Real starting to benefit from Mourinho's magic touch

Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:59am GMT

By Iain Rogers

MADRID (Reuters) - It was his obsession with winning the "decima", a 10th European title, that prompted Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to poach Jose Mourinho from Inter Milan and the decision is starting to bear fruit.

Real, who last took the continental crown in 2002, swept aside bogey team Olympique Lyon 3-0 on Wednesday, progressing 4-1 on aggregate and securing a berth in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2004.

Portuguese Mourinho, who won Europe's elite club competition with Porto in 2004, arrived in the Spanish capital fresh from leading Inter to an unprecedented treble of Italian league and cup and Champions League and is still in with a chance of repeating the feat with Real.

They go into Friday's draw for the last eight having already qualified for the King's Cup final and are not out of the La Liga title race, with arch rivals Barcelona only five points ahead with 10 matches to play.

It is the Champions League, however, that really matters to Real and construction magnate Perez, who says the competition is part of the club's DNA and who has spent hundreds of millions of euros to realise his dream.

"We have passed a psychological barrier and we can now think realistically about winning the biggest prize," Jorge Valdano, Real director general and Perez's right-hand man, said after the team beat Lyon for the first time in eight attempts in Europe.

"We have a young team which is still developing," the former Real player and coach added.

"It has talent, personality and physical strength. All that justifies hope for the future."   Continued...

<p>Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho gestures during their Spanish first division match against Real Mallorca at the Iberostar stadium in Palma de Mallorca, August 29, 2010. REUTERS/Albert Gea</p>
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