Mourinho bids Madrid fans fond farewell
Jose Mourinho bid farewell to Real Madrid's fans ahead of his last game on Saturday, and then received a mix of cheers and jeers hours later when he took to the Santiago Bernabeu pitch.sports Updated: Jun 01, 2013 22:33 IST
Jose Mourinho bid farewell to Real Madrid's fans ahead of his last game on Saturday, and then received a mix of cheers and jeers hours later when he took to the Santiago Bernabeu pitch.
The Portuguese coach gave a short goodbye in a statement on Madrid's website hours before he brought an end to his three-year stint in the Spanish capital in a game against Osasuna with nothing to play for other than pride.
"I wish all of Real Madrid's supporters much happiness in the future," Mourinho said. "I want to thank many fans for their support, and I respect the criticism of others. I repeat, happiness to all, and above all, good health. Hala (Forward) Madrid!"
At the start of the match, Mourinho waited in the tunnel until kickoff before emerging and quickly settling into the dugout. But he was soon on his feet in the area and surrounded by a pack of photographers that stadium security had to usher back.
The reception from the home fans was divided between Mourinho's die-hard supporters, including Madrid's ultras, who held up signs like "Thanks for Everything Mou" and chanted his name.
Another segment of fans, meanwhile, whistled in protest, largely upset with the manager's treatment of certain players, the team's lack of major titles this season, and his claims that he is not "loved" in Spain.
Mourinho, who in his career has won the Champions League twice and league titles in Portugal, England, Italy, and Spain, is expected to return to Chelsea in the Premier League next season.
After winning the Copa del Rey in his first season and the Spanish league in his second, Mourinho and the club agreed to part ways following a third season with only the Spanish Supercup to add to the trophy case.
Mourinho has been heavily criticized for his benching of captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas this season, and has had run-ins with other players like Pepe.
Other Madrid players wished Mourinho well.
"Many thanks for everything. It has been a pleasure," Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa wrote on Twitter.
Madrid has been locked into a second-place finish for weeks after falling behind champion Barcelona from the very start of the season. It was eliminated in the semifinals of the Champions League for the third straight season under Mourinho, and lost the final of the Copa del Rey to crosstown rival Atletico Madrid.