José Mourinho polarises opinion and, true to form, the seemingly Chelsea-bound coach was cheered and jeered in equal measure as he concluded three years in charge of Real Madrid with a 4-2 home win against Osasuna.
Played out before a two-thirds full Bernabéu stadium with Madrid second in La Liga, well adrift of the champions Barcelona, it was not the finale the 50-year-old Mourinho might have envisaged. Despite having three years remaining on his contract, Mourinho agreed to depart by "mutual consent", the divorce evidently suiting both parties.
After falling out with the Spanish media, not to mention certain key players, Mourinho has talked longingly about England as a place where he "is loved" and the agreement with his former employers at Chelsea appears virtually done and dusted.
Before Saturday's game he issued a brief farewell statement on Madrid's website, reflecting on three always turbulent and sometimes triumphant years in charge.
"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!"
After the win against Osasuna – in which Cristiano Ronaldo's absence due to a supposed "back strain" prompted fevered speculation that Manchester United's former favourite son could be poised for a Premier League return – Mourinho stepped forward from the technical area, arms aloft, before waving to the fans and disappearing down the tunnel one last time.
Earlier he had waited until the last possible moment ahead of the kick-off before emerging and quickly settling into the dugout. Almost immediately, he ventured out of his seat and was instantly engulfed by photographers. Security staff were required to usher them away.
The reception from home fans embraced assorted "political" positions, including Madrid's ultras, who brandished signs emblazoned with messages such as "Thanks for everything, Mou" and chanted his name. Another segment of supporters whistled in protest, largely upset with the manager's treatment of certain players, the team's lack of major titles this season and the Portuguese's claims that he is not "loved" in Spain.
After securing the Copa del Rey in his first season and the La Liga title in his second, Mourinho and Madrid parted following a third campaign that saw only the Spanish Supercup added to the trophy cabinet. As if bowing out at the semi-final stage of the Champions League for a third consecutive year under the former Porto, Chelsea and Internazionale coach was not bad enough, Madrid trailed Barcelona from the start of the season and lost the Copa del Rey final to fierce rivals Atlético Madrid.
In a damning indictment arguably more damaging than the less than glorious trophy haul, Mourinho has been heavily criticised by supporters and journalists alike for his persistent benching of Iker Casillas, Madrid's goalkeeper and captain.
In recent months he has fallen out with other players, including Pepe, but other Madrid players made clear their desire to wish Mourinho well for the future. "Many thanks for everything. It has been a pleasure," the defender Alvaro Arbeloa tweeted.
If his Madrid exit was rather less glorious than hoped for, at least he signed off with a win. Gonzalo Higuaín, captaining a side missing a number of regulars, opened the scoring with Real's 100th goal of the season.
Next Michael Essien, on loan from Stamford Bridge, headed in a corner and sprinted across to dedicate the goal to Mourinho, who brought him to Real following the injury problems which undermined his Chelsea career.
Osasuna, also with nothing left to play for, reduced the deficit courtesy of a raking, low shot from Roberto Torres. Alvaro Cejudo then headed an equaliser.
No matter. Superlative skill on Mesut Ozil's part set up Karim Benzema for Madrid's third goal before José Callejón completed the scoring in the 87th minute.
As is his wont, Mourinho exited, stage left, a winner.
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