Pellegrini sacking paves way for Mourinho move to Madrid

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Real Madrid have parted company with coach Manuel Pellegrini, paving the way for Jose Mourinho to take over.

Pellegrini was midway through a two-year contract with the Spanish giants but pays the penalty for an unsuccessful first season in charge at the Bernabeu.

Madrid, despite spending around 250million euros in bringing in the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso last summer, suffered their second successive trophy-less campaign.

Madrid president Florentino Perez announced the news at a press conference this evening at the Bernabeu following a board meeting.

Perez also announced their intention to appoint Mourinho as the next coach of Madrid once his contractual situation with Internazionale has been resolved.

"We have dedicated the last few weeks to analysing and reflecting upon the past season. And we have decided to bring to an end Manuel Pellegrini's time at the club," said Perez.

"We want to thank him and his team for their hard work, professionalism and conduct.

"The board also agreed to contract Jose Mourinho as the new coach of Real Madrid once his contractual relationship with Inter Milan has been resolved."

Mourinho, who led Inter to an unprecedented treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League titles, is under contract with the Nerazzurri until June 2012, but has a get-out clause in his deal which will be exercised should Madrid meet the fee of 16million euros.

Mourinho is confident he will be coaching in Spain next season and has no doubt Madrid will pay whatever is required to secure his services.

The 47-year-old met with Inter's finance director Rinaldo Ghelfi in Milan today and afterwards told reporters: "Now I am on holiday, then I will go and work in Spain."

Pellegrini took charge of Madrid as part of last summer's massive overhaul following the return of Perez to the presidency.

The Chilean had previously been in charge of Villarreal, who he helped make one of Spain's best clubs even though he failed to win any major trophies during his five years at El Madrigal.

Pellegrini had a decent start to life in the Bernabeu hotseat, winning his first six Primera Division and Champions League games.

However, things started to go wrong in October when they lost to Sevilla in La Liga and AC Milan in Europe before suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat to third-tier Alcorcon in the first leg of their opening Copa del Rey tie.

Madrid waved goodbye to the competition after only winning the return leg 1-0, and the knives were out for Pellegrini following that embarrassment.

After that came the hugely disappointing failure in the Champions League, a competition in which nine-time winners Madrid had placed a huge amount of stock with the final being held at their Bernabeu home.

For the sixth successive year they fell at the last-16 stage, losing to French side Lyon.

Madrid were much better in La Liga, pushing reigning Barcelona all the way to the final weekend and accumulating 96 points and scoring 102 goals.

That was not enough to wrest the title off Barca, though, with Pep Guardiola's side finishing three points clear of the capital club.

"The change of coach is always difficult, but we are convinced that after this first year and this first phase, now is the moment to give a new impulse to our project," said Perez.

"A year ago we there was a huge and unprecedented effort to configure and put together a squad capable of aspiring to the maximum.

"We have advanced a lot, but we still have a lot of ground to cover.

"This club demands the maximum and is always in search of excellence.

"Winning and being leaders in Europe has always been the desire of our fans and therefore, that's the objective of this board."

Pellegrini's departure now opens the door for Mourinho to become Madrid's 11th coach in the last seven years.

Mourinho has long been linked to the Spanish giants and after leading Inter to the Champions League title on Saturday at the Bernabeu admitted he was likely to leave the Italian double winners.

"There is nobody on the board who has given an opinion against the signing of Jose Mourinho, on the contrary, they are enthusiastic at being able to recruit one of the best coaches in the world," added Perez.

"We believe that he (Mourinho) is a coach that will add a lot to this important squad that we have," Perez added.

"And what is still left to resolve is the interpretation, between Mourinho and the club, of his contract.

"As everybody knows, the decision we made was not an easy one, but we are totally convinced that we need a new impulse and we are delighted that a coach like Mourinho can lead this squad in the next few years.

"This club tries to have the best people in all positions and it's a very important opportunity for this club to sign one of them."