Roman Calderon says “dressing room leaders” at Real Madrid rejected Jose Mourinho’s return to the Bernabeu in favour of Zinedine Zidane.
The Frenchman returns to the club to replace the sacked Santiago Solari – just nine months after leaving having led the club to three successive Champions League titles.
However, former Real president Calderon had previously suggested Mourinho was the club’s top target but he now says key dressing room leaders rejected that proposal.
Mourinho, who left Real in 2013, also appeared to be a popular choice among fans, who were chanting his name after the 4-1 Champions League defeat by Ajax.
But speaking exclusively to Sky Sports, Calderon said: “The dressing room leaders pushed to reject the possibility of Jose Mourinho.
“He left [Real Madrid] a lot of problems and I think he would have been another problem to the ones we already have if he had come.
“I think Jose Mourinho would have been a step backwards, there was a lot of problems and controversy when he was here.
“He is a good coach with a lot of trophies but many of the leaders in the dressing room didn’t like him and I think that was important in the decision-making.”
On Zidane’s return to Real Madrid on a three-and-a-half year deal, Calderon added: “The players loved him and he was able to change the ideas of coaches like Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho who managed with a strong hand.
“And of course he is an idol with the fans – playing for the club as well as managing them to three Champions League trophies in a row.”