Intensely irritating to some, hugely entertaining to others, the outspoken and colourful Jose Mourinho has proven time and again that success is never far from his golden touch.
From a modest playing career and humble beginnings in management, the 50-year-old has become one of the most sought-after signings by club presidents eager for the Portuguese to wave his magic wand and conjure a succession of silverware.
His managerial record stands the closest scrutiny - a Champions League winner with two clubs and league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain.
He guided Porto to league and European glory, moulded Chelsea into English champions and Inter Milan into Italian league and European winners.
At Real, who announced that Mourinho would leave at the end of a trophyless season in a mutual parting, he ended three years of Barcelona dominance by winning the La Liga title last season. But he fell short in his stated desire to win a third personal Champions League trophy and the magical 10th that Real so desperately desired.
"Both the club and the coach agree that it is the right moment to end this relationship," Real president Florentino Perez said, adding Mourinho would not receive a pay-off.
The success of his teams on the pitch has earned Mourinho the adulation of fans, the respect of players and a love-hate relationship with club presidents. But underpinning Mourinho's time in managerial hot seats have been clashes with authority, tetchy relationships with rival managers and a disdain for match officials.
However, there is no doubt that he possesses a spark that others lack. It is often said that players will "run through walls" for a popular manager. and Mourinho has no bigger admirer than Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard.
"It's a presence and an aura and a way with people. He galvanises people," the Blues' record goalscorer said recently in hailing the Portuguese's tactical nous and man-management skills. "His own self-confidence reflects back on his teams. He did that to me personally. Mourinho was the best, for me he was. He brought my confidence to a level it had never been."
Mourinho has often stated that English football was his passion and that he would find his way back there. It would now appear that he is on his way back for a second stint at Stamford Bridge having dropped heavy hints.
"I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one," he said last month.
Adored by Chelsea fans during his three full seasons there, if he does head back to London, Mourinho will work again under the man who brought his reign to an end. Russian billionaire and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich fired Mourinho in 2007 after their relationship had reportedly broken down.
Chelsea's long-serving captain John Terry has said Mourinho and Abramovich "now get on very well", a key sign that the Russian could soon be again rolling out the welcome mat.
Mourinho has never been far from controversial moments - there was no hiding his rancour in 2010, for example, when he landed in hot water for making a handcuff gesture to photographers and television cameras to make the point that his side had been victimised after they had two players sent off in a Serie A match with Sampdoria.
Mourinho also possesses a gift for the eccentric.
After Chelsea had won their second consecutive Premier League title in 2006, Mourinho flung his winners' medal and blazer into the Stamford Bridge crowd. Handed a second medal minutes later, he also launched it into the fans before later saying: "I have one from last season."
The Portuguese coach's departure from Real comes as a far cry from the way he left Inter after guiding the Italian club to an unprecedented treble in 2010, culminating in their first European Cup triumph in 45 years.
"My work here is done, I have made history with this club," he said after Inter's 2-0 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich. "I will find motivations in another big club. Playing against Barcelona in Spain? That would be a big challenge."
Last year, Mourinho guided Real to their first La Liga title for four years, but was unable to work his magic again in the Champions League, with Real beaten in the semi-finals in the last three seasons - an improvement on their previous run of last-16 exits, but not enough.
This term, Real's poor season reached a low point in the King's Cup final, when Mourinho was dismissed from the bench in the second half of regular time for protesting against a decision by the referee, and top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo was later shown a straight red card for kicking out at an opponent.
"Every coach has their specific personality," Perez said. "For sure, he has made mistakes and he has apologised, but he was under a lot of pressure.
"Mourinho told me that a soccer match in England lasts for two hours before the match and then two hours afterwards," the Real president added. "Here, it lasts seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Here, you cannot sleep even for a day."
In Mourinho's Words
"The only thing that I want to say is that we are the best ones and in normal conditions we are more than the best ones. In normal conditions we will be champions. In abnormal conditions we also will be champions."
While Porto coach
"Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one."
After being appointed at Chelsea
"If I had wanted to be protected in a quiet job, I could have stayed at Porto. I would have been second, after God, in the eyes of the fans even if I had never won another thing."
Reflecting on his move from Porto to Chelsea
"For me, pressure is bird flu. I'm feeling a lot of pressure with the swan in Scotland. It's not fun and I'm more scared of it than football."
Pressure of the Premier League title race in 2006
"As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal."
Tottenham's tactics in a 0-0 draw
"It is like having a blanket that is too small for the bed. You pull the blanket up to keep your chest warm and your feet stick out. I cannot buy a bigger blanket because the supermarket is closed. But I am content because the blanket is cashmere. It is no ordinary blanket."
An injury crisis at Chelsea
"The style of how we play is very important. But it is omelettes and eggs. No eggs - no omelettes. It depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem."
Feeling the financial pinch towards end of time at Chelsea
"If they made a film of my life, I think they should get George Clooney to play me. He's a fantastic actor and my wife thinks he would be ideal."
Contemplating a film of his life
"I am very happy at Inter. I am not happy in Italian football - because I don't like it and they don't like me. Simple."
At Inter Milan
"I studied Italian five hours a day for many months to ensure I could communicate with the players, media and fans. Ranieri had been in England for five years and still struggled to say 'good morning' and 'good afternoon'."
On former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri
"Like me or not, I am the only one who won the world's three most important leagues. So maybe instead of the 'Special One', people should call me the 'Only One'."
After winning La Liga with Real and on a record points total
What Others Said
"He's out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"He was certainly full of it, calling me 'boss' and 'big man' when we had our post-match drink. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper."
Retired Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
"We were good friends until Liverpool started winning, then he started changing his mind."
Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez
"Mourinho is simply someone who should be smacked in the mouth."
Catania director Pietro Lo Monaco