Chinese national soccer team coach Jose Antonio Camacho left China quietly on Tuesday, after being sacked following a devastating loss to Thailand.
Netizens have shared photos of the former Spain and Real Madrid coach commenting on his departure - without an official delegation seeing him off at Beijing airport.
In 2011, the 58-year-old was tasked to take China's national team to the 2014 world championship in Brazil - a goal now out of reach. China fell from 69th to 100th place in Fifa's world ranking during his tenure.
Camacho had been dismissed in late June for a 5-1 defeat to Thailand's theoretically much inferior national team in Hefei in Anhui province on the same day as President Xi Jinping's birthday. Xi is known to be an ardent soccer fan. Newspapers declared a "day of national shame".
Outrage ensued after newspaper reports revealed that the Chinese Football Association could be forced to pay the Spaniard HK$65 million to end his contract prematurely. The CFA could also face a HK$31 million tax bill for compensation.
Fifa said on Friday that Camacho had started arbitration proceedings against CFA after negotiations broke down in Beijing last Thursday.
A successor to Camacho has yet to be announced. Marcello Lippi, 65, currently the head coach of Evergrande Guangzhou, is a front runner in the race for the top job.