Manchester United to pay Mourinho 16.6 million euros

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And Mourinho admits it is an honour for him to be linked with a shock return to the Spanish capital in the future.

It does suggest that Mourinho actually stands a chance of returning to Santiago Bernabeu, and reports over the last few days have even suggested they moved for him following Lopetegui's dismissal - and while he was still at United.

The improved contract United agreed with Mourinho a year ago was due to run until the end of the 2019-20 season, with an option of a further season.

The source explained that Real sounded out Mourinho prior to Solari's hiring, with the Portuguese boss stating his commitment to his job at Old Trafford.

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Mourinho's first fully-fledged job as a manager was with the Eagles where he took over from former Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes in 2000.

Their 2-0 home defeat by Real Sociedad on Sunday saw them slump to fifth in La Liga, 10 points behind leaders Barcelona.

He said on the prospect of returning: "They are things that are said and I will not feed".

In his first TV appearance since leaving Manchester United in December, the former Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto manager will be part of a panel of expert analysts based in beIN SPORTS' studios exclusively covering two of the most watched products in the MENA region.

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Solari's job is now under huge threat and reports in Spain claim Real chiefs want to bring back Mourinho to save their season.

"When a professional returns or is invited to return to a club, it's a great honour".

A source close to Mourinho revealed on Wednesday night: "There are no issues over Jose's contract with Manchester United". It's not a gamble in the dark, the clubs are trying to hire a player or a coach they know because they've already been there.

Manchester United have said that they are not preventing their Ex-Manager from joining any club.

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Benfica's previous coach, Rui Vitória, left by mutual consent last Thursday with the Lisbon club third in the league and has now taken over at the Saudi club Al-Nassr.