Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has written off former club Chelsea’s hopes of reaching the Champions League final, branding their semi-final opponents Barcelona as “super-favourites” to progress.
Mourinho saw his own side ease into the final four with an 8-2 aggregate victory over Apoel Nicosia, and they will now face final hosts Bayern Munich in the next round. But should Mourinho’s side go through, the Portuguese does not expect to find his old team waiting in Munich.
Asked why he had told Telemadrid that Barcelona would advance, he said: “Because they are very good. Barcelona aren’t the favourites, they are super-favourites.”
He added: “Let me be honest, I don’t think the final will be a Real Madrid/Chelsea final. It could be Bayern or Barcelona, I just don’t think it will be Real Madrid v Chelsea and we know why.”
Mourinho was cautious about his current side’s chances too, recognising that Bayern will prove dangerous opponents with the Bavarians desperate to appear in a final on their home ground.
“Bayern is a very powerful opponent,” Mourinho said. “It is a team I know well as it is almost the same side that I played when coach of Inter Milan in the Champions League final two years ago and they have great individual players.
“The players and myself are looking forward to what should be a great semi-final.”
Mourinho was full of praise for his side’s Cypriot opponents, who he said had achieved more than anyone else in this season’s competition.
“I think in a few years people in Cyprus will realise what Apoel have done, it is the biggest achievement in Champions League this season,” Mourinho added.
“If Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich win it’s not the same achievement as for Apoel to reach the quarter-final.”