Jose just wants to be loved

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Jose Mourinho offered the firmest hint yet that he may return to Chelsea as manager next season. The Special One was speaking after Real Madrid's disappointing exit from the Champions League. Attempting to overturn a three-goal deficit against Borussia Dortmund, the Spanish champions could only manage a 2-0 win.

It has been an open secret that Mourinho would leave Madrid at the end of the season. Despite winning La Liga last season, he has an acrimonious relationship with the press, the club and with some of his players. Although Madrid's stars gave their all against Borussia, that has not always been the case this season. President Florentino Perez was warned that if Mourinho was still in charge next season, several high-profile stars would demand transfers.

"Obviously I want to be where people love me without rservations, where I have support from everyone," Mourinho responded, when asked if he would remain in the Madrid job. "I know I am loved in England. I am loved by some clubs, especially one." His old rival Rafael Benitez is presently in temporary charge at Chelsea, but the fans would be delighted if Mourinho could be persuaded to return.

Mourinho's ego and opinionated character have won few friends in Spain, where managerial reticence is more respected. By contrast, he was adored in England, where his comments were always worthy of back page splash headlines. Chelsea is his most obvious destination but by no means the only one.

There are strong rumours that Manchester City could be parting company with Roberto Mancini in the summer and Mourinho might relish the opportunity to spend some of the club's lavish transfer budget. One rumoured ambition of Mourinho's was to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, but as the Scot has just secured another Premier League title, his retirement may be some way off.

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