Valdano dismissed as Real Madrid director general

Valdano dismissed as Real Madrid director general

Published May. 25, 2011 11:12 p.m. ET

Real Madrid dismissed Jorge Valdano as director general on Wednesday after a season full of run-ins with coach Jose Mourinho.

Valdano had two years to run on his current deal after taking the role following Florentino Perez's return to the club presidency ahead of the 2009-10 season. Valdano held the same post during Perez's previous tenure from 2000-06.

Perez said he wants to restructure the club to resemble an English one and that Mourinho will head the sporting side now.

Valdano, a former player and coach at the club, saw the importance of his role diminished throughout the season after trading barbs with Mourinho.


''I didn't turn Madrid into a battlefield,'' Valdano said from the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, ''(but) it's clear who won the fight.''

Valdano had been critical of Mourinho's style of football before he joined the club and a number of comments made in the media riled the Portuguese coach, with Valdano eventually traveling separately from the squad.

Valdano said he and Mourinho remained professional even though they didn't speak to each other for a long time as the tensions simmered. He said he had requested a meeting with both Mourinho and Perez to discuss the situation, but that never happened.

''Publicly I told him to name a place and time I'd be there and the consequence of this was that my responsibilities with the first team were reduced. I didn't feel comfortable with the new situation,'' Valdano said. ''(But) I'm not here to be a judge of values because I don't know Mou's intentions. I just wanted to reduce all the rumblings around Madrid.''

Mourinho ''never made (Valdano's dismissal) a condition'' of staying with the club, Perez said. ''He demanded an autonomy on the sporting side like that which works with English clubs. I think for the sake of the institution that this is a reorganization that has to be done.

''We signed the best coach in the world, so we want to be sure that even when he leaves one day and we sign another of the world's best, the structure is there,'' Perez said. ''The experience of this just completed season demonstrated a need for more autonomy, including within the coaching unit.''

The Portuguese coach has criticized the club's structure throughout his first season since joining from Inter Milan, and has often hinted he could leave before the end of his contract, which has another three years to run.

Mourinho guided Madrid to its first Copa del Rey trophy in 18 years in his first season, but the club lost in the Champions League semifinals to archrival Barcelona, which also beat it to a third straight league title.

''I always said we needed a strong leader, that that's what the team needed,'' Valdano said. ''I've seen him work, he's a good coach and it seems just that he continues.''

Valdano, who played on Argentina's 1986 World Cup winning team, coached Madrid to one league title in 1995 and played for several seasons at the club.

But Perez said that no other post could be found for the Argentine since he was contracted for that specific role.