Xabi Alonso hopes he is still coached by Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid next season.
The Portuguese coach led Los Blancos to the league title last term, yet they are currently trailing great rivals Barcelona by 13 points with nine matches remaining. But he still has the chance to become the only coach to lead three separate clubs to UEFA Champions League glory, having previously won the competition with Porto in 2004 and Internazionale in 2010.
Yet Mourinho is widely believed to be unhappy with life in Spain, and he has hinted on more than one occasion that he longs for a return to England. During his three-year stint at Chelsea, he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, and two League Cups before his exit in September 2007.
Although the Blues have since gone on to enjoy success, most notably in winning the Champions League last season, their policy of changing coaches on a regular basis has received widespread criticism. Roberto Di Matteo, for example, was shown the door last November, just six months after leading them to European and FA Cup glory.
The Italian was the fifth so-called permanent manager since Mourinho to be shown the exit door by Roman Abramovich, following Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, double-winning Carlo Ancelotti, and Andre Villas-Boas. Current incumbent Rafael Benitez, who was immediately bestowed with the prefix of interim coach, will leave in the summer, regardless of how the remainder of the season pans out.
Chelsea fans are desperate for Mourinho to return to the helm, and regularly sing his name both at Stamford Bridge and during away matches. His relationship with many of his former players who are still at the club, such as the influential Frank Lampard and John Terry, remains as strong as ever, and he is also thought to have kept in regular contact with Abramovich.
It is of little surprise, then, that a return to the English capital continues to be mooted for the self-proclaimed Special One. However, his current Real midfielder Alonso hopes the 50-year-old rejects the chance of an emotional return to the Premier League side, in favour of seeing out his contract at the Bernabeu which is designed to run until the summer of 2016.
“I know he loves the Premier League and its atmosphere, and the way the game is played in England,” the former Liverpool star told The Times of India. “He will go back to England one day, he said so himself. But I believe and hope that he is with us next season. He is a very good manager. The way he communicates with players is different. You want to win for him.”