Jose Mourinho is glad Manchester City were killed off in the Champions League group of death - because if it had been him, he would not have been allowed back into Madrid.
Real's 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium confirmed the Spanish giants will accompany Borussia Dortmund into the last 16. In contrast, City face a tough battle just to make the Europa League after collecting only three points from their first five matches.
Yet despite an enormous outlay on players, bankrolled by owner Sheikh Mansour, it is not thought manager Roberto Mancini is under threat, and Mourinho said: "I admire the fact that clubs support their manager. City is out of Champions League. But Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are very good teams and we knew a big team would be out."
He went on: "It is good that it was City because Roberto can work without any kind of problem I believe.
"If it was Real Madrid, the press wouldn't let me return to Madrid."
Indeed, Mancini rejected outright the notion that Sheikh Mansour would deliver a harsh judgment on two seasons of European failure.
"No. I don't fear this," said the Italian. "Why? We still have the Premier League and the FA Cup. If we think we can win the Champions League after two years we are crazy."
Mancini's reasoning is that City require more experience at this level before they can truly compete for the greatest prize.
"Chelsea tried to win Champions League for 10 years," he said. "In the best moments, when Didier Drogba was young, they didn't win. They did it last year when no-one thought they could.
"We need to improve our team because there are a lot of teams better than us. I am not saying if you get to February you can't win. Anything can happen. But we didn't do that."