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Pérez and Pellegrini: Perfect Strangers

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 âÂÂKarim Benzemaâ under the heading âÂÂsubstitutesâÂÂ.

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. âÂÂI donâÂÂt know him, either as an individual or as a president,â confessed the unemployed coach.

WhatâÂÂs more, it seems Pellegrini was free to go about his managerial business fairly unmolested during his year at the Santiago Bernabeu. âÂÂI played who I felt I had to play and wasnâÂÂt under pressure to pick who [the board] wanted.âÂÂ

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

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

âÂÂMadrid bets on stability, but stability comes from winning titles and being leaders in the world,â claimed Pérez in announcing the firing of Pellegrini, the seventh coach under the club presidentâÂÂs 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 midfielderâÂÂs reported U-turn over his decision to leave the club: âÂÂFor me Guti has gone. I read what he has been saying and thatâÂÂs 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 MadridâÂÂs 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, thatâÂÂs 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 MourinhoâÂÂs 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 clubâÂÂs upcoming elections. But more on that another day.

One of la LigaâÂÂs 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 wouldnâÂÂt cost very much at all.

However, a mere couple of minutes before the announcement of the managerâÂÂs renewal was made on Tuesday night, Del Nido had claimed that Alvarez was âÂÂone of 1,328 candidates that we have, many of whom donâÂÂt have a club⦠we have a lot of holidays ahead of us. We will make the decision calmly. We're not in a hurry.âÂÂ

âÂÂIf IâÂÂve been chosen from 1,328 candidates then my worth has gone up,â 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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