DUBAI: Jose Mourinho has insisted that he is staying at Real Madrid with the ultimate ambition of seeing them crowned the first club to win 10 European champions’ crowns – and also, on a personal level, become the first coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The ‘Special One’ was speaking while attending a Spanish-flavoured football conference in Dubai which was attended also by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, Atletico de Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning captain Diego Maradona and Russia coach Fabio Capello.
Speculation about Mourinho’s future in Madrid and the state of his relationship with president Florentino Perez was reignited by the club’s 3-2 defeat at Malaga in their last league game of 2012.
But Mourinho insisted: “I am staying in Madrid and I want to win my third Champions League. Certainly last week’s defeat in Malaga made me think long and hard about my situation at Madrid. I spent Christmas at home with my family in Portugal and then I came out to Dubai where I met many old friends such as Maradona and Capello. And we came to one conclusion: football changes every second or every minute of every day. Only one thing does not change: every team needs a coach.”
Asked again if he were on his way out of Madrid, Mourinho said: “Sir Alex Ferguson once said: ‘I am too old to retire.’ In my case, I am too young to quit. My objective is to win the Champions League with three different teams: Real Madrid after Porto and Inter. No-one’s ever done it. And for Real Madrid it would also be La Décima, the 10th in the history of the club, the only club with double-digit record status.”
Second round risk
First Madrid must see off old friends and rivals Manchester United in the second round. Mourinho said his preparation included a shopping trip.
He said: “I already know I must spend at least 400 or 500 euro to give Sir Alex a bottle of the very finest wine because he is a connoisseur and would appreciate it. The two matches will be very passionate. Both of us know we can go through but we also know we can both lose and be eliminated from a competition which means so much to both of us. It’ll be fantastic. Pressure? Please: any trainer and any player wants to be involved in games like these.”
Elsewhere during his conference visit, Mourinho was pressed about Real Madrid’s comparatively poor first half of the season in defence of their already-lost Spanish league title.
He accused the media of dealing sometimes in lies to sell papers and attract viewers and listeners.
Asked about the fuss over his decision to drop Iker Casillas for the first time in 10 years, Mourinho said: “I don’t consider Casillas a monument. Real Madrid, yes. So whoever is coach of Madrid must do his best for the good of the team. It’s very simple. I don’t see any reason to create a fuss.
“A trainer has good times and bad times. It’s not easy to manager a squad of 20 to 25 players of different nationalities. Football has to be the most important thing in their lives and they have to understand this. For me the main objective is to motivate my players each and every day.”
But Mourinho insisted that the importance of a coach or manager was limited.
Asked what he discussed, during the conference with Maradona, he said: “I told him very sincerely that in football it’s the footballers who really matter, especially champions like him, like Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. Diego is what football is all about . . . not me.”
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