MADRID - Real Madrid's move for Jose Mourinho shows they are prepared to put on hold their attempt to reclaim the 'entertainers' crown in order to win silverware whatever the cost.
When Florentino Perez returned to the club presidency last June he promised to bring the 'spectacle' back to the Bernabeu, signing some of the highest-profile players in the game, and talked of a long-term project.
One year on and the failure to win a single trophy, despite a 250 million euro investment in players, triggered the sacking of Manuel Pellegrini on Wednesday and a radical change in direction.
"We aren't talking about the failure of Pellegrini, we are talking about the failure of a project and we are all implicated," Perez's right-hand man Jorge Valdano told radio station Onda Cero on Thursday.
"At the moment, he (Mourinho) is the coach who best meets our requirements. He has proven he is extraordinarily adaptable. He played one way with Porto, another with Chelsea, and different again in Italy.
"He's intelligent and I'm sure he's going to understand which country he's coming to, which city and which club."
Valdano, who has always promoted attractive attacking football, was clearly handing a warning to Mourinho of what is expected by Real's demanding fans, many of whom are wary of a coach with a reputation for defensive tactics.
Spanish daily ABC wrote on Thursday: "Since 2000 Florentino Perez has opted for beautiful football signing Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, and now he admits the principle objective is to win. It doesn't matter how.
"For seven years (2000-6, 2009-10) he based his teams around high-class footballers. Now he's trying out a coach who triumphs through tactical discipline rather than quality."
When Perez walked out on Real in 2006 his replacement Ramon Calderon brought in Fabio Capello as coach and he immediately delivered the league title in 2007, the club's first major trophy in four years.
The Italian was never popular with the fans for his style of football but was effective and for the second time at Real only lasted one season to be sacked after winning La Liga.
Spanish daily El Mundo suggested Mourinho had also been brought in as a drastic short-term solution to win the Champions League and see off Barcelona, the current holders of the 'entertainers' tag.
"It's like they have signed an assassination contract and the victim is Barcelona," said the paper.
"Mou is like Quentin Tarantino's Mr Wolf (Pulp Fiction), he arrives, executes, and leaves. If all goes well he'll do so with Barca in the boot of the car. Nothing more is expected.
"As (former Spain coach) Javier Clemente said. Those who want to enjoy themselves should go to the circus."comments