Mourinho: I damaged Spanish football by ending Barcelona's dominance
Jose Mourinho has hit back at accusations from Andres Iniesta that he damaged Spanish football by claiming that he was made to suffer for being the coach who "ended Barcelona's dominance" during his time at Real Madrid.
The Portuguese's controversial three-year reign at the Bernabeu came to a close at the end of the season and the Spain star suggested that the 50-year-old left behind an unsavoury legacy in Spain.
But Mourinho reflected on his time at Madrid with fondness, having successfully halted Barca's grip on La Liga in record-breaking fashion just a year ago.
"I damaged Spanish football by being the coach who ended Barcelona's dominance. Real Madrid won in Barcelona, Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey, Real Madrid won the championship - a historical championship as it was the one of 100 points and 121 goals. I hurt them," he said at his official unveiling as Chelsea manager.
"It was a fantastic time for me, reaching what I wanted to reach which was three domestic titles. We couldn't get the Champions League, though, which was an ambition. You never know what you are going to do.
"Before I arrived they hadn't reached the quarter-finals for six years, and we reached the semis [in each of my three years]. I can say with pride that I managed a big club like Madrid."
Mourinho's stint with Madrid was also overshadowed by a reported bust-up with Iker Casillas and while he refused to mention the goalkeeper directly, the 50-year-old promoted the idea of picking teams based on merit.
"I'm sorry but I played the players that I thought were best for the team. Of course I want good relationships with everybody, but I need a good relationship with myself and I need to be honest with myself.
"If someone has a big status, I cannot give him special privileges. It's up to the players to accept it or not, [as well as] the media and the supporters."
"All my decisions are based on meritocracy."