Mourinho wants Real to play Chelsea in Champions League
MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Real Madrid’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho does not hide he still has much love for Chelsea, his former club. REUTERS PhotoReal Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was hoping for a dream Champions League final against his former club Chelsea yesterday after the Spanish giants cruised into the quarterfinals.
Nine-time winners Real beat CSKA Moscow 4-1 in the second leg of their last 16 tie for a 5-2 aggregate win with Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing two of the goals.
No sooner had the night’s business been settled, however, than Mourinho was already eyeing Chelsea, who won an extra-time thriller to defeat Napoli, as potential final opponents in May.
“People can’t understand how much I love Chelsea and I know if I get them in the quarterfinals or the semifinals, they would be great opponents,” said Mourinho, who has been widely-tipped to retake the reins at Stamford Bridge in the summer.
“I’m happy Chelsea have got through, but I’d love to play them in the final.” The Real coach was also happy to heap more praise on Ronaldo whose brace took his Real Madrid career total to 19 goals in 24 appearances in the Champions League.
Compared to 16 goals during his 55 outings as a Manchester United player, the Portuguese star is flourishing at Real.
“Ronaldo is unbelievable,” said Mourinho.
“You would have thought with the number of goals he scored last season you couldn’t improve, but he is at another level.” Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema were also on target on Wednesday as Real joined bitter rivals Barcelona in the last eight, the draw for which will be held on Friday.
The only negative on the night for Madrid was a yellow card for Xabi Alonso that means he will miss the first leg of their quarter-final tie.
“It’s not a problem that Xabi can’t play, we are not going to cry about it, there is no problem for (Lass) Diarra or (Esteban) Granero to play with (Sami) Khedira,” added Mourinho.
The coach added he was happy with his team but underlined how difficult the match had been until Ronaldo got Madrid’s second goal of the evening.
“We suffered more than we should have until the second goal and the game was demanding until the end but all Champions League games are like this,” he said.
“We gave a mature and balanced performance and now we’ll take on whoever the draw pairs us with on Friday.”