Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has turned down the chance to return to former club Real Madrid after the Spanish giants sounded him out as a possible replacement for Carlo Ancelotti.
That's according to Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague, who claims Los Blancos have a genuine interest in bringing the Portuguese boss back to the Santiago Bernabeu as a direct result of the Italian tactician's trophyless 2014/15 campaign.
Barcelona's 1-0 win away at Atletico Madrid last night secured a fifth domestic title in the past seven seasons, and left Real ruing missed chances in what will be another fruitless campaign.
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Last week Ancelotti's side were dumped out of the Champions League by Juventus following a 3-2 aggregate defeat in the semi-final, and despite beating Espanyol 4-1 on Sunday were unable to prevent their arch rivals from securing the La Liga title.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his seventh hat-trick of the season but it was not enough to deny Luis Enrique's side and now Real Madrid are assessing their options ahead of next season which leaves their current head coach's future shrouded in doubt.
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“The idea is that Real now look for another coach – that is what normally happens when Real Madrid do not win,” Balague told Revista de La Liga after Barca's triumph.
“Real have spoken to Julen Lopetegui at Porto, to Jurgen Klopp, to Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho.
“They have already spoken to those four to see if they would be interested in coaching Real Madrid. They have spoken to Jose Mourinho - he said no to them, of course.
“Out of those four, Rafa is favoured by some but not others. Mourinho is favoured by some and not by others and Lopetegui is deemed as something for the future, but they have sounded out all of them.
“Klopp isn’t an automatic yes for the job, and it may be a little bit too early for Zinedine Zidane.
“There was a plan at the beginning of the season, but Real Madrid Castilla haven’t been doing too well so, again, there is doubt.”
Real Madrid have now won just one solitary league title in the past seven years, and the board's burning desire for more trophies is what led them back to Mourinho, who recently secured his first Premier League title of his second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.
However, Chelsea fans will be delighted to hear that The Special One has no desire to leave west London and will be in charge for the Blues' defence of the domestic crown next term.
As a result, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez's search for a successor to Ancelotti continues, but Balague has not completely ruled out the possibility of him remaining in charge next season - if only because the calibre of candidates currently available is not suitable.
“The problem Florentino Perez is facing is that he’s not in love with anybody,” he explained. “He was in love with Mourinho when he brought him to the club, and he has loved other appointments.
“However, at the moment, there is not a clear candidate to replace Ancelotti and he could stay."
Chelsea fans: Are you surprised to read that Real Madrid want to bring Jose Mourinho back to the Bernabeu? Do you think the Portuguese coach could be tempted by a return to Spain in the future? Have your say below...