Mourinho: Madrid fans will love Modric

Jose Mourinho is confident that Luka Modric will become an instant hit at Real Madrid following his summer arrival from Tottenham Hotspur.

The Croatia international signed a five-year deal with los Blancos in August to complete his move to the Liga champions, and his new head coach has little doubt that the gifted midfielder will become a fans’ favourite at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I am convinced that he fits right in and that the fans will love him. We signed Modric because he can help us win more trophies,” Mourinho stated to AS.

“He’s a very talented player and tactically strong. Additionally, he’s a real team-player who’s always looking to help his team-mates. He adds quality and a certain magic to the team. The people at the Bernabeu will appreciate him.”

The Portuguese coach then went on to discuss the situation of Kaka, and insisted that the attacking midfielder still has a role to play at Madrid.

“Lots of players have encountered the same problems Kaka is experiencing now. He was plagued by physical problems when he arrived here and that’s hindered him ever since.

“He has done many good things for Madrid, though, and I have already previously stated that it would not be a problem if he stayed here.

“He is working hard in training and he will get his chance again at some point. I’m convinced that he will do his utmost once called upon.”

Kaka appeared to be on his way back to AC Milan in the summer transfer window, but the move eventually fell through due to the Serie A side’s dire financial situation.

Messi is a magician while Cristiano Ronaldo is a general, says Blatter

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has taken the time to praise La Liga stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, referring to the duo as living legends.

The 76-year-old feels the two are quite different on the pitch, but has nothing but positive words for both the Barcelona star and the Real Madrid attacker.

“Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Both! They are different but both fantastic for football,” Blatter was quoted as saying by Marca.

“Cristiano wants to be the general on the pitch, lay down the law and scream here I stand. Messi, on the other hand, is like a conjurer, a magician. They are both living legends of football.”

The Fifa boss then went on to stress that outspoken coaches like Jose Mourinho, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola are good for the image of the game.

“Mourinho’s one of the giants in football. It’s good for the sport to have big names like Mourinho, Ferguson, Wenger, Guardiola.

“Each one has his own style and charisma. They don’t sit on the bench all sad and quiet.”

You cannot buy titles, European Cups, history, or fans – Real Madrid boss Mourinho unworried by big-spending rivals

Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid / Shinichiro Ema

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.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Ancelotti sees Barcelona & Real Madrid as Champions League favourites

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Carlo Ancelotti believes Barcelona and Real Madrid are the favourites to win this season’s Champions League, but also backed some of his fellow Italians to get the best out of their respective sides.

The Liga giants both reached the semi-final stage last time around and will be pushing to go at least one step further this year.

However, Ancelotti does suspect that Pep Guardiola’s absence at Camp Nou makes the Catalan club more vulnerable than in previous years.

“Two clubs stand out: Barcelona and Real Madrid,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Barcelona are strong even without Guardiola in charge, but they seem less aggressive and slightly less focused in defence now. They look more vulnerable than in previous seasons.”

And the ex-AC Milan boss believes Italian-coached clubs Zenit St Petersburg and Manchester City could also be ones to watch this season.

“Zenit, coached by [Luciano] Spalletti, and Manchester City, coached by [Roberto] Mancini could surprise people,” the former Serie A coach added.

“Even though City have been drawn in a tough group, with Real Madrid.”

Backed by his Parc des Princes owners, Ancelotti has embarked on quite the spending spree this summer, signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Lucas Moura among others.

“I thank them [the owners] for having done that,” the Italian continued. “I’ll do everything I can to get them to win trophies.

“Our objective is clear: winning the league in France, getting through the group stage of the Champions League and then, who knows?”