Sacked Mourinho heading back to Madrid?

Jose Mourinho, who was sacked by Manchester United on Tuesday (Dec 18), was with Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013.
Jose Mourinho, who was sacked by Manchester United on Tuesday (Dec 18), was with Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID • It may be only five days since Jose Mourinho's sacking by Manchester United, but the Portuguese could be back in management sooner rather than later.

Spanish daily El Pais has reported that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is considering a reunion with his former coach.

With the Spanish giants still reeling from Zinedine Zidane's departure, having sacked his replacement Julen Lopetegui in October and then appointing the inexperienced Santiago Solari, some Spanish media reports have said Perez could be tempted to bring Mourinho back.

The Portuguese, who was sacked by United on Tuesday, was with Real between 2010 and 2013, winning the LaLiga title with a record 100 points, scoring 121 goals, as well as lifting the Copa del Rey.

It was also reported that an "internal survey" has shown that the team believe Mourinho can steer Real back in the right direction following their tumble this season.

Although Solari has led Real to 10 wins in 12 games since succeeding Lopetegui, the team have faced plenty of criticism for some insipid recent performances. They have fallen five points behind leaders and bitter rivals Barcelona in the LaLiga title race.

While Spanish sports newspaper Marca dismissed the speculation about a Mourinho return, reporting that Real's club directors are not thinking about hiring him "in the short term or in the long term", that did not stop their colleagues in the media from grilling Real captain Sergio Ramos on Friday.

The Spaniard was forced to bat away questions about a Mourinho return at a press conference ahead of yesterday's Club World Cup final against United Arab Emirates side Al Ain.

"Mourinho left us five years ago yet everyone keeps talking about him. People need to show more respect to the coach we have now," the exasperated Ramos said.

"I'm not the person who decides which coach comes here or doesn't, some people seem to think that the captains decide which coach Real Madrid appoints."

Another of Mourinho's former clubs Inter Milan are also said to be eyeing his signature after Luciano Spalletti's failure to take them to the Champions League knockout stages this term, while British tabloid The Sun said that the 55-year-old could be set for a shock move to Wolverhampton.

Meanwhile, United forward Alexis Sanchez has denied rumours that he made a bet with teammate Marcos Rojo about Mourinho's sacking, reported the BBC.

It was said that Sanchez told Rojo to pay him £20,000 (S$34,731) after the axing materialised, a story which he called "false".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 23, 2018, with the headline 'Sacked Mourinho heading back to Madrid?'. Print Edition | Subscribe