With the season at an end in the top division in Spain, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to some old frinds and welcome some new ones.
The worst kept secret in world football is finally out as Jose Mourinho has announced he will be leaving Real Madrid and returning to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea.
But the “special one” isn’t the only manager leaving the Primera.
Manuel Pellegrini is leaving Málaga and will join Mourinho in the Premier League as he takes the reigns at Manchester City, and despite leading Real Sociedad to Champions League qualification, Philippe Montanier is leaving the Txuri-urdin to take charge of Stade Rennais in Ligue 1.
Both clubs have been linked with Newell’s Old Boys and former Paraguay manager, Gerardo Martino, who has just led Newell’s to the Copa Libertadores semi finals, but there is a doubt if Martino will want to leave Argentina before the season finishes in July – especially if he manages to take his team to the Libertadores final.
Back in the Primera, Miroslav Djukic has said adiós to Valladolid suggesting he was looking for “a new challenge” and there is reason to believe that the new challenge might well be at the Mestalla since Ernesto Valverde has left Valencia following Los Che’s failure to secure Champions League football next season.
And to add to the managerial merry-go-round, Marcelo Bielsa’s future at Athletic looks less secure since Valverde came onto the job market as the former player and manager at San Mamés has been heavily touted as a successor to Bielsa after a frustratingly disappointing season in Bilbao.
Other strong rumours suggest we’ll be saying ¡hola! to Juup Heynckes, who won the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal with Bayern Munich this season.
Heynckes, who sees former Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola, taking over at Bayern has already ‘enjoyed’ the Bernabéu hot seat; winning the 1998 Champions League with the Blancos was not enough to let the powers that be forget Los Blancos’ fourth position in the league and his P45 was promptly sent out.
Of course, three clubs will also be bidding farewell to the Primera as Zaragoza, Mallorca and Depor say ¡hola! to the Segunda, but so far, only Elche have said their adios to the Segunda, returning to the Primera for the first time in 24 years.
Villareal face Almería in the final round of matches with the winner returning to the Primera and the loser facing the prospect of a play off lottery against Girona and any two of Alcorcón, Las Palmas and Pontferradina.