Real Madrid will sign Jose Mourinho as its new coach as soon he negotiates an end to his contract with Inter Milan, Madrid president Florentino Perez said Wednesday.
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Perez said the club had sacked Mourinho's predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini.
Neither Mourinho nor Pellegrini was present at a news conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium when Perez made the announcement.
"We consider that we are at the right moment to give the club new impetus and to go for one of the best coaches in the world, and we now have the opportunity to do so," Perez said.
Perez added that changing coaches was always a difficult decision, but Madrid's board had been unanimous in choosing Mourinho over Pellegrini, whom he thanked for his efforts, describing his work at the club as "impeccable."
"Everyone at the club is very enthusiastic to be able to count on one of the best coaches in the world, we think he is going to contribute a lot to our very important squad," Perez said.
Mourinho's move to Madrid was announced days after he led Inter to the Champions League title in the Spanish capital on May 22, beating Bayern Munich in the final. His team also won the Italian league and cup double in the same season.
"Mourinho is what Real Madrid needs, he's going to win titles and Madrid lives off titles," said fan Cristobal Lamela outside the Bernabeu after hearing of the appointment.
Having enjoyed a successful spell coaching in England, Mourinho long ago announced his ambition to work in Spain and thus win trophies in another of Europe's major football leagues.
Speculation had hung over Pellegrini's future for much of last season and Portuguese-born Mourinho's name was frequently mentioned by local media as a likely replacement for the Chilean coach.
"I don't like Mourinho, I prefer Pellegrini because he is more thoughtful and more sincere, he's not so arrogant and then there's the style of play – Mourinho plays with 10 defenders," said fan Jesus Gomez outside the Bernabeu.
As the season drew to a close, Mourinho, who won the Italian league title in 2008-09, his first season with Inter, made his dislike of Italian football increasingly clear.
He told Sky Sports in March: "I am very happy at Inter; I am not happy with Italian football. Why? Because I don't like it and it doesn't like me."
Madrid appeared the logical destination for the Portuguese as he admitted he wanted to coach the club "one day."
Leading Inter to a Champions League semifinal victory against Madrid's archrival Barcelona before landing the trophy itself in the the Bernabeu stadium was the perfect way for Mourinho to persuade the club's management and fans that he was the right man for the job.
Madrid had been knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 of the competition for the last six years and was desperate to be crowned European champion for a 10th time.
Mourinho, 47, was an unsuccessful player whose big break in coaching came when he was hired as an interpreter for English coach Bobby Robson at Lisbon side Sporting.
Robson took Mourinho with him to Porto and the his influence increased as he took on coaching responsibilities. The duo moved to Barcelona for the 1996-97 season and Mourinho remained at the club under Louis van Gaal following the Englishman's departure.
Back in Portugal, Mourinho failed to win titles during stints as a senior coach at Uniao Leiria and Benfica. That changed with his first full season at Benfica's rival Porto, where he won the league, Portuguese Cup and UEFA Cup in 2003.
The following season he led modest Porto to the league and Champions League titles, winning the final 3-0 against Monaco.
Billionaire Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, immediately hired the Setubal-born coach, who on arriving in London described himself as "a special one." The phrase stuck and he was subsequently nicknamed "The Special One" by the British press.
Abramovich's faith was repaid when Chelsea won the league for the first time in 50 years in 2005. Mourinho retained the title the following year and by the time he left the club early in the 2007-08 season after friction with the Russian owner, he had won all of English football's major domestic honors.
The only glaring gap in his resume was a failure to repeat the European success he had orchestrated at Porto, despite having a much more expensive and star-studded squad.
However, at Inter he has proved that early triumph was no fluke. Real Madrid is now betting on its new coach winning not only the league title in a fourth country, but also the third Champions League trophy of his career.