Madrid: Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain will remain at Real Madrid despite transfer speculation, as coach Jose Mourinho expects the young strikers to help the team build "a new era in European football."
Mourinho broke a self-imposed, monthlong silence in a radio interview with Cadena Ser late Thursday to touch on a busy first season in charge of Madrid, which included silverware but was mostly dominated by the Portuguese coach's explosive personality.
Mourinho stopped speaking to the media after UEFA handed him a five-match ban for his tirade following a bad-tempered semifinal against Barcelona in late April.
"I am how I am," Mourinho said. "There are moments in which I feel the club is being treated unfairly so I don't worry about my image when it comes to defending Madrid.
"It's been a busy year, but I've really enjoyed the football. I don't feel tired which is the most significant thing because that means things have been easy. Quote-unquote easy."
Mourinho has left his mark on Madrid by ending a two-season silverware drought after the Spanish giant won its first Copa del Rey trophy in 18 years by beating Barcelona.
Mourinho has often promised more success in his second season in charge - referencing successful spells with Chelsea and Inter Milan - but downplayed that promise now, although he still expects great things in the coming years.
"We're a young team and this Real Madrid, within three or four years, can mark a new era of European football," he said.
But with initial success has also come difficulties.
Bitter rival Barcelona won a third straight league and kept Madrid from reaching the Champions League final in a bad-tempered series that may best be remembered for off-field antics. Mourinho launched an outburst against UEFA, Barcelona counterpart Pep Guardiola, the Catalan club and even its jersey sponsor UNICEF in that series.
"I've been sanctioned without knowing why," Mourinho said. "You don't have the right to know why, you don't have the right to defend yourself, you don't have the right to argue your case ... and as a man I believe I have the right to defend myself. That's why this will go right up to the last resort, including (The Court for Arbitration of Sport)."
Mourinho also won a power struggle with Jorge Valdano, who was fired as managing director, to usher in changes to the club's sporting structure so it better resembles a British club's.
"I won't have any more power. I'll be the coach and nothing more," Mourinho said. "I had nothing personal against Valdano, I wish him the best. I'm not happy with how he left but I am happy about the club's new organizational structure."
Mourinho said midfielder Pedro Leon would likely be sent on-loan.