Pérez and Pellegrini: Perfect Strangers

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One of the many theories being bandied about by Madridista Mulder types is that Florentino Pérez will be standing behind José Mourinho as he writes his team sheets next season, clearing his throat in a very aggressive manner indeed should he see the words “Karim Benzema” under the heading “substitutes”.

That theory was poo-pooed most forcefully by Manuel Pellegrini on Wednesday. In a farewell interview with radio station Cadena Ser, the chilled-out Chilean revealed that rather than having constant interference from the Madrid president, the pair had not actually had a conversation since August. “I don’t know him, either as an individual or as a president,” confessed the unemployed coach.

What’s more, it seems Pellegrini was free to go about his managerial business fairly unmolested during his year at the Santiago Bernabeu. “I played who I felt I had to play and wasn’t under pressure to pick who [the board] wanted.”

Of course, not having any kind of relationship with the boss and constantly choosing Gonzalo Higuaín over Benzema probably didn’t help Pellegrini’s case when the decision was made on Wednesday to dispense with his services halfway through the coach’s two-year contract with the club.

NEWS: Pellegrini – "Real undermine coaches and cut them out"

“Madrid bets on stability, but stability comes from winning titles and being leaders in the world,” claimed Pérez in announcing the firing of Pellegrini, the seventh coach under the club president’s two tenures.

Manager No.8 is expected to arrive in the Spanish capital towards the end of the week once a compensation deal has been agreed with Inter Milan. But with a bit of time to kill before making his move to Madrid, Mourinho spoke to AS in a rather swanky Milan café and whetted local appetites by confessing that he loves signing players who are 33 or 34 and is looking to pick up three or four defensive footballers over the summer.

Mourinho also gave Guti the very bad news that he is most unimpressed by the maverick midfielder’s reported U-turn over his decision to leave the club: “For me Guti has gone. I read what he has been saying and that’s what counts. He said goodbye to the fans, did a lap around the pitch..."

"Enjoy yourself: it's later than you think"

Over in the Catalan capital, Joan Laporta reacted to the news of Madrid’s latest movements by giving a graceful and most generous speech outlining Mourinho's managerial merits and detailing how he would be looking forward to the battles to come between the two great clubs in the years ahead.

Actually, that’s complete gubbins. Possessing the maturity of a eight-year-old, the King of Catalunya put his fingers to his nose, wiggled them around and claimed that one of Mourinho’s children was a Barcelona fan, as if that was somehow relevant.

The outgoing Barça president then proceeded to throw huge lumps of mud in the direction of the favourite in the club’s upcoming elections. But more on that another day.

One of la Liga’s other big beasts - and Atlético Madrid - have both announced that they will be sticking with their managerial guns next season by extending the contracts of their current coaches.

Sevilla have gone for the very cheap option by making Antonio Alvarez their full-time coach after a report from sporting director Monchi told José Maria del Nido that the man who took over from Manolo Jiménez in March wouldn’t cost very much at all.

However, a mere couple of minutes before the announcement of the manager’s renewal was made on Tuesday night, Del Nido had claimed that Alvarez was “one of 1,328 candidates that we have, many of whom don’t have a club… we have a lot of holidays ahead of us. We will make the decision calmly. We're not in a hurry.”

“If I’ve been chosen from 1,328 candidates then my worth has gone up,” joked Alvarez.

Atleti also confirmed that Quique Sánchez Flores will start the season at Vicente Calderón. Of course, as most readers know by now, finishing it there is a very different kettle of kittens, indeed. 

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