Revealed: the real reason why Mourinho left Chelsea

Jose Mourinho left Chelsea after a chance meeting with Roman Abramovich in which he dared the club's owner to sack him.

Although his departure had been brewing for almost a year, with Mourinho threatening to quit and Abramovich considering when to sack him, events unravelled in a matters of hours last week. It shows just how low – and how petty – relations between the two men had become.

According to sources, Abramovich and Mourinho are believed to have simply passed each other in a corridor at Stamford Bridge after the disappointing 1-1 Champions League draw with Rosenborg. Words were then exchanged in English. Abramovich is understood to have told Mourinho that he was disappointed with the performance and hoped the team "could do better".

The Portuguese bridled at the comment and challenged Abramovich to get rid of him if he was displeased with what he was doing. "If you are not happy with me, then just sack me," Mourinho is believed to have said. He was told that if he wanted to go he could go – with the manager then agreeing.

The sudden sequence confirms that Mourinho did indeed leave by some form of "mutual consent", even if sources close to Abramovich also claim that the Russian had decided to dispose of the manager after the equally disappointing league draw at home to Blackburn Rovers the previous Saturday.

However, the petty abruptness will remain as a surprise given what was at stake with Mourinho, who had just under three years left on his £5.2m-a-year contract, receiving a pay-off of £18m. That deal includes an agreement barring him from coaching in England until next season to ward off suitors such as Tottenham Hotspur, who attempted to contact Mourinho five times last week to replace their manager Martin Jol. Mourinho's departure certainly caught officials, including the directors bar Abramovich's key confidant Eugene Tenenbaum, on the hop.

Mourinho is now set to take a holiday in Malaysia and has told friends that he wants to learn to speak German and Italian. Italy remains the most likely managerial destination for Mourinho, who has long harboured a desire to coach in Serie A, although the pressure is starting to mount on the Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard, who was, ironically, wanted by Abramovich at Chelsea last season.

It is increasingly unlikely that another Dutchman, Guus Hiddink, will be moving to Stamford Bridge. The 60-year-old Russia manager has been courted by Abramovich for some time but is set to agree a new two-year deal with the Russian Football Federation which will take him up to the 2010 World Cup. Abramovich has again held talks with Hiddink over his intentions but one reason why he has been warned off is the delicate political situation in Russia which could harm the billionaire's business interests.

Hiddink's agent, Cees van Nieuwenhuizen insisted yesterday that his client had no desire, to coach in the Premier League, although Abramovich is also understood to have tried to tempt him with the post of general manager at Chelsea. "Where he is right now and his age, it is of more interest to him to work with [a] national team," Van Nieuwenhuizen said. "I think that's what he likes to do instead of being in the pressure cooker of the Premier League. Abramovich would not make any friends if he would steal away Guus Hiddink from the Russian Football Federation."

Following the appointment of Avram Grant, the club have been quick to rebut links with other managers such as Marco van Basten, the coach of the Netherlands national team. Although he appears certain to step down next summer, sources close to the former Milan striker said yesterday that he was likely to take over at Ajax.

There was bad news for Chelsea yesterday when they were charged by the Football Association for failing to control their players.

Chelsea were incensed by the referee Mike Dean's decision to send off their Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel in the first half of the 2-0 defeat away to Manchester United on Sunday. The assistant manager, Steve Clarke, has also been charged with using abusive and/or insulting words towards officials. Chelsea and Clarke have until 12 October to respond, with the club saying they would vigorously contest both charges. Chelsea disputed Mikel's red card, but the FA rejected their appeal and his three-match ban was upheld.

Uefa confirmed that it has no plans to ban Grant from coaching in the Champions League, despite uncertainty over his qualifications. The 52-year-old Israeli has yet to obtain the Uefa Pro-Licence, which is normally required to coach in European competition. He has a 12-week period of grace to gain the badge but will have to rely on a special dispensation if he is to remain in charge for the rest of this season.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam