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José Mourinho says he "felt sadness in his body" after Real Madrid CF's UEFA Champions League ambitions ended at the semi-final stage for the second successive season last term. That disappointment has merely fanned the flames of desire, however, and the coach has the club's long-awaited tenth continental crown firmly in his sights.
The path to glory will be treacherous and Tuesday's home meeting with English title holders Manchester City FC is just the first of six difficult Group D tests: AFC Ajax and Borussia Dortmund also await. "We're talking about a group with four champions – champions from four important countries. Obviously the main objective isn't winning all six games, but to qualify."
The Merengues have cause for confidence after ending FC Barcelona's three-year reign in Spain last season with a campaign that set new benchmarks for Liga points and goals. There has been no resting on laurels either, especially with the capture from Tottenham Hotspur FC of midfielder Luka Modrić, a player Mourinho says "has a kind of magic all great talents possess".
Could the Croatian international be the final piece in the jigsaw? Mourinho has not taken a backwards step so far since landing in the Spanish capital in 2010. "When I arrived at Real Madrid, the club weren't even seeded in the [group stage] draw – that said a lot," he said. "Now we are after reaching back-to-back semi-finals and we will do everything to capture Madrid's tenth European Cup."
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