The Mourinho Years began in Madrid as the self-styled ‘Special One’ met his Real players for the first time on Thursday amid whisperings of who will be joining the club and which veterans may be heading for the exit.
As beginnings go, it was a touch on the limp side. With the bulk of the Real Madrid squad - Spanish and foreign alike — still on leave after the World Cup, the new Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho was greeted by just 10 of his players.
That did not stop the rumour mill, though, which is working overtime on suggestions that two other players - striker Raul and midfielder Guti - will be gone by the time Real begin their campaign.
The 33-year-old Raul, who has played his entire professional career at Real, having made 550 appearances since his debut in 1994, has been linked with a move to German club Schalke or to English clubs Manchester United.
Mourinho has arrived after leading Inter Milan last season to the treble of domestic league and cup as well as the Champions League.
He has been given a four-year contract and the brief of winning the Champions League within the next two years.
Argentinean international Angel Di Maria have Sergio Canales and Pedro Leon.
The Spanish giants are also to lure German midfielder Sami Khedira and Brazilian Maicon, Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Bruno Alves as well as Bastian Schweinsteiger.