Jose Mourinho has admitted he “ran away” from his Inter players after winning the Champions League in 2010 because he was afraid he would not be able to leave the club for Real Madrid otherwise.
A decade ago, Mourinho guided Inter to a unique Italian treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
He won the competition by defeating Bayern Munich 2-0 in the final at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Mourinho returned there the following season as head coach of Madrid, leaving Inter after making history in just two years in charge of the Italian club.
However, despite his spell in Inter being short, the Portuguese coach admits it was a huge wrench to leave.
Mourinho is the current coach of Premier League club Tottenham and he recalled a tearful embrace with Inter defender Marco Materazzi outside the Madrid stadium after the final.
It was an open secret that he would move to Real Madrid for the following campaign.
Although Mourinho says he wanted to move to Real for the challenge, he found it too difficult and emotional to say goodbye to his Inter players and the fans.
He also feels that if he had returned to the Italian city, he might not have left the club.
Mourinho told The Athletic: “When I had these last words with Materazzi, it was like I was hugging every player which is something I tried not to do.
I was on the pitch with them in the celebrations, in the medals, in the cup.
I was with them but then I didn’t go back to the dressing room because I didn’t want to say goodbye.
“It was too hard for me and I didn’t want to leave with them for Inter Milan because people were saying I had a contract with Real Madrid.
It was not true because I had an agreement, but I did not have a contract signed.
“I really wanted to go to Real Madrid at that time and i really wanted to try to win the Spanish league after the English and Italian leagues.
But I feared that if I go back to Milan with the team and, with the reaction of the players and the fans, I was afraid of not being able to leave.
I can say that I ran away, I ran away from them.”
Once the deal with Real was done, however, Mourinho felt he was finally able to return to Milan and say his goodbyes.
He feels he departed on good terms, even dining with his former chairman Massimo Moratti after having departed the club.
He said: “A few days later, I signed with Real Madrid, and then I could go back to Milan and I could meet the president and have dinner with him and his family.”