Jose Mourinho says that he left Real Madrid with a clear conscience, having given the club everything, despite a tempestuous end to his time at the Bernabeu.
The Manchester United manager meets his former employers on Tuesday in the UEFA Super Cup.
Although Madrid failed to win the Champions League during Mourinho’s tenure, he feels that he built a basis for them to thrive under Zinedine Zidane.
The Portuguese departed the Spanish capital in 2013 amid rumours that he had fallen out with key members of the squad - reports that Sergio Ramos did little to quell before the showpiece encounter - but he is unflustered by the manner of his exit.
“I left feeling quite at ease and feeling that I had nothing left to give. I can truly say that I gave more to Real Madrid any club than I ever have before. I left with peace of mind, I left without wanting to take out the dirty linen,” he said.
Asked about the difference between the squad he had and the one the Frenchman currently oversees, he said: “The basic difference is when I arrived they weren’t even top of their [Champions League] group. It was a team that in spite of all their history they couldn’t get beyond the quarter-finals - their most important players had never played in the Champions League semi-finals.
“When I left it was a team that had played three consecutive Champions League semis, they had been Spanish champions, they had won games at home as well as abroad. There were small and big differences.
“I left and it was difficult for the others to say many good things about me.”