task will be to achieve what Chilean Manuel Pellegrini attempted to do in vain last season: dethrone Guardiola's Barcelona from the summit of Spanish football.
Throughout the last decade, Los Merengues' efforts to conquer La Blaugrana have been plighted by under-performing players, unwanted media attention, the weight of expectation and a short-sighted impatience with managers. In fact, while Barcelona have employed six managers over the last ten years, no fewer than ELEVEN have taken on the poisoned chalice at Real.
Mourinho, however, is no ordinary manager.
Even if it may be difficult to understand a comparison between transfer budgets and eggs or injuries and cahsmere blankets, Mourinho has experience and intelligence in abundance.He has the balls, charisma and charm to handle the Madrid job. His record in management is not too shabby either.
At Inter Milan, he worked to a modest budget in comparison to Real Madrid's lavish expenditure. Selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Barcelona and acquiring Samuel Eto'o may not have been his decision, but it proved to be a shrewd move. Mourinho can be credited, however, for moulding an excellent team out of experienced Serie A schemers such as Materazzi, Samuel and Zanetti and new players like Eto'o, Pandev and Sneijder.
Much like his Chelsea team, Mourinho's Inter Milan has not always dazzled, but has always got results. If his team beat Bayern Munchen, also on course for a treble, Inter Milan will be the first Italian team to achieve a treble. For Mourinho, a treble would just be another record and award to add to his impressive collection.
If the style of football which Mourinho usually presides over may not meet the approval of the many Madrilenos, they are likely to forego their frantic white-flag waving if Mourinho can continue his remarkable career by putting an end to Barcelona's dominance.
Mourinho's ability to foster team spirit and out think and unnerve rival managers, combined with the financial clout of the richest club in the world and a squad with an enviable blend of experience, talent and youth should be the perfect recipe for success.
But life is never quite that simple for Real Madrid.
Number of Real Madrid Managers Since 2001: 11
Number of Trophies Real Madrid Has Won Since 2001: 9
Number of Trophies Mourinho Has Won Since 2001: 16
Number of Individual Managerial Awards Mourinho Has Won: 21