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Jose Mourinho departs Chelsea for a second time

Premier League champion is struggling in the league

CNN  — 

Jose Mourinho isn’t special anymore.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s best soccer coaches, Chelsea has sacked the Portuguese manager after an awful run of form left the English Premier League champion with no chance of retaining its title.

But Mourinho was so much more than just a football manager.

Brands flocked to him, attracted by his swagger, but just importantly his ability to deliver outrageously provocative quotes. He was a man you either loved or hated.

So in April, Mourinho told one British newspaper that he was such a good manager that he was “getting better at everything related to my job,” which underlines the 52-year-old didn’t do self doubt.

At that time he was preparing to celebrate Chelsea’s triumph in winning the English Premier League title, but that jauntiness has long since disappeared as this serial winner has had to watch his side implode during the 2015-16 campaign.

READ: How Mourinho’s final match unfolded

Though Chelsea has qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, Monday’s 2-1 domestic defeat by Leicester left the Blues languishing one point above the relegation places. It was the club’s ninth league defeat of the season.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013. Both 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.

“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. The club’s focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential.”

Social media reacts to Mourinho’s sacking

It is the second time Mourinho has been relieved of his duties at Stamford Bridge, with billionaire club owner Roman Abramovich also wielding the axe in 2007.

His sacking signals a remarkable fall from grace for a man regarded as one of the world’s best – Mourinho has also won league titles in Italy, Spain and Portugal, plus two Champions League triumphs with Porto and Inter Milan.

He returned to England in June 2013 after a tumultuous spell at Real Madrid, where he described his final season as the worst in his career after failing to win a trophy.

Mourinho signed a four-year deal at Chelsea, and the team finished third in his first season back before ending a five-year wait to win the domestic championship the following year.

However, this season has been more difficult, with Mourinho embroiled in a controversy that led to the departure of Chelsea’s female team doctor Eva Carneiro.

He has been twice fined by the English Football Association – for a total of £90,000 ($135,000) – and given a one-match stadium ban for incidents during and after matches with Southampton and West Ham.

Chelsea have lost nine league matches this campaign, more than in the previous two seasons combined, and sit 20 points off leaders Leicester.

After the game he told reporters he felt “betrayed” by his players, who had failed to carry out his tactical instructions.

“One of my best qualities is to read the game for my players and I feel like my work was betrayed,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“One possibility is that I did an amazing job last season and brought the players to a level that is not their level and now they can’t maintain it.”

When asked after the game if he thought he would be given more time to turn things around he told reporters: “The only thing I can say is that I want to.

“I have no doubts and I think you know me well enough, three years this time, plus three years another time, that I am not afraid of a big challenge, and in this moment this is a real big challenge.

“I want to stay, I hope Mr Abramovich and the board want me to stay.”

The club gave the 52-year-old a vote of confidence in October, saying he had the board’s full support even though they admitted that results hadn’t been good enough.

Since then Chelsea have suffered five more defeats in the Premier League, and could drop into the relegation zone if it is beaten by Sunderland on Saturday and other results don’t go its way.