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Wednesday 20 September 2017

John Giles: Mourinho and Madrid is a perfect marriage

THE only piece missing from what would be the ideal picture for Spanish football at the moment is the fact that Inter Milan and Bayern Munich will meet in Madrid tomorrow for the Champions League final.

But, if Jose Mourinho brings his suitcases to the Bernabeu and decides to stay, there's every chance that the Champions League will find a home in Spain for years to come with the rest of Europe trailing behind.

I expect Mourinho to win his second Champions League title in Madrid. In simple terms, Bayern Munich have a poor defence and Inter have more than enough attacking talent to do the job.

Mourinho has plotted an almost perfect course to this final, and he will have a plan for Bayern which will be as effective as the one he used against Chelsea and Barcelona in previous rounds.

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I'm sure he already has a plan for his new job too. His recent comments suggest that it could be only a matter of weeks before he takes over at Madrid.

The only possible problem I can see is the obvious one: that Real Madrid's grandees will try to meddle and Mourinho's temper might explode.

Perhaps that's why Rafa Benitez gave Mourinho a vote of no confidence for the Real Madrid job, though it must be said the besieged Liverpool boss might just be viewing events through envious eyes.

Not so long ago Benitez was the man hotly tipped for the Madrid job, but his reputation has been severely damaged by Liverpool's fall from grace and with no relief in sight.

There's no doubt that a Madrid- Mourinho union would be a bubbling volcano, but if they can find an accommodation, Mourinho will have an extraordinary squad of players to work with and a bank vault to raid when he wants to.

The Bernabeu management will have to build extra media facilities to cope with the attraction of Mourinho and Ronaldo under the same roof.

For me, Mourinho's move to Madrid is a perfect marriage and it will complete a major shift in power. In practically every department, the Spanish have moved into a dominant position.

They will start the World Cup as many people's favourites to win the competition and, unlike previous years when the same was true and Spain buckled under the weight of expectation, this time they could deliver.

With Barcelona's successful pursuit of David Villa, La Liga has moved ahead of the Premier League in the pecking order and thrown down a marker which will be very unsettling indeed for men like Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

Villa was a target for every decent team in Europe but without any fuss Barca handed over £35m to Valencia and nabbed one of the best strikers in the world to add to an already star-studded squad I'm sure Ferguson or Wenger felt sick to their stomachs when they heard about the Villa move.

Wenger knows that Barca have the cash to buy Cesc Fabregas as well and, if he loses his captain, it could have huge consequences for Arsenal. Maybe even for Wenger too.

I don't believe that Arsenal have the kind of money they would need to replace Fabregas and add the halfdozen quality players already needed to make the Gunners competitive.

Ferguson obviously has very little to spend and is talking about investing in one player this summer – which many people feel is likely to be Frank Ribery.

But he would want to hurry up because I've no doubt that Real Madrid will throw cash around this summer as well, particularly if they hire Mourinho. Ferguson must be frustrated beyond belief.

Manchester City's £20m pursuit of James Milner has set a benchmark for transfers in England which will colour all other deals involving the big clubs.

Like Wenger, Ferguson badly needs an injection of proven quality and anything less will see Manchester United drop behind the Spanish clubs.

It won't sit well with Manchester United fans that it will be Roberto Mancini and not Ferguson who will be challenging the likes of Barcelona and Madrid for the best players, but that's the reality of it.

Eastlands has the resources and Old Trafford does not. I've no doubt that Roman Abramovich will open his wallet again and, judging by the way Carlo Ancelotti did his business this season, I expect he will move quickly and quietly with very few headlines or fuss.

But even Abramovich must have been brought up short by the speed at which Barcelona moved to grab Villa, before the European season has even ended.

He will be watching Mourinho with jaundiced eyes in Madrid, bitterly aware that he sacked the man, but he can believe in Ancelotti and I think he will back his new man with funding.

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