MADRID – Jose Mourinho gave his biggest hints yet that he is set to leave Real Madrid in the offseason and is eyeing a return to England.
After Real Madrid was eliminated by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semifinals on Tuesday night, Mourinho was asked whether he will return to the club next season and replied: "Maybe not."
Asked where he would be, Mourinho then said he didn't know but that "I love to be where people love me to be."
In the following news conference, the former Chelsea manager said that place was England.
"I know in England I am loved," he said. "I'm loved by the fans. I'm loved by the media, which treats me in a fair way. ... I know I'm loved by some clubs, especially one."
He added that "in Spain the situation is a bit different because some people hate me. And many of you are in this room."
The comments are likely to fuel more speculation about a return to Chelsea, where interim manager Rafa Benitez is set to leave after the season.
Mourinho said no final decision has been made and that he remains intent on finishing the season with Madrid and winning the Copa del Rey final against crosstown rival Atletico Madrid on May 17.
"It's difficult to make a decision because I like the club," he said.
Mourinho led Madrid to the Spanish league title last season but the team was eliminated in the Champions League semis for the third straight year. Real's 2-0 win in the second leg left the German team advancing on 4-3 aggregate.