Just before Internazionale's celebratory team photo with the European Cup, shy and retiring Jose Mourinho grabbed "Old Big Ears" and lifted it aloft towards the directors' box at the Santiago Bernabeu, where the Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, was grinning broadly. Real had not been able to win the Champions League in their own stadium, so instead they got the chequebook out and bought the man who did.
A basic €40m (£36m) package brings Mourinho to Spain. He will be officially presented as Real's new coach this week, replacing Manuel Pellegrini, who will today finalise the terms of his departure from the club just 12 months into his two-year deal.
There will be no two-year deal for Mourinho. The man who has now won as many European Cups this century as the club he is taking charge of will sign a four-year contract and be paid €10m a season – double the length of the standard contract that Real give new coaches and double the money.
Immediately after Saturday night's victory Mourinho was telling Italian television that he was "not leaving Inter but leaving Italian football". He has felt unloved in Serie A and when he finally showed for the post-match press conference, after midnight local time, the Italian press were more interested in grilling him on the style of play – or the lack of it – and the fact that he had not used a single Italian in his starting line-up than congratulating him on the victory.
"Have you spoken to Perez?" Mourinho was asked by Madrid reporters. "No," came the reply. When asked when was the last time he had spoken to the Real president he said "the day after tomorrow". Not that there will be much to discuss today as Mourinho's agent, Jorge Mendez, is understood to have finalised his client's new contract last Friday and now Inter's compensation package is all that needs completing. "The two clubs have to sit down and talk," Mourinho added.
He signed off by defending the negative style in which his team had won. "Van Gaal had provoked me before the game," he said. "He is intelligent. He called my team defensive because he wanted us to react and play a different way. But I am also intelligent."
Intelligent enough to know that winning with just 33 per cent of possession will not be enough for Real Madrid fans. He will have better players at his disposal and the chance to disprove once and for all the view that he is a defensive coach. For now, none of the worthy discussions about his football philosophy matter. As one Madrid paper put it: "Bayern had the ball but Inter took home the Cup."Reuse content