The lure of Madrid proved to be too great once an offer was tabled, but Moratti claims that Mourinho had second thoughts from the moment he accepted the job.
“That Champions League final was the end of a journey and as Interisti we appreciated the difficulties of getting there more than the final result. After all, we couldn’t even celebrate it to the full, because after Mourinho left so soon afterwards,” Moratti said at the presentation of a book covering his 20 years at the Inter helm.
“A year beforehand, Mourinho had told me that there was interest from Real Madrid. Then it was repeated. You cannot keep people prisoner, but it certainly wasn’t nice to see [Real Madrid president Florentino] Perez waiting in the car for Mou outside the Champions League Final at the Bernabeu.
“Mourinho himself regretted it even before he had made the move: a few hours later, in my office in Milan, he told me that he realised he was going to a business and not a family. Mourinho said that if he could, he would’ve remained at Inter.
“I told him to make his choices in absolute freedom. His tears upon leaving were real and I am pleased that still to this day he says he supports Inter.”
He returned to management with United in the summer of 2016 and saw the Red Devils land the Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League in his first season at the helm.