Jose Mourinho holds a prestigious record, consisting of two Champions League titles, 1 UEFA Cup, 6 league titles, 5 domestic cup titles and 3 Super Cups – a record which has brought him the recognition of being one of the top active coaches in the world.
Just one week after winning the Champions League title with Inter at the Santiago Bernabeu, Mourinho jumped at the opportunity to become the manager of one of the biggest clubs in world football, Real Madrid.
The arrival of the Portuguese coach boosted expectations almost overnight, especially after two years of finishing second best to Barcelona, who have reached new heights of worldwide popularity, during their last two championships.
The ‘Special One’ is renowned for making many changes after arriving at a new team, and has benifitted from coaching teams who could afford such widespread adjustments – at Chelsea he spent about £70 million, while at Inter he spent around €45 million by the end of the summer transfer window.
Weeks before his arrival at the Bernabeu, transfer rumours began surrounding his signings, linking Real to almost every player in Inter’s starting line-up.
Real Madrid were a team that had begun their rebuilding process before Mourinho, with big signings such as Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo last season. Mourinho’s arrival came just in time to renew some hope of restored order to the second era of the Spanish galacticos.
The big signings did not wait long and began with the Sergio Canales and continued with Angel Di Maria , who was top of Mourinho’s wish-list.
Pedro Leon was another young star to join, and most recently Germany’s young talent Sami Khedira and Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho , who should both instill some steel into the Whites.
Catch all the Spanish League action live on NaijaBet.com starting from 29th of August, 2010.
Mourinho has already spent an estimated €50 million and there is still more to come, with Real’s squad a tad slim compared to recent years, and future deals that have not yet been decided:
Attackers: Real are definitely looking to sign another striker, currently heavily linked to Romelu Lukaku (who is wanted by almost every club). Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo (who is not a natural striker) are just not enough to take this team to forward this season.
For Comparison – Barcelona
currently have seven strikers at their disposal, including Lionel Messi, with five who will likely be rotated regularly.
Midfielders: Probably the most solid aspect in Real Madrid ‘s squad, having 12 options in this position. Mahamadou Diarra, Lassana Diarra and Royson Drenthe are being still heavily linked with several clubs and may not stay until the end of the transfer window.
In any case, Kaka (when back from injury), Xavi Alonso, Di Maria and Khedira are a great foursome to rely on, and Mesut Ozil is still continuously being linked with a move to Real.
For Comparison – Barcelona have nine players currently available at this position, with a strong foursome of Kieta, Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta, but somewhat weaker cover from the bench.
Defenders: Only seven players are natural backline players for Real – with Albiol, Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Ezequiel Garay (who is currently injured) and most recently Ricardo Carvalho . Real will surely want to sign at least one more defender in order to stabilize their defence for the long season, particularly in view of Mourinho’s defensive tactics.
For Comparison – Barcelona have 11 defenders at their disposal, at least seven of whom will be rotated regularly, having an all-round more established defence.
Goalkeeper: Besides holding the world’s top goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, who is coming back this season after an amazing World Cup, Real also have the experienced Jerzy Dudek and the talented Antonio Adan. While another signing wouldn’t hurt, it isn’t so necessary.
For Comparison: Barcelona have four goalkeepers, but in fairly equal strengths to those of Real.
On a different note, for some this season may mark the beginning of a new era for Real, who have lost two of their traditional stars – the legendary Raul has decided to join Schalke after being with Real since 1994, while another iconic figure, Guti, has left to Turkish side Besiktas.
Mourinho certainly has his work cut out, taking on maybe the biggest challenge of his career, where many before him have failed. But if anyone can make a change at Real it would be Mourinho, who has the right experience for the job, climbing up the ladder from FC Porto to Chelsea to Inter, so far turning nearly whatever he has touched to gold.