Jose Mourinho's time in Spain, predictably, was far from dull. From his eye-poke on Tito Vilanova, to being dubbed the 'scourge of La Liga', the now Chelsea boss endured a storied three seasons.
Just like at Stamford Bridge, keeping the many players at his disposal at Real Madrid, and strong characters happy was always a tough job.
His time there was embroiled with rumours of fallouts with players, notably Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, and even a tense working relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo even said Mourinho was 'not worth' talking about after his departure as boss and did not want to discuss the former manager.
Xabi Alonso stuck up for his former boss in August, stating: "Mourinho respected the people who were generous with their efforts."
Now former assistant Aitor Karanka has had his say. The new Middlesbrough boss spoke about his time under Mourinho for the first time in fourth months, and claimed all rumours about fallouts were false.
He even used the example of Mesut Ozil greeting Mourinho after Arsenal's game v Chelsea in the Capital One Cup and handing his former boss his shirt as an example of how the Portuguese manager was revered by his players in Madrid.
He told Spanish television station La Sexta: "Mourinho doesn't believe in falseness. People said there were problems in the dressing room, that the players couldn't stand the sight of him... But then Özil gave him his shirt the other day."
Just two days ago Madrid starlet Alvaro Morata praised the manager, stating:
"To Jose Mourinho I owe a great deal for promoting me up to the first team and I will always have a special feeling towards him. He is an incredible coach."
So Mourinho was loved by all at Madrid? A fresh narrative contrasting to the one we had been led to believe for three years?
Well may be yes. Even Iker Casillas, who said in June that the decision to drop him upset him greatly, having felt the same snub under Carlo Ancelotti, said even he feels no hard feelings towards his old boss.
Speaking on November 21, he said: "For me it has been a pleasure working with Mourinho and I'll take the good things, do not always think the same. If I see him, of course I will lift his hand, but ask him and see what he answers. I have not taken part in any statement against Mourinho. Publicly. At least that I can remember."
Whatever the damage to the Mourinho 'brand' left in Madrid for his public and bitter clashes with Barcelona, it seems remarkably thanks to the praise piled on by former players and staff - some of his legacy still remains very much intact.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald