Tuesday night Jose Mourinho and Inter Milan accomplished what so many had tried and failed to do. The unstoppable machine that was Pep Guardiola's Barcelona squad ground to a halt in the San Siro, and it was Mourinho who engineered the breakdown.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid Invested over €250 million to do the very same thing, and even hired a licenced engineer to run things. 10 months on, Manuel Pelligrini's Madrid side has only one trophy left to play for. They were unceremoniously booted from the Cup and Champions League in the first knockout round of each. Most damningly of all, they suffered two losses to archrivals F.C. Barcelona.
That is not to say that Pelligrini's first season has been all bad. Real Madrid have more points (83) at this point in the season than any previous season, and are one point behind their rivals without the distraction of playing in Europe.
Winning the League might save him, but many reports say that the decision has already been made to hire Mourinho. The Real Madrid squad—and the money spent assembling it—have promised more than they have delivered.
This week Cristiano Ronaldo has twice joined in the speculation, proclaiming: "I know him very well. I like him a lot. I know his character and he is a winner. He has demonstrated that he is one of the best in the world."
Sources close to the club say that the 3-1 win over Barcelona has made up Florentino Perez's mind regarding the need to sign Mourinho. If these reports are to be believed, Perez will enter his eighth season as Madrid president with coach number eight under his wing.
It will cost only €6 million, as Mourinho has a unilateral opt-out clause in his contract with Inter Milan. Perez did not hesitate to pay the €4 million to buy out Pelligrini's contract with Villareal, and will surely not baulk at such a small sum.
Mourinho's statements on the subject reveal an ambitious man who would jump at the chance to coach this Madrid side.
He has long maintained that he wanted to be the first coach to win the domestic leagues in England, Italy and Spain. He has already accomplished the first two, and given his antagonistic relationship with Barcelona fans, Real Madrid are the best team to win the third with.
He has also been burning bridges in Italy. His observation that "I don't like Italian football and it doesn't like me" has understandably been read as notice to potential employers elsewhere.
More than anything else, Florentino Perez's time at Madrid has been marked by high profile signings. In the summer of 2010, the "Galactico " may be the coach.