Jose Mourinho “really wanted the Real Madrid job but it wasn’t meant to be”, says Ramon Calderon, with the new Tottenham boss considered to have grown “fed up of waiting” on the Blancos.
The Portuguese, who had been out of work since leaving Manchester United in December 2018, has returned to management at Spurs.
He has been appointed as successor to Mauricio Pochettino and finds himself filling a third Premier League post, having previously spent time with Chelsea and the Red Devils.
Mourinho had been biding his time in waiting for a suitable offer to arise, with a number of approaches knocked back by a man accustomed to challenging for honours at the very top of the game.
It was suggested at one stage that a return to Madrid could be on the cards, as Zinedine Zidane struggled for inspiration early on in 2019-20, and Calderon believes that role was the 56-year-old’s preference.
The former Blancos president told The Athletic: “You only have to look at what he’s won in his career: domestic titles, Champions Leagues - he’s a proven winner which would be one of the main reasons why Daniel Levy appointed him as manager.
“I know Tottenham are in bad form right now but he’s going to a very good team, who have great supporters. I reckon Jose really wanted the Real Madrid job but it wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps he was waiting for something to happen when the team was struggling under Zidane earlier this season but finally he has this opportunity now at Tottenham.
“I think it was very close (Mourinho going back to Real Madrid) because Florentino Perez really likes him. He respects him a lot and I don’t think there’s any other coach who had the same level of respect Mourinho had. Perez backed him when he was here when things weren’t going well.
“If Zidane hadn’t succeeded I think Mourinho would’ve been re-appointed as manager of Madrid, but maybe he was fed up of waiting for that chance and finally decided to return to management with Tottenham.
“A coach like Mourinho cannot go to just any club. His CV means he’s worthy of managing a big club where he has the opportunity of winning titles or at least mounting a strong challenge to fight for them. It was a wise decision for Jose to wait until the right opportunity came.
“I suppose he will do things the right way at Tottenham but it depends on the situation because Daniel Levy is very controversial. When things are going well he’s a nice person, but when things change he can be very difficult to work with.
“At Real Madrid we experienced that with the Gareth Bale and Luka Modric deals. With Bale it was difficult because he didn’t want to sell him and for a long time he was trying to increase the price, so when Bale really wanted the move Levy had no other option but to sell him.
“I like him as a person but I know that he’s very controversial, so it will be interesting to see how it works with Mourinho and Levy.”
Mourinho’s first game in charge of Tottenham is set to be a London derby date with West Ham on Saturday.