Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari “will feel Mourinho’s breath in the coming months” according to the Portuguese’s biographer, Manuel Pereira.
Likewise, Real Madrid have suffered through managerial woes this season, with Julen Lopetegui sacked in his first season on the job after a humiliating loss to Barcelona in the Clasico.
But while Manchester United have gone on to enjoy six straight wins so far under the likes of interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Madrid’s fortunes since Solari took over have been more varied.
Solari oversaw Madrid victories in his first four games, and eight of his first nine contests, as well as managing the team to a Club World Cup title in December.
However, there have been bumps along the way as Madrid opened 2019 with a draw and loss and though they have won their last two outings, they remain fourth in the table, 10 points behind Barcelona.
That has led some to speculate whether a change might be needed once more, with Mourinho sometimes suggested for a Bernabeu return.
Though Mourinho’s clashes with many in the Real Madrid dressing room, most notably Sergio Ramos, have left some question as to whether he could come back to the club, Pereira thinks it is quite possible as long as Florentino Perez is at the helm of the European Champions.
“As long as Florentino Perez Reals is president, this option exists,” Pereira told Goal. “Perez likes and appreciates Mourinho very much.
“He considers him the ideal coach and would never have let him go in 2013 if Mourinho had not insisted. Mourinho never had any problems with Perez or those responsible. They are not the best friends in the world, but they get along very well.
“The door to return to Real is open. The moment just has to be right.”
That moment, Pereira believes, is not during the season, as he thinks Solari bought himself time with victory at the Club World Cup. However, with the nature of a club like Real Madrid, Pereira thinks the spectre of Mourinho is unavoidable for Solari.
“Since Solari won the Club World Cup in December, I do not expect an immediate release,” Pereira said. “But maybe in the summer, who knows. I'm sure there'll be a lot going on at Real Madrid after this season. Solari will certainly feel Mourinho's breath in the coming months.”
Pereira also does not expect Mourinho to return to the sidelines until the summer at the earliest, dismissing talk of him taking over at Benfica.
“He will not directly take over a club,” Pereira said when asked about Mourinho’s plans for the next few months. “The most probable thing is that he takes a break until summer to gather the strength needed for a new challenge.
“He does not have to hurry, but has all the time in the world.”
Though Mourinho’s recent ends at Chelsea and Manchester United have left some to question whether he can land another top job, Pereira believes the manager is not finished at that level just yet.
“He is a very ambitious person and will not disappear into the sunset,” Pereira said. “He still has a long life as a coach before him with many challenges that excite him. He has only trained in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain so far.
“For example, he still lacks the Bundesliga. If Karl-Heinz Rummenigge calls him tomorrow and offers him to train Bayern, Mourinho would agree for sure.
“Also PSG would certainly be a delightful task for him.”
Pereira also floated the possibility of the former United boss sliding into international management with his native Portugal, which would be a less stressful proposition for Mourinho.
However, he is not writing off things changing, especially at Real Madrid.
“In case he does not find a club in the summer, I can imagine that he will take over the Portuguese national team,” Pereria said. “That would mean less stress for him.
“He could thereby devote himself more to his private life, which has suffered a lot in Manchester. He did not have a real home there, but spent most nights in the hotel or flew to London to be with his family.
“But a lot can happen by summer. Especially at Real Madrid.”