London: Manchester United would face Spanish champions Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16, and this all-important clash could be similar to a job audition for Santiago Bernabeu boss Jose Mourinho, who is in contention to replace Old Trafford gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson once he retires.
Real Madrid`s visit to Manchester United and Old Trafford may be more than just a cup tie for Jose Mourinho, according to a report in the Telegraph.
Jose Mourinho would deny it but he will be auditioning for the Manchester United job when he leads his Real Madrid side to Old Trafford in March for the tie of the Champions League round of 16, the paper added.
While Cristiano Ronaldo relives his past in front of the Stretford End, Mourinho will be thinking of his future more than those clashes with Sir Alex Ferguson from his Chelsea days, it said.
Publicly, Mourinho would think it abhorrent to have to impress a board of directors by knocking their team out of a competition. His ego would not submit to a beauty parade. United, though, would offer the smoothest return to the Premier League when his voyage across Italy and Spain is over, the paper further reported.
The paper further added that some senior figures at Old Trafford are set against Mourinho as Ferguson’s successor, citing his appetite for chaos and lack of interest in youth development.
But it would be impossible to discount him were United to make a purely pragmatic, trophy-based decision about who to hire next, it added.
Ferguson is not ceding power yet but Mourinho will be the most eager candidate for the post, the paper concluded.