Jose Mourinho is not concerned about the seemingly unlimited funds available to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Zenit St Petersburg, and is confident that the history and success of Real Madrid will continue to lure players to the Santiago Bernabeu for years to come.
Zenit splashed out a reported €80 million on Axel Witsel and Hulk from Benfica and Porto respectively on Monday, while PSG spent over €100m on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura over the course of the summer.
But Mourinho feels that the history of Europe’s elite clubs will prove most attractive when players come to weigh up their options, and is also encouraged by the impending introduction of European financial fair play regulations (FFP).
“Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich. These clubs are unique. The titles, European Cups, the history, the story, the fans … these things cannot be bought. The best players want to be with these teams,” he told AS.
“These three I mentioned and a few others that have their cabinets full of almost hundreds of trophies. It still plays a role in players’ decisions.
“Platini says he will apply this [FFP] to the letter. They will impose restrictions and it will be difficult for clubs that are not well structured, even if they do have a stack of cash.
“Real Madrid have the potential and the history to keep the best players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuaín… in short, all of our squad.
“But the clubs that are living exclusively on investment from their owners will not have it so easy, because they will encounter difficulties due to their lack of structure as well as their lack of history. So the financial fair play rule will be a good thing for football.”
The Portuguese trainer was also asked whether he felt Los Blancos would be able to compete for the best transfer targets, taking into consideration the amount of money ploughed into clubs by foreign investors.
“I do not know. Right now the market is changing a lot,” he continued.
“What happened with Hulk and Witsel, two of the best players in the Portuguese league, will be repeated within the next few years. But to get a big star to leave a historic, title-winning club will not be as easy. It’s a new reality to which we have to adapt.”
Having been drawn in a Champions League group with Manchester City, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, Mourinho took time to run the rule over the opponents he sees as a threat to his side’s chances of making the knockout rounds.
“Three out of the four of us in the group are champions of the top three of leagues in Europe,” he continued.
“Dortmund are the German champions, they are a finely tuned team full of internationals, lots Germans and the two best Polish players. They are gaining Champions League experience, have an impressive stadium and fans that support them all the way. With Ajax, you never know. They could cause an upset.
“Manchester City are a strong team because of their money, their players, their world-class players. City are a team brought together to win the Champions League, brought together with that intention. The investment that they are making year after year has the aim of lifting the European Cup. It’s going to be tough.”
However, Mourinho is confident that his side can navigate their tricky group.
“It’s not going to be easy. But knowing my team, my players, also I have to be honest and say that intense matches are matches that I find, rather, we find, easier to prepare for than others. I am reassured in the knowledge that Real Madrid have developed a hugely competitive spirit.”
Madrid kick off their Champions League campaign at home to Manchester City on Tuesday, September 18.