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By ESPN Staff

Sporting director Mijatovic to leave Real Madrid

The path has been cleared for presidential candidate Florentino Perez to reinstall his famous Galactico policy at Real Madrid after sporting director Predrag Mijatovic left the club today.

Mijatovic left by mutual agreement after three seasons in charge of the club's transfer policy, a role he took on under Perez's successor as president, Ramon Calderon.

Calderon quit the club in January, and now Perez is the favourite to take over once again this summer as his presidential bid gathers steam.

That was clearly on the mind of Mijatovic as he stepped down a year before his contract with the club was due to expire.

"With the end of the season in sight, the team mathematically qualified to finish second and the electoral process officially under way, I believe this move was the most appropriate in order not to interfere in any way with the important events that will take place at the club in the next few weeks,'' Mijatovic said in a statement.

"I will always be grateful to the current board of directors for the faith placed in me over the last three years.''

Mijatovic, a former Serbia & Montenegro international, retired from football in 2004 and after a brief spell as an agent linked up with Calderon for his presidential bid at the Bernabeu.

As sporting director, he and Calderon did not shy away from signing big-name players, but failed to deliver on the president's promise to bring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka to the Bernabeu.

Where Perez's Galactico policy was popular with the fans, Calderon and Mijatovic attracted criticism for spending around 300 million euros on signing players such as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gonzalo Higuain and Arjen Robben at the expense of the club's homegrown players.

The squad they assembled went on an incredible run this season to get back into a title race which looked well beyond them earlier in the season, but they could not do enough to catch Barcelona, with the title all but decided in a 6-2 home loss to their rivals after which Mijatovic was booed out of the stadium.

However, Madrid did enjoy success during the first two years of Calderon's presidency, winning back-to-back league titles only to sack the coaches - Fabio Capello and Bernd Schuster - who delivered them.

"I say goodbye with the feeling that I did my duty with positive results both professionally and personally,'' Mijatovic added.

"In these three years, the first team won two league titles and one Super Cup, but what makes me even more satisfied was the opportunity to take part in projects and hopes with such a fantastic group of people.''


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