Throughout his career, Jose Mourinho has been known for saying surprising things to the media, but since he arrived at Real Madrid he has taken it to another level. At times during his reign at the Bernabeu, he has seemed more intent on his battles with the Spanish press than he has on football and this is one of the main reasons that the fans of the club never really took to him.
It seems to be the worst kept secret in the world that Jose Mourinho will not be the manager of Real Madrid next season, although there has been no official announcement. I don’t know what he is trying to do, but Mourinho’s comments to the Spanish press have been getting more and more bizarre, while the players and coaching staff are also starting to say things that are normally kept behind closed doors.
Real Madrid were once again reminded of the importance of Cristiano Ronaldo to the team yesterday. The 28-year old Portuguese international gave the fans at the Bernabeu something to smile about after the third Champions League semi-final exit in as many seasons.
Ronaldo put on yet another master class which he topped with two great headed goals, taking him onto 199 goals for Real Madrid from just 196 games. His goal helped Madrid to beat a very good Valladolid team by 4-3, a result which means that Barcelona can not seal the Spanish Primera Liga title with a win against Real Betis today.
One of the main reasons Jose Mourinho was brought to Real Madrid was to win the Champions League. Having already won it with Porto and Inter Milan, Mourinho was seen as having a fantastic pedigree in the competition and so would have a great chance or winning a record 10th European cup for the club. It is now more than 10 years since Vicente Del Bosque led the Galacticos to success in 2002.
Real Madrid have played Borussia Dortmund three times already this season and have yet to win a game. That will count for nothing tonight, however, as long as the Madrid players run out onto the pitch at the Bernabeu ready to give everything for the improbable comeback.
It would not be the first time that a Real Madrid side pulled off a miracle like this. Previous statistics do offer some hope to Jose Mourinho and his players, as Madrid have won 17 of their 23 home games against German teams. Three of those wins would have been enough to see us into the final. 4-0 against Munchengladbach in 1985, 5-1 against Cologne in 1986 and 3-0 against Bayer Leverkusen in 1998.
Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid need all the help they can get ahead of tomorrow’s massive game at the Bernabeu tomorrow. Trailing Borussia Dortmund 4-1 from the first leg, the club has been sweating over the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star scored the only goal for Madrid in the first leg, but also picked up a thigh problem and had to miss the game against Real Betis on Saturday.
The good news for Madrid is that Ronaldo went through a normal training session with his team mates today and there was no sign of any problems. The Spanish champions have a mountain to climb against last year’s German champions, but the away goal gives hope.
Geoffrey Kondogbia has been one of the best young players in the Spanish Primera Liga this season. Real Madrid are just one of the big clubs linked with a possible transfer this summer and the 20-year old Sevilla midfielder has offered plenty of encouragement to officials at the Bernabeu who may be considering signing him.
With Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City all believed to be keen on the French under-20 international, Kondogbia was asked about a possible move from Sevilla this summer and which of the clubs most interested him and he was fairly unequivocal in his reply.
If Real Madrid looked stunned at the final whistle last night, Jose Mourinho seemed to be equally bewildered in his post match press conference. The Portuguese coach was at a loss to explain how his team were so soundly beaten by Borussia Dortmund, although he has definitely not given up on overturning the result at the Bernabeu next week.
“For me it is difficult to analyze it with you, as I have to do it with the players,” Mourinho told the waiting media. “It seems more polite to say that the best team won.
Real Madrid play the first leg or the Champions League semi-final at the Signal Iduna Park in Germany. Their opponents, Borussia Dortmund have one of the biggest football stadiums in the football world and it is usually awash with colour and noise from over 80,000 home fans. That home advantage could play a big part against the Spanish champions tonight, but it may not be quite the same following the announcement about Mario Gotze this week.
Real Madrid face the biggest game of the season so far tomorrow, and it seems as if Jose Mourinho will have fewer players to choose from than he would like. Luka Modric, who was the star of the show as Madrid came from behind to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, is a real doubt. To add to the problems, the Brazilian left back Marcelo looks like missing both legs.