Mourinho targets European 'Grand Slam'
Manuel Pellegrini has not yet been sacked as coach of Real Madrid but successor in waiting Jose Mourinho is already talking about completing a "Grand Slam" of European league titles as manager of the Spanish side next season.
Mourinho won the Champions League with Inter Milan on Saturday and claimed it would be his final game in charge of the Italian side as he was set to hold talks with Real president Florentino Perez on Monday.
And Mourinho is due to meet Inter president Massimo Moratti in the next 24 hours to make clear his intention to join Los Blancos, according to his spokesman Eladio Parames.
"They [Mourinho and Moratti] will meet in Milan," Parames said. "If not in the next few hours, then tomorrow."
Although he has not yet officially quit San Siro, in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, billed as Mourinho's first as the new coach of Real Madrid, the Portuguese stated his intention of becoming the first man to win league titles in England, Italy and Spain.
Mourinho, who has already won the Premier League with Chelsea and Serie A with Inter, said: "No player or coach has won the three important leagues and I want to be the first to do it. Ancelotti, Capello, Van Nistelrooy, Beckham and others have won two, but not three. I would like to be the first to win the Grand Slam of the Spanish, Italian and English leagues."
Mourinho is also confident he can help Madrid fulfil their own burning ambition, which is to win a record 10th European Cup.
Madrid had placed great stock in going all the way in this season's Champions League and winning the trophy on home soil, but for the sixth campaign running they were knocked out at the last-16 stage. When asked if he felt he was able to make Madrid champions of Europe, Mourinho, who on Saturday became only the third coach to conquer Europe with two different clubs, said: "Yes, of course.
"At Chelsea I felt I was capable of winning the European Cup. I won a couple of leagues and several cups, but not the European Cup. At Inter I felt capable of winning the Scudetto and cups and we also won the Champions League. You can never say what you are going to do."
Mourinho preferred not to talk about what he felt was missing from the Madrid's squad or prospective signings, saying only when asked about reported summer targets Daniele De Rossi (Roma) and Maicon (Inter): "I like all the good players, but now is not the moment to bring up the business of future signings."
However, Mourinho did comment on two of Madrid's big summer signings from last year, Kaka and Karim Benzema. Brazil star Kaka, 28, was brought in from AC Milan for a fee of £56 million while 22-year-old Frenchman Benzema cost around £30 million when he moved from Lyon, however neither player set the world alight in their first campaign in La Liga. Mourinho is confident both will come good, though.
"They are two top players," he said. "But to analyse this situation properly you need to be inside and I'm not. It's difficult to analyse from outside, I've not seen enough games of Real Madrid to make an opinion.
"In the case of these two players, I don't think one not-so-great season is a drama. It's not an impossible situation to change. I don't think for them it will be a problem returning to the top."
Regarding the plans of Florentino Perez, who returned to the Madrid presidency last summer promising a "spectacular project" to get the Spanish giants back to the top of the tree in Spain and Europe, Mourinho seems impressed. However, he pointed out that it is the coach and the players who are the only ones who can win silverware.
"It's an ambitious project. As president he has put in place the necessary means in the sporting structure; he has a fantastic training ground, has invested money to build a team and has given confidence to the professionals until the end.
"(But) the president isn't the one who wins, he isn't the one who plays, nor who decides what happens on the bench. From there the responsibility is with the professionals: the coach, the technical staff, and the players."