Even Mourinho can't make Real Madrid boring

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Real Madrid's ascension to the summit of Spanish football last season was reward for a campaign in which they destroyed almost all domestic opposition in sight, and broke new ground in the annals of La Liga.

Los Blancos plundered 121 goals - an average of over three a game - and collected a century of points from their 38 fixtures, both of which are new records in the top flight of the Spanish game.

Under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho, Real have been able to find the consistency they had so craved since the rise of tika-taka in Catalonia, and depose Barcelona from their lofty position.

No manager has claimed a wider range of success than Mourinho in the modern era, yet last season represented a somewhat uncharacteristic victory for the self-confident Portuguese.

Prior to his move to Madrid, Mourinho had been a resounding success in three other countries - as well as in European competition - and earned a reputation as the ultimate organiser and motivator.

Although he broke records with Chelsea and wooed the British press, there was no escaping the insipid brand of football adopted at Stamford Bridge, with 1-0 wins the order of the day for much of his tenure.

With Inter Milan, Mourinho claimed a second Champions League following his success with Porto in 2004, although defeating Barcelona at the semi-final stage was arguably his zenith during his time with the Italians.

It was a victory that defied logic and offended the eyes of football purists, but it was a victory nevertheless. It was an iconic win, and one in keeping with Mourinho's philosophy of putting the pursuit of triumph ahead of the desire to entertain.

There were signs he would not abandon these ideals after joining Real Madrid, with the Special One using the tactics that had served him well with Inter during the early Clasicos.

Yet last season there was a change as Madrid as Mourinho loosened the shackles on his squad and allowed them to operate with more zest than had previously been apparent.

Yes, there were times against Barcelona when Mourinho allowed himself to revert to type with his selection and tactics, but Real's decisive win at the Nou Camp showed that Los Blancos can be both resolute and slick.

The seemingly imminent acquisition of Luka Modric will further provide Real with the tools they need to be the most aesthetically pleasing side in European football - something that initially seemed impossible when Mourinho took the job.

When Mourinho arrived in Madrid, he had the ability to transform a side bursting with goalscoring talent into one renowned more for defensive organisation than attacking exuberance.

But Mourinho would never realistically have been able to turn Madrid into odd-goal specialists like he did with Chelsea, given the gulf in finance and talent between the elite and also ran clubs in Spain.

Even Mourinho can't make Madrid boring, and he hasn't needed to, and under his stewardship - and with a little more tweaking - can match Barcelona for recent success and leave the purists purring more regularly than the Catalan giants.

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