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14 Mar, 2019 21:20

‘Now he has to build a team, it’s a different challenge’ – Mourinho on Zidane’s Real Madrid return

‘Now he has to build a team, it’s a different challenge’ – Mourinho on Zidane’s Real Madrid return

Zinedine Zidane will face an altogether different challenge in his second stint as Real Madrid manager, according to Jose Mourinho, a man many had tipped for the role before the Frenchman was appointed this week.

Former Real boss Mourinho, 56, was regarded as among the favorites to replace Santiago Solari at the Bernabeu amid a crisis at the Spanish giants.

But in the end president Florentino Perez opted to bring back Zidane, who sensationally quit the club just 10 months ago, having guided them to three successive Champions League titles.

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Speaking on his RT show, ‘On the Touchline with Jose Mourinho’, the Portuguese manager said returning to a former club – as he did at Chelsea in 2013 – brought advantages but also added responsibility.    

“I did it (returned) at Chelsea. By one side you know the club, instead of spending time learning a club, you go to a club that you already know, you meet many of the players you already know. By that perspective it’s easier,” said the Portuguese.   

“But you can't forget what you did before, the people don’t forget what you did before, the people think you can do what you did before.

“So when I went to Chelsea, I went with that responsibility of, ‘I have to win the Premier League again’. 

“In this case, Zidane going back to Real Madrid, of course one of the reasons why people go back to clubs is because the clubs know what you can deliver, and they expect you are going to do the same…

“So people will want more, so that’s the little bit of pressure.”

Mourinho departed the Bernabeu in 2013, having guided the team to the La Liga title the year before.

He was succeeded by Carlo Ancelotti and then Rafa Benitez, before Zidane took the helm in 2016 for what heralded a golden period in terms of European glory, even by Madrid’s storied standards.

But Mourinho says the situation with the team and club is now very different from what Zidane inherited three years ago.

Cristiano Ronaldo has moved on to Italian pastures new, while Real’s galaxy of stars including Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos have faded badly.   

Zidane is widely seen as having a rebuilding job on his hands, and he has reportedly already made a move on the transfer market, with Porto centre-back Eder Militao said to be his first signing.

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In addition, he is rumored to have been promised funds for at least three big-name signings this summer, with the names of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, PSG’s Kylian Mbappe, and Tottenham’s Harry Kane all being floated as potential targets.

Mourinho said it would be “curious” to see how Zidane sets about the Bernabeu rebuilding task.   

“(Before) he got a team that was playing together for years, with the base that was there for years, coached by one, two, three experienced managers.

“And then he had his touch, his know-how, he had his fantastic feeling, and he got amazing results

“This time it’s a different challenge for him, that he never had before,” Mourinho added.