José Mourinho’s task is to ensure Real Madrid can count to 10

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When Real Madrid won their ninth European title courtesy of the most breathtaking swish of Zinedine Zidane’s left foot just over a decade ago, nobody would have imagined that it would take so long to reach double figures. At the time the original galáctico project was in full swing, with Zidane, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos illuminating the scene, and each summer the world would wait to see which shimmering superstar Real would pounce for next. And as for their friends from Catalonia, the scoreline in terms of European Cups at that point was Real Madrid 9 Barcelona 1. In 2002 there was no reason to predict that the most decorated club in Europe would fall away over the next few years.

It seems strange to recall that Real Madrid endured a prolonged period of soul searching in this competition between 2005 and 2010 (a phase worsened by Barcelona starting their current collection of trophies). For five years in a row they were bamboozled at the last 16 stage. Some of those exits were deeply embarrassing as they capitulated against Arsenal, Roma and Lyon when they were clear favourites.

Enter José Mourinho. Fresh from a brilliantly devised Champions League triumph with Internazionale delivered, of all places, at the Bernabéu. It was in that press room after the celebrations, still wearing his Inter tie and blazer, that he announced: “I want to become the only coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs.” Every fan and his dog knew which club was supposed to provide him with his hat-trick.

Continue reading how José Mourinho’s task is to ensure Real Madrid can count to 10 by Amy Lawrence.

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