Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admits he has rejected offers from around 10 clubs since being out of work because he was not prepared to see his career “take a step backwards”.
Mourinho, who parted company with the Blues in September, recently said he was ready to return to management after eight months out of the game.
Mourinho has been linked with jobs at Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Barcelona, but all three clubs now seem to have coaches in place for next season.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini looks set to stay at the club after backing down on his threat to quit, while Madrid president Ramon Calderon has said coach Bernd Schuster will stay on and Barca have appointed Josep Guardiola to replace Frank Rijkaard.
With three of the biggest vacancies in world football seemingly filled for the foreseeable future, Mourinho insists he is prepared to play the waiting game.
He told Portuguese newspaper A Bola: “Take Marcello Lippi as an example. He was world champion with Italy, now he’s not working, so he’s waiting for a club that’s big enough for him.
“As I’m not prepared to take a step back and become a mid-level coach, I’ll either work for a big club or I won’t work. Full stop.
“That’s why in these past few months I’ve turned down – I don’t know – eight, nine or 10 clubs, because I wasn’t prepared to take a step backwards.”
Despite failing to attract offers from top-level clubs in Spain and Italy, the Portuguese reiterated his desire to coach in one of those leagues.
He said: “Right now I have one priority: I would like to coach in either the Spanish or Italian championship, as these are the strongest in the world.”