Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini is set to be handed a four-million euro (Dh18.2m) walkaway payment and replaced by Inter Milan's Jose Mourinho for next season, press reports in Spain claimed Tuesday. "Bye bye Pellegrini, 'Mou' is on his way," said the headline in Spanish daily El Mundo, one of several claiming that the exit of Chilean Pellegrini from the Santiago Bernabeu after just one season in charge is only days away. "Pellegrini is counting down the hours," added El Pais. After a record spending spree in the close-season, notably with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United and Kaka from AC Milan, Real Madrid are set to finish the season trophyless. Barcelona beat Real to the Spanish league title last weekend, while Ronaldo and Co failed to get past the Champions League's round of 16, in which arch rivals and defending champions Barca lasted until the semi-finals stage. According to the reports, Real president Florentino Perez is set to sack the 56-year-old Pellegrini, who has a year left on his contract and plenty of support from the dressing room. Ironically, Mourinho will get a chance to see Real Madrid's facilities up close when he leads his Inter Milan side to the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on Saturday. But despite declaring he is "unhappy" with life in Italy, Mourinho - who has two years left on his Inter contract - has recently played down speculation linking him to the Spanish giants. "After (the final in) Madrid there will be time to be selfish for one, two or three days and to think about what will make me happiest from a professional point of view," said the 47-year-old Portuguese last weekend. "But right now I can tell you 100 per cent that it's not true that I have one and a half feet at Real. Quite the contrary, I'm very far from becoming the Real coach." The Inter president Massimo Moratti said Monday he was unsure of Mourinho's intentions after the final, and for the Spanish press that is synonymous with his arrival at Real. According to both AS and El Mundo, talks between Mourinho's and Real's representatives have already been held, resulting in a verbal agreement. Reports also said while Pellegrini would be handed a "walkaway" payment, Real would have to pay Inter eight million euros to end Mourinho's contract at Inter. * AFP
Chelsea is facing strong competition from Barcelona in signing on the Liverpool striker Fernando Torres. "The Blues are expected to make a massive 50 million pounds move for the 26-year-old striker this month," The Sun reports. Meanwhile, Barcelona is set to dump their 40 million pounds unfit striker Zlatan Ibrahimovich after a season and use the money to pay their bid for Torres. They hope to pair him with fellow Spanish striker David Villa at Nou Camp. The deadly duo work brilliantly together on the international stage, having won the Euro 2008.