Jose Mourinho and his careless statements are causing a serious problem in the Real Madrid dressing room. The Portuguese manager is tossing verbal grenades into the Spanish media as if it was the Normandy landings. Mourinho has always done things his own way, tending to surprise journalists with his comments, but he has usually been charming and amusing. Now, the special one is in danger of damaging his reputation, because the way he is behaving is lacking in class.
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.
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.
Jose Mourinho got some great news this week, when it was revealed that his keeper, the Spanish international Iker Casillas, has had the plaster removed from his hand and is looking good to be back a lot sooner than was predicted. The 30-year old keeper broke his finger in a cup game against Valencia two weeks ago and was operated on the next day. Medical experts predicted it would be three months before he could train properly or play again.
It appears that Real Madrid are hitting form at exactly the right time. Despite suffering with injuries and suspensions, Los Blancos have not lost a game in over a month. It seems as if Jose Mourinho has steadied the ship and stopped the rot. His well publicised row with Iker Casillas, whether true or not, seems to be over. The players seem to have accepted, at least for now, that Mourinho is in charge and is their best chance of rescuing something from the season.
The Spanish newspaper Marca is well known to be generally supportive of Real Madrid. There have always been good relations between the club and the reporters and staff of Marca. Until recently, that is. The president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, issued a statement yesterday that declared Marca’s story completely false and suggested that it was an attempt to destabilise the club, the president and the manager.
Today, Marca struck back, insisting that `Marca does not lie`! The paper published a picture of the text message it received, apparently from a Madrid player, telling them about the meeting in question. Apparently, Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas had a meeting in a restaurant with Perez, at which they told him that many players would leave the club if Jose Mourinho did not.
Real Madrid now know the extent of the injury to Iker Casillas, and Jose Mourinho is now considering a move in the January transfer window in order to save the season from total disaster. Casillas needs an operation and is unlikely to be available to play for at least two months, according to medical experts.
In two months time, Madrid could be out of the Champions league and the Copa Del Rey, because we have tough double headers in both competitions coming up. Barcelona beat Malaga last night to book their place in the semi-final against Madrid. The first leg will be at home in the Bernabeu next Wednesday, and the second will be at the end of February.
When the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, had a meeting in a restaurant with the captain and vice-captain of the team, he could not have expected the media furore that would ensue. The next day it was all over the Spanish papers that Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos had issued an ultimatum to Perez that demanded the departure of Jose Mourinho from the club. If their demands were not met, alleged the stories, then the players would leave.
Real Madrid are reaching an absolutely crucial period of the season. Jose Mourinho has stated publicly that he has given up on the Primera Liga title, and few would disagree, with Barcelona 15 points ahead. So Mourinho and Real Madrid are concentrating on the Spanish cup and the Champions league to save the season from disaster.
The absence of the Madrid captain and goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, could not come at a worse time. The first leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final is next week, against either Barcelona or Malaga. The Spanish champions also host Manchester United for the first leg of the Champions league tie on February 13th. The away leg is on March 5th, and there is a small chance that Casillas could return in time for that.
The one thing that Real Madrid have had going for them recently is the form of the Portuguese striker Ronaldo. It was clear when he was suspended against Osasuna just how much the team relies on him. Not just for his goals, 28 already this season, but his all round performance.
That is not good enough for Jose Mourinho, apparently, as he laid into his star player after the Spanish cup game against Valencia. Video shows Mourinho becoming exasperated during the second half of the game. He was unhappy at some of the decisions made by Ronaldo going forward and felt that he was failing in his duties tracking back and helping the Brazilian left back Marcelo.