Real Boss Laughs Off Mourinho’s Return to the Club

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari laughed off speculation linking Jose Mourinho to his job and joked that the Spanish side have more pretenders than Julia Roberts.

Mourinho, out of work since his sacking from Manchester United, admitted on beIN SPORTS that he would be open to a return to the Santiago Bernabeu in future and could be in the frame following Los Blancos’ recent poor results.

Asked about the Portuguese in the pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League last 16 second leg against Ajax, Solari said: “This club has always had more pretenders than Julia Roberts. It’s normal.”

Later on in his meeting with the media, the 42-year-old was then asked who the actress would prefer out of he and Mourinho. “You’ll have to ask her that,” he said.

Looking ahead to the crunch Champions League game after back-to-back defeats to Barcelona in the past week, Solari said: “We want to win, to go through. This team has character.”

Ajax did not play at the weekend and Real Madrid come into this match on the back of two tough games against Barca, but Solari said: “Our calendar is what it is.

“Very hectic, with a lot of important games, but that’s nothing new. We are used to it. We can’t change things.”

Regarding Luka Modric’s claims earlier that the team are missing Cristiano Ronaldo, the coach said: “Cristiano is living history in this club and what he has done here is in the trophy cabinet. Those of us who are here are trying to do as well as we can.”

Skipper Sergio Ramos will be suspended after he deliberately got himself booked in the first leg and the defender has been given an additional one-match ban by Uefa.

“It’s a shame he won’t be here,” Solari said. “He’s very important for us, a leader. But we have experienced players who can replace him. In any case, his character is impregnated on this team and he will be with us.”

Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has been criticised for some poor performances lately and was booed at the Bernabeu on Saturday, but his coach would not be drawn on the Welshman’s situation.

“All the players are available except Marcos Llorente,” he said.

Another player out of favour is Marcelo, who has not featured since the 2-1 loss to Girona and Solari was asked if the Brazilian could feature against Ajax.

“All the players have the opportunity to play,” he said. “They have all played. Every game is a new opportunity.”

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