Jose Mourinho appears to have taken a swipe at Zinedine Zidane’s previous achievements at Real Madrid, saying his Champions League-winning team was built by other managers.
The Frenchman won the tournament in three consecutive seasons after replacing Rafa Benitez in January 2016, with most of that hugely successful squad having played under Carlo Ancelotti and Mourinho before that.
Of the 11 players who started the last of Zidane’s Champions League final wins, none were signed by him, and Mourinho believes the 46-year-old faces a huge test in buying and building a new squad capable of competing again.
Asked about the challenges facing Zidane this time around, Mourinho told Russia Today: Another point that will be quite curious is now he has to build a team. He got a team that was basically playing together for years, with a base that was there for years, coached by one, two, three experienced managers.
And then he had his touch, his know-how, he had his fantastic feeling, and he got amazing results. I think this time it’s a different challenge for him.’
Mourinho knows how Zidane feels right now, having himself returned to Chelsea for a second spell, and says there will be huge expectations on the Frenchman.
He continued: ‘I did it at Chelsea. By one side, you know the club instead of going to a club and spending time learning about the club you got to a club you already know, you meet many of the players that you already know.
So by that perspective it’s easier. But you cannot forget what you did before and the people don’t forget what you did before. And the people see things that you can do that you did before. So when I went to Chelsea, I went with that responsibility of, I have to win the Premier League again.
I think in this case, Zidane going back to Real Madrid, of course one of the reasons why people go back to clubs is because clubs they know what you can deliver, and they expect you are going to do the same. So I think people will not forget the work he did there and they will want more. So I think that’s the little bit of pressure.