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Mourinho writes off Real Madrid's title hopes this season

Associated Press

1/23/2013 11:47:16 AM

PARIS -- Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has written off his team's chances of catching Spanish league leader Barcelona and has turned his attention to helping the club win the Champions League for the 10th time.

With the Spanish league more than halfway through, Barcelona is 15 points ahead of Madrid, which won the title last season but is now in third place behind crosstown rival Atletico.

"It's impossible to win the league this year. We have to think about the Champions League and the Copa del Rey," Mourinho said Wednesday in an interview with French radio station RMC.

However, he warned frustrated Madrid fans not to build up their expectations ahead of the match against Manchester United in the last 16.

"It's an objective for me (to win the Champions League), but I don't think you should be obsessed," he said. "You have to understand that other teams can win the competition. They also have the potential to do it."

Madrid's difficult season has increased speculation that he could leave the club at the end of the season. He has previously expressed an interest in returning to coach in England one day -- where he turned Chelsea into United's main challenger and led it to two league titles -- and has also been linked to the Paris Saint-Germain job.

"England, I know it. I like it a lot and I want to go back one day. Because I only spent 3 1/2 years with Chelsea, and I want to go back and work (in England) one day," he said.

While Mourinho said he would welcome the chance to work in France, he distanced himself from speculation linking him with the PSG job -- for now -- out of respect for PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti and sporting director Leonardo.

"I am a friend of Carlo's, a friend of Leonardo's," Mourinho said. "I want success for them and for everything to go well. I want it to be so that they don't need another coach."

The 49-year-old Mourinho, who led FC Porto to the Champions League title in 2004, would relish a return to Portugal later in his career, but only to take charge of the national team.

"I would like it. Not now, but one day I would," Mourinho said. "I think people in Portugal are also waiting for this moment. It's an experience I want to have, a World Cup, a European Championship."

Mourinho said he was twice close to taking charge of the England team but appeared to rule out taking over England at a later stage.

"Nearly, in 2007, nearly in 2008. But for me it's Portugal," he said. "You can never say never in football, but I think it is Portugal."