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Mourinho talks Pep, Ronaldo, Messi, El Clasico, and leaving Real Madrid: “The world stopped”

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Photo via Getty Images

The peak of the 2000s and 2010s football was often linked to El Clasico. The truly brilliant rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid consistently drew the highest viewers in European football, and often went beyond just a rivalry on the pitch.

Players were consistently involved in trash-talking, violent actions, and trying to one-up each other.

Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos, for example, did not hold back against each other at any point. Neither did Pepe and Casemiro against Lionel Messi. And who can forget Sergio Ramos’ infamous slap to Carles Puyol.

The El Clasico rivalry probably peaked during the time Jose Mourinho was the manager at Real Madrid and Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.

Speaking to FIVE, Mourinho shared his thoughts on the matchup, saying, “My years at Real Madrid, there was a huge rivalry with Barcelona.”

“It was not just the cultural and historic rivalry, but in that moment…the best Cristiano, the best Messi, the best Benzema, the best Higuain, the best Iniesta, the best di Maria.”

“Barcelona were best team in the world, Madrid trying to change that. The world stopped for Real Madrid vs Barcelona. One season Barça win, one season Madrid wins.”

“It was beautiful, but the intensity [made it a huge rivalry],” he concluded.

Mourinho also talked about how he faces up to the pressure in such situations, especially at the peak of European football with Real Madrid and El Clasico.

“It was hard, but then you feel you cannot go higher than that. For us, when we won the league, we won 100 points. You know that if you do not win 98, 99 points, you do not win it.

“You know that if you have a draw, you are in trouble, because Barcelona win. The previous season, when Barcelona won, we lost with 91, 92 points. You have to win, you have to win!

“And when you have guys like Cristiano, where you are playing against Levante. You are winning 5-0, you tell him [to come off], they tell you ‘No, I can score one more goal’.

“In the end you enjoy the fight. Maybe because of that pressure, after the second year, Pep went on a sabbatical. After the third season, I spoke to the president and told him, ‘I think it is better for me to go, join Chelsea and change a little more’.

“He told me, ‘No Jose, don’t go, this is the time we are going to win it. The most difficult time is gone’. I said, ‘President, I agree [that the most difficult time is gone], but it is also time for me to go’.”

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Real Madrid News

PSG president wanted Real Madrid to bear Mbappe’s €80 million loyalty bonus

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

It is only a matter of days before Kylian Mbappe is officially confirmed as a Real Madrid player.

The French superstar announced his departure from PSG as a free agent recently and even though nothing is official yet, everything points to him arriving at the Spanish capital club.

An official announcement and presentation are expected to take place sometime before the UEFA Euro 2024 starts.

While the move is all but done, it appears that PSG, in particular president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, are left with a bitter taste over Mbappe’s imminent exit.

Al-Khelaifi wanted Real Madrid to pay €80 million

As has already been reported, Al-Khelaifi tried to convince Mbappe to snub Real Madrid by presenting various arguments which had no effect.

Now, French publication L’Equipe has brought forth a report which claims that the PSG president simply cannot accept the fact that Mbappe is joining Real Madrid for free.

And things are now happening behind the scenes which suggest that the Frenchman’s departure will be far from smooth and amicable.

Indeed, as per the report, PSG have not paid Mbappe his salary for the month of April as well as an additional bonus he was due.

This is because of the €80 million loyalty bonus payment that the club had made to the France captain back in February, even though he had waived it off after deciding not to renew his contract.

Headed for an ugly split with PSG. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

In August 2023, after he was frozen out of the team for refusing to extend his contract, Mbapp agreed to give up his loyalty bonus so that PSG do not suffer a huge financial hit as a result of his leaving as a free agent this summer.

However, Al Khelaifi made a U-turn and granted Mbappe the loyalty bonus in February this year, with the caveat that Real Madrid cover the €80 million as compensation for the 25-year-old leaving for free.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, however, refused that demand as he deemed that it was completely out of the question, as the La Liga champions are not obligated to pay for a player who will be out of contract in a few weeks.

A complete breakdown

Things have not been well between Mbappe and Al-Khelaifi ever since the player informed him of his decision to leave PSG.

The report suggests that the pair are no longer on speaking terms and that lawyers are involved in trying to resolve the matter of the unpaid dues.

PSG are looking for written confirmation that their all-time top scorer will waive the €80 million, which he had agreed to in the past, only for the club to make the payment.

As for Mbappe, he wants the money he is owed as part of his salary which was not paid in April.

Al-Khelaifi has not had the best relation with Perez either and this development further escalates the situation.

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