Official: Jose Mourinho to leave Real Madrid

Leave a comment

What’s been coming for a long time is now official.  Jose Mourinho’s three-year tenure at Real Madrid has a finish line.  He will leave the Spanish giants at the end of the season.

Madrid’s president Florentino Perez confirmed in a press conference today, “The time is right to bring our relationship to an end. Nobody has been sacked, it is a mutual agreement.”  Perez also added a token of appreciation, saying, “On behalf of the directors, I would like to thank Jose Mourinho for his hard work over the last three years.”

Mourinho will remain in charge for the club’s final two Primera Division matches against Osasuna and Real Sociedad.

Because the “Special One” has mutually agreed to terminate the contract, he is forgoing the €20 million ($26 million) compensation clause in the event he was sacked.  The club also forgoes a clause of the same amount paid to them in the case Mourinho left for another club.

Perez said that Mourinho leaves without any pre-contract agreement currently in place with another club.  He has been heavily linked with a return to English giants Chelsea, where he managed for a successful yet tumultuous 2 seasons.

Linked with Madrid to replace him has been the likes of PSG head Carlo Ancelotti, although the French champions have recently said they will not agree to release Ancelotti from his contract there.  Current lame duck Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has also been in the mix.

Mourinho called this season at Real Madrid the “worst of his career” thanks to their finishing second in the Primera Division standings, being knocked out of the Champions League by Borussia Dortmund in the semifinals, and most recently losing to Atletico Madrid in the finals of the Copa Del Rey, during which Mourinho was sent off.  Real did win the Supercopa de Espana this year, which pits the previous season’s champions against the previous season’s league cup champions, much like the Community Shield of the Premier League.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
Leave a comment

West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

Leave a comment

In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.