Jose Mourinho was Florentino Perez's first choice as Real Madrid head coach, and not Zinedine Zidane, according to former club president Roman Calderon.
Club great Zidane was appointed as Madrid's third coach of the season earlier this week after the Spanish giants had underwhelmed under the leadership of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.
Los Blancos have fallen 12 points off the pace in LaLiga and were dumped out of the Champions League in a 4-1 humbling by Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 46-year-old Frenchman returns after a trophy-laden 28-month spell in charge, which started in January 2016, as he led Madrid to three straight Champions League triumphs and a LaLiga title.
But despite Zidane overseeing Madrid's successful era, it was another ex-head coach who was current president Perez' go-to guy, according to Calderon.
"The first option was Mourinho, and Mourinho was the one who was going to come to Real Madrid because he's the only coach the president respects,” said Calderon, as reported in Spanish media outlet AS.
"Florentino sees the Portuguese coach as a shield.
"He says what nobody dares, he blames the referees, the press, [he says] that which is not normally said."
Calderon revealed he is not in agreement with Perez, which he believes is a belief shared among key figures in the Madrid dressing room.
"The dressing room leaders pushed to reject the possibility of Jose Mourinho," Calderon told Sky Sports.
"He left [Real Madrid] a lot of problems and I think he would have been another problem to the ones we already have if he had come.
"I think Jose Mourinho would have been a step backwards, there was a lot of problems and controversy when he was here.
"He is a good coach with a lot of trophies but many of the leaders in the dressing room didn't like him and I think that was important in the decision-making."