Real Madrid issued a statement to strongly deny reports they illegally approached former Coach Jose Mourinho while he was in charge at Inter.
The Portuguese boss was appointed at the Bernabeu after leaving the Italian giants – who had just won the Champions League – in May 2010, but a report in Thursday’s Diario AS claimed a deal had been struck two months earlier, when Manuel Pellegrini was still in charge of Madrid.
"Following the publication in today's [Thursday] AS newspaper of information concerning the signing of Jose Mourinho as the manager of our club, Real Madrid C.F. wishes to emphasise that said information is entirely false,” read a club statement.
"Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho did not sign any contract on the 31st of March 2010 for him to take over the role of coach, as is wrongly asserted by the aforementioned newspaper.
"This contract was signed by both parties precisely two months after the alleged date, on the 31st of May 2010.
"Therefore, any statements or value judgements made by the cited publication in regard to this false information lack any basis and have no other objective than to damage the image of Real Madrid and its president, just as is becoming the norm for this particular media outlet."
Now at Manchester United, Mourinho led Los Blancos to the 2012 La Liga title in a three-year spell at the club.