The Real Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho, has ruled out a move for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Chelsea defenders Ashley Cole and Ricardo Carvalho.
Mourinho was linked with a move for Gerrard after taking over at Real earlier this summer but has since signed Germany midfielder Sami Khedira as well as wingers Angel di Maria and Pedro Leon, with youngster Sergio Canales also joining from Racing Santander. The Portuguese believes it would have been difficult to prise Gerrard away from Liverpool in any case and says that, at 30, his value would only have diminished.
"He is part of the history of Liverpool, he belongs to the club – he is too important to them," Mourinho said. "The same thing happened when I tried to take Frank Lampard to Inter. The problem exists when a club buys a player that is 30 and that cannot be sold later on."
Mourinho sees a similar problem with Carvalho, a player he coached at both Porto and Chelsea. "Ricardo is also a good player, but he is at an age that, if somebody is looking to build a team for the future, he cannot think of him," he said."Ricardo belongs to the current moment. He is a man with a great professional and private life, so he has no problem when it comes to playing at a high level at the age of 32."
Mourinho admitted he did want to sign Cole, but says Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti vetoed that move. "Ancelotti was very clear. [He said] there is no money that will sign Ashley Cole, he needs to stay," he said. "We thought of him because he was a good player who I enjoyed working with, but when the coach says no, it's no – you have to accept it."
Mourinho also discussed his expectations for his first season at the Bernabeu, and said he would view it as a failure if the Spanish giants failed to win either La Liga or the Champions League.
Real have failed to win the Spanish title since 2007 and picked up their last Champions League trophy in 2002, but Mourinho insists the club's drought must end now. "If we don't win the league or the Champions League [this season], it would be a failure," he said.
Mourinho's side are looking to bring an end to the domination of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, who have won the last two titles comfortably. "Barcelona have a different dynamic right now [to Madrid], a philosophy going back a lot of years, players who have been together for many years and a coach who is approaching his third year," he said.
Mourinho knows his side will also have to compete with well-established sides in Europe."It's the same story in the Champions League," the Portuguese manager said. "Manchester [United] have a coach and a team [that have been together] for many years. Chelsea have a structure [that has been in place] for many years, Barcelona the same and Inter have had a structure for three years."