As the Spanish club Real Madrid confirmed that Jose Mourinho would leave them at the end of the season, president Florentino Perez was asked about the prospect of Carlo Ancelotti replacing him and Zinedine Zidane working alongside the Italian coach.
“Zidane is a player who is in the heart of all Madrid supporters,” said Perez who added he would not comment on Ancelotti out of respect for Paris Saint-Germain.
Zidane has gone on the record as saying no-one in Europe has played better this season than Bale and the Frenchman’s brief, if he accepts the role with Ancelotti, will be to woo the Premier League’s double Footballer of the Year.
Cristiano Ronaldo continues to show no signs of signing an extension to his contract which runs until 2015 and Real see Bale as Ronaldo’s successor. The club will only sell Ronaldo this summer if they find a club willing to pay more than the £80m they paid for him in 2009. But at the end of next season the Portugal international will be just six months away from being free to negotiate his own departure from the Bernabeu; his price will come down and Madrid are already laying the plans for a sale and spending the money on Bale.
Mourinho’s reign came to a dramatic end after a 30-minute meeting between the coach and the president. Perez had been under pressure to dismiss Mourinho but the prospect of paying out £10m compensation prevented him doing so and last night he confirmed neither the club nor the coach would be penalised for tearing up the contract signed last year that was to due to run to 2016. Mourinho will sit on the bench for the next two games against Real Sociedad and Osasuna before walking away from the club he joined in 2010.
Perez said: “No one has sacked anyone. It is a mutual parting. After three years we are both convinced that this is the right time to end the relationship.” Asked to assess Mourinho’s time at the club he said: “We have made a big jump in terms of competitiveness. Now we are back where we belong; before we were being knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage now we are always group seeds.”
He also touched on the stress that the Portuguese coach has come under. His wife was in the back of his car when he drove to training two weeks ago and supporters started shouting abuse through the window.
Perez said: “In England a match lasts the two hours before a game, the two hours of the game, and then the two hours afterwards. Here it is seven days a week and the pressure tells. People have families and children and there are things that are just not acceptable.”