Former Manchester United, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Porto manager Jose Mourinho has spoken out about the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager, a post he was in the running for, saying ‘it’s perfect for me, perfect for Real Madrid and perfect for him’. The Portuguese gaffer insists he is happy despite losing race for Bernabeu hot seat… and claims Zinedine Zidane has golden opportunity to prove ‘how good he is’.
Despite being heavily linked to the job, Mourinho was pipped by Zidane, who only left Real Madrid in May 2018. However, there are apparently no hard feelings, with the Portuguese saying the situation is ‘perfect.’
‘I think it’s perfect with the fantastic things he’s done in recent years,’ he said to El Chiringuito according to Marca. ‘It’s perfect for me, perfect for Madrid, perfect for him.’
ZIDANE’S REAL MADRID RECORD
La Liga: 2017
Champions League: 2016, 2017, 2018
Supercopa de Espana: 2017
UEFA Super Cup: 2016, 2017
FIFA Club World Cup: 2016, 2017
Mourinho has put a challenge out to Zidane though, saying ‘it’s a great opportunity to show how good he is, especially now with a new project. I think he’s great.’ Zidane certainly has his work cut out for him more than he did in his previous tenure as Real Madrid manager. He will be looking to rebuild the team, which has suffered since his and Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in the summer.
Late February and early March were particularly tough for the club, and led to Santiago Solari’s sacking. They crashed out of the Copa del Rey thanks to a 4-1 aggregate defeat to Barcelona, before suffering another defeat in El Clasico just a few days later. Then they threw away a first leg lead to exit the Champions League at the hands of Ajax.
With Zidane at the helm, Real Madrid won the past three Champions League trophies, but this year went out at the round of 16 stage. Meanwhile, Real Madrid are third in La Liga, but Barcelona already seem to be out of sight at the top, with a 12 point lead over their rivals.
When Zidane rejected Real president Florentino Perez’s initial approaches for a return, Jose Mourinho became the front runner for the position. He has been without a job since December when he was sacked by Manchester United. A string of poor results left United in a bad position, something which has since been remedied by new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Mourinho has taken on punditry roles since then, but hasn’t kept the fact he wants to return to his managerial career soon a secret. However, the Real Madrid dressing room apparently rejected the idea of a Mourinho return from the start, led by captain Sergio Ramos. He fought with Mourinho while he was manager of the club from 2010-2013, and other big figures like Karim Benzema and Marcelo were also against the idea.
Perez eventually offered greater concessions and complete freedom to Zidane, and the 46-year-old, who still lives near Real Madrid’s training ground, ended up accepting the new offer. His contract runs for the rest of the current season plus an additional three years, and is thought to be wroth around £17million net per season which was proposed for Mourinho.
After signing Eder Militao just three days after his return, one of Zidane’s next big targets could be Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who has been under the watchful eye of Real Madrid for some time now. Meanwhile, Gareth Bale could be one of the first on the chopping block, as the two barely spoke during his last season as manager.