Mourinho set to leave Inter for Madrid
Jose Mourinho has just about made up his mind to join Real Madrid, but before he signs a contract he has a few things he wants to clear up with Madrid president Florentino Perez in talks on Monday.
MADRID (AP) — Jose Mourinho has just about made up his mind to join Real Madrid, but before he signs a contract he has a few things he wants to clear up with Madrid president Florentino Perez in talks on Monday.
Mourinho addressed his likely move moments after guiding Inter Milan to the Champions League title Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium — his likely future home. He said he planned talks with Perez.
"I don't what their plans are yet. I have to know that before I can say I'm the Real Madrid coach," Mourinho said in the post-match news conference. "Right now I'm the Inter coach. If I go, it will be because Real is an enormous club that wants the same things I want — just like what Inter wanted."
Madrid spent more than €250 million ($312 million) on high-priced superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka before this season, but was eliminated by Lyon in the first knockout round of the Champions League.
"Real Madrid seems like a club that wants to win big titles," Mourinho said. "But winning big titles isn't just about the jersey you wear and it's not just about money — it's about personality and working together."
Mourinho also guided FC Porto to the Champions League title in 2004, and he joins Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld as the only coaches to win the competition with two different clubs.
"I want to become the only coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs," Mourinho said. "I like tough challenges in my career."
While Madrid holds the record with nine European Cups, it hasn't won the continent's biggest prize since 2002 — and is hungrier than ever to regain its status after rival Barcelona won the European titles last season, as well as the Spanish league in the past two seasons.
"When I arrived at Porto they hadn't won anything in a long time. When I moved to Chelsea they hadn't won the Premier League in 50 years. And Inter hadn't won in 45 years," Mourinho said. "Challenges like these are what motivates me."
Mourinho has one more season remaining on his contract with Inter, but he has openly acknowledged his dislike of the Italian game, and alluded to the multiple match bans he's been subjected to over the past two years.
During one multi-game ban a few months ago, Inter nearly lost control of Serie A.
"I didn't like to see so many games from the tribune," Mourinho said. "I like to be on the bench. For nearly two months I watched nearly all the games from the tribune. I watched my team drop 10 points and we ended up second briefly."
Inter president Massimo Moratti said it will be sad to see Mourinho leave, although he pointed out that the club can't be too greedy after winning its first European Cup in 45 years.
"You can't ask for too much now. We've won the cup and now let's see what happens," Moratti said. "Mourinho is unforgettable and he likes to travel the world to show that he wins. ... I'll remain indebted to him because he made us win so much and he gave us the confidence to win at the international level."
Inter's 36-year-old captain Javier Zanetti was already looking beyond Mourinho.
"Unfortunately it's true — the coach is leaving us. This victory is his," Zanetti said. "Whoever is hired to coach this team will find a great group, capable of fighting on all fronts."
Still, Moratti left a glimmer of hope that Mourinho might stay.
"I don't think he has had more than a brief chat with anyone else, so I think there's still a small chance," Moratti said.