Real Madrid could pounce for Jose Mourinho if he leaves Chelsea, claims former Bernabeu president Ramon Calderon, who also revealed that Rafael Benitez was only hired after three other candidates turned the job down.
Calderon claims Benitez only became Madrid head coach after Mourinho, Joachim Low and Jurgen Klopp had snubbed the chance to succeed Carlo Ancelotti.
But Mourinho – who steered Madrid to La Liga title glory in 2011-12 and is facing increasing scrutiny at Chelsea - remains a firm favourite of current president Florentino Perez, according to Calderon.
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in 2007 only to return and Calderon can see a similar scenario happening at Madrid.
He told beiN SPORTS: "You know in football the results are very important.
"Chelsea is in a situation that is not usual for them and I don't know what [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich will be thinking about that. This situation was lived by both of them a few years ago and he decided to sack him.
"If he is not any more in Chelsea, I think Perez will be really willing to bring him back to Real Madrid."
Asked to elaborate, he continued: "Because he [Perez] was trying to do that this season, he couldn't because Mourinho didn't like to come. He said he didn't like for various reasons.
"And then Perez went to sign Low, the German that is coaching the national team. Then Klopp and finally Benitez.
"The truth is that Benitez was the fourth option for Real Madrid and I think Perez is still trying to bring him [Mourinho] back here, he really likes him.
"If he [Mourinho] is not any more in Chelsea and Benitez is not doing well at the end of the season here, I don't rule out that he's going to be back here. The president is really looking for that.
"His [Mourinho's] behaviour wasn't the right one [during his first spell at Madrid], but Perez always backed him."
Mourinho's Chelsea, who face Klopp's Liverpool on Saturday, are 15th in the Premier League after 10 games and crashed out of the League Cup at Stoke City on Tuesday.
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