Jose Mourinho is on his way back to Real Madrid and sparks will fly

Updated: 24/03/2023


In brief

  • Mourinho expected to be named new manager next week
  • Former Manchester United boss to be paid £17m per year
  • La Liga giants still reeling from Zidane and Ronaldo exits
  • Relationship with Ramos is first item on Mourinho's agenda

As former president of Real Madrid, and someone who has a good understanding of what goes on at the club, my understanding is that a ‘tsunami’ of bad news over the past week will be followed by the appointment of Jose Mourinho, possibly as early as Monday.

The Portuguese will return because something needs to be done, and the president [Florentino Perez] believes Mourinho is the best man he can get at this time – one of the worst periods in the club’s history.

Read more: ‘End of an era’: Spanish media reaction as Ajax dump Real Madrid out of Champions League

When I took over as president in 2006, we had not won La Liga for three years, which was considered disastrous, and fortunately we won it that season. But this past week, going out of three competitions in six days, losing to Barcelona twice and Ajax, scoring only one goal and conceding eight, has been more than the fans could bear.

£17m contract

I understand Mourinho will sign a deal for the remainder of this season and for another three years, with a net salary of £17m per year. For the president, Mourinho will be the perfect shield against the unhappiness of the media, the fans and the players.

Read more: From Champions League three-peat to abysmal mess – how did it all go so wrong at Real Madrid?

But it will not be easy, and I predict it will be very difficult over the next three months. It is hard for the fans to remain calm. This club has an obligation to win things, and all they have to hope for is qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

The fans are very angry, and I expect to see the stadium half-empty and much waving of white handkerchiefs ahead!

Ramos is a problem for Jose

There may also be problems between Mourinho and Sergio Ramos. He was one of the three senior players who fell out with Mourinho during his first period in charge, and the other two, Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas, have since left. So it remains to be seem what Ramos will do. The fans love him, he is one of the most important players and he wants to see out the rest of his career at Real Madrid.

Read more: Why is Gareth Bale so unloved at Real Madrid?

It is more likely that Gareth Bale will be sold this summer. The Welshman is one of the few players who could bring a big transfer fee to the club, who need to replace six or seven players but have a limited transfer budget because of the £500m cost of upgrading the stadium, which seems unnecessary.

Bale has not lived up to expectations, having been signed for a world-record fee. He has a long history of back and ankle injuries, has not learned Spanish, is not happy here and I understand both parties [the club and his agent] want to find a way out. The problem will be his salary, which is more than English clubs would expect to pay. The biggest disappointment with Bale is that it is felt he did not step up as a leader when Cristiano left, but then replacing him was always going to prove impossible.

Paying the price for Zidane and Ronaldo’s exits

Cristiano’s move to Juventus last summer was another failure by the club. He knew they were in talks to sign Neymar on a huge salary, and wanted a raise himself, which is understandable when you consider what he has done for Real Madrid, and his ability to score 40 or 50 goal per season. He really wanted to stay but the president disagreed and Juventus came in with £86m.

Read more: Manchester United favourites to sign Gareth Bale

It was very difficult for the fans to accept, and now we are paying the price. Zinedine Zidane tried to warn the president about it, and other issues which led to him deciding to step down last May. Perez would like him back now, because he is the coach he really trusts, but Zidane thinks the problems are the same. I understand he is considering offers from two of Europe’s biggest clubs to take over next season.

His replacement, Julen Lopetegui, did not last long after leaving Spain shortly before the World Cup. I know him well, because I brought him to the club as a scout and made him coach of our B team. Neither he nor the Spanish FA wanted his appointment announced before the World Cup, but the president pushed to make it public for his own reasons.

Lopetegui was upset – he is a decent man. And he found similar problems to Zidane, made worse by the failure to replace Ronaldo. So the fans did not expect a successful season, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be this bad. Now they have to make sure they remain in the Champions League places. Failure to qualify for next season’s competition will be simply horrible.

This post first appeared here

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