The ex-Blues boss missed out on the chance to come up against his former club after dramatically losing out to Jupp Heynckes' men on penalties at Santiago BernabeuCOMMENT
By Jonathan Birchall
So Chelsea won't face Jose Mourinho in the Champions League final, but after a semi-final of the utmost drama in Madrid, the occasion may well still be a Special One.
On May 19 in Munich, Jose Mourinho and the players that used to idolise him at Stamford Bridge won't come face with each other on the greatest stage in club football after his Real Madrid team lost to Bayern Munich on penalties at Santiago Bernabeu.
Be it flirting from afar or battling head-to-head, the Portuguese boss and Chelsea remain intrinsically linked, but this year they will continue as star-crossed lovers.
When Mourinho announced to his players that he would be leaving west London in September 2007 it never really looked like the end of their great love story. It was a bolt from and to the Blues.
|ON A ROLL
|17/2||Chelsea are 17/2 with Sportingbet to beat QPR 3-0 on Sunday.|
At the time, Didier Drogba cried in the dressing room. John Terry, as is so often his wont on the pitch, remonstrated with club officials, desperate to keep the man who had brought the league title to Stamford Bridge for the first time in half a century and kick-started Roman Abramovich's revolution.
"People can't understand how much I love Chelsea," said the Real coach in March. "I'd love to play them in the final."
That dream slipped through his fingers however, as he slumped to his knees in the Bernabeu technical area and watched Bastian Schweinsteiger send the Bavarians through from the spot.
For Mourinho, the opportunity to parade the prize that Roman Abramovich wants more than any other will have been tantalising. Indeed, when his Inter side knocked the Blues out at Stamford Bridge at the last 16 stage two years ago, the self-proclaimed Special One insisted that he took no pleasure in ending the Russian oligarch's Champions League dream.
"I love Chelsea, I love this stadium, I love these people but I am a professional," said Mourinho after the 1-0 win for the Italians in west London, securing a 3-1 victory on aggregate.
"I celebrated a lot in the dressing room. I'm happy because I won. I am not happy my ex-players lost, because Roman [Abramovich] lost or because the fans go home unhappy."
But Mourinho, you sense, never forgets. His house-hunting trip to London earlier this season amid the final weeks of Andre Villas-Boas' unsuccessful reign merely demonstrated the Portuguese's tendency to relish in his former club's turmoil.
He would never admit it, but beating Chelsea, no, beating Abramovich in Munich next month would have been on his mind.
Instead, Chelsea will face Bayern, a team who, like the Blues, had overcame their own semi-final task that had been deemed by some to be nearly impossible.
Jupp Heynckes' side, like Di Matteo's men, have seen their domestic title in the arms of another side for successive seasons, yet with the world awaiting a Clasico in Bavaria, neither of world football's supposed two greatest teams will participate.
It will be a showpiece that not many will have expected when the semi-final draw was made in March and Chelsea will enter it with heightened expectations, be them foolish or not. For now they have avoided Mourinho. The reunion will have to wait.