Nine months after leading Chelsea to the English Premier League title coach Jose Mourinho has been sacked by the London club.
The London club announced the news in a statement posted on their website.
It read: ‘‘Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent.
‘‘All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013.
‘‘The club wishes to make clear Jose leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea. His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge.’‘
He is the most successful manager in the club’s 110-year history.
Over two stints at the helm the Portuguese guided Chelsea to three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a Community Shield and three League Cup crowns.
He only signed a new four-year contract at the beginning of August but a string of poor results on the domestic stage has left the side one point above the relegation zone in 16th position and twenty points behind leaders Leicester, who beat the Blues at the weekend which ultimately led to Mourinho’s dismissal.
‘‘Jose and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways.’‘ Chelsea wrote on their website.
Chelsea are, however, still in the Champions League, where they face Paris Saint Germain in the last 16 in February.
Initial reports suggested that Mourinho would be paid some 55 million euros in compensation, but it is now believed the Roman Abramovic-owned club is expected to pay the 52-year old what was left of his 16.5 million euro annual salary.
The club have not announced a replacement but the rumour mills have been sent into overdrive.
An interim coach is a more likely route at this stage with the club’s favourite targets all tied up elsewhere.
Former coach and current manager of Ghana, Avram Grant has been touted as one interim candidate. The Israeli was the one to take over from Mourinho the last time he left Chelsea.
Guus Hiddink is another.
The Dutchman, who would be a popular choice with the fans, was interim coach in 2009 and led the club to FA Cup success.
Spaniard Juande Ramos has been mentioned, although he would be a potentially unpopular choice for fans after his disastrous reign in charge of London rivals Tottenham six years ago.
Ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola would be Chelsea’s favourite of favourites, but the Spaniard would only be available next season after his contract with German Champions Bayern Munich runs out.
Former Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti would be an easy fit in having guided Chelsea to a domestic double in 2010 although rumours have it he could be on his way to Bayern Munich next term.
Former Liverpool boss and Mourinho’s former assistant from his first spell at the Bridge, Brendan Rogers is also available, while Diego Simeone has become hot property since dragging Atletico Madrid out of the shadows of city rivals Real en route to winning La Liga in 2014.