Millennium Post

Mourinho’s ‘Real’ love affair turns sour

It began as a marriage of convenience between a coach hungry to establish himself at the top of his sport and a club determined to put the brakes on the runaway success of its archrival.

For Jose Mourinho, coaching Real Madrid added a major notch to his career, having previously led Inter Milan to the 2010 Champions League title and guiding Chelsea to six trophies in three years.

Madrid president Florentino Perez banked heavily on Mourinho having the qualities required to rein in Pep Guardiola’s stinging victories with Barcelona and also the strength of character to sort out a squad encumbered with ‘galactico’ trappings but without a single item of silverware.

Mourinho had proved his Champions League pedigree early by winning the trophy with Porto in 2004, aged just 41. Perez set aside considerations that Mourinho’s fascination with defensive tactics might grate with his team’s tradition of overwhelming opponents through attacking prowess.

Two-and-a-half seasons later, the honeymoon is in tatters and the talk is that it was never a love match anyway.Spain’s media has claimed the Portuguese doesn’t understand the ‘stateliness’ of Madrid and the reverence it deserves.

Mourinho was scathing after Madrid’s 2-1 loss at Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey last Wednesday.

‘There are players who have disappointed me,’ he said. ‘(Some) didn’t want to play because it was cold, raining.’ Perez showed unusual warmth as he quickly stepped up to defend him on that occasion.

That was before Sunday’s 2-2 draw against lowly Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu, a result that left Madrid in third place in the league, 13 points behind leader Barcelona after 16 matches, not to mention facing possible elimination from the Copa after a first-leg defeat.

Mourinho conceded it was ‘practically impossible’ for his side to retain the Spanish league title prized from Guardiola’s grip last season.

‘The distance is too great to achieve the League,’ he said after the draw, words that Perez responded to rapidly.

‘Madrid’s sporting principles are never to give up, however difficult the challenge,’ the president said.
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