The Lead

Everything about this story stinks. Marca is reporting that Jose Mourinho and Florentino Pérez have come to an agreement which will see the Portuguese manager leave the club in June. The reason? It seems to come down to worries about the “image” of the club:

Marca, which is known to have strong links with Real, reports that Pérez has become concerned by a number of incidents this season which have not cast the club in a good light.

Firstly, there was an incident with Sergio Ramos which saw the Spain defender put on Mesut Oezil’s shirt underneath his own after the German was substituted at half-time of a game against Deportivo La Coruña.

Ramos later claimed he was merely showing support for his team-mate but the move was perceived as an attempt to undermine Mourinho’s authority. Ramos was later dropped.

There was also the public spat with Alberto Toril, manager of the reserve side Real Madrid Castilla, who play in the Segunda Division. Mourinho accused Toril of focusing too much on results rather than trying to produce young players for the first team.

The “final straw” was apparently Mourinho’s decision to parade himself in front of his own supporters Saturday night in the Madrid derby against Atletico in order for them to have at him with whatever idiocy they felt was necessary.

I’m going to try to be balanced here but I failed as soon as I started writing the lead this morning. Real Madrid fans—at least those who would take the time to berate Jose Mourinho, the manager who led the team to an unlikely La Liga title against a superior Barcelona side last season and is their best chance to over take them this season—represent the worst vices of supporters of “big clubs.” These are the fans so used to silverware, they’ve forgotten the effort, organization, and luck involved in attaining it. Moreover, they’re incapable of seeing past the pointed-but-relatively-minor personality flaws of their otherwise gifted coach, and the relative skill of the Barcelona team they so desperately want to best.

As for this supposed laundry list of grievances that led to this, as reasons for sacking the best manager in Europe they are beyond pathetic. First, Sergio Ramos is at fault for publicly embarrassing Mourinho for a reasonable tactical choice in selecting the first team; the latter should not be held accountable for disciplining him.

Second, the dispute with the Real Madrid Castilla coach indicates a larger problem with Real Madrid’s youth policy, in that it clearly doesn’t form a cohesive pathway to the first team under Mourinho’s vision. This dispute could have provided Pérez to answer a key weakness in the RM model, but he missed the opportunity. Perhaps Pérez’s legacy as the Galacticos president—a guy who signs the world’s brightest and best—is at fault.

Finally, Mourinho’s display was perhaps gaudy on Sunday, but would not have been necessary with the public backing of Pérez, who instead thought of himself and the presidential elections coming up next year. Perhaps he might also consider the very real possibility that Real Madrid might not only win the Champions League, but overtake Barcelona in the league at some stage as well. Real’s numbers compared to Barcelona’s, at least in terms of TSR, indicate the title race could theoretically tighten between now and the Spring.

Moreover, Real Madrid’s players will be aware that with Mourinho’s sacking, there will be a likely player cull, meaning it would be in their best interests to put any personal differences with their manager aside and play to look good.

Pérez for his part can only hope that Mourinho fails and fails badly between now and June. But what is certain is he will not find a more talented manager, nor one more capable of beating Barcelona, if not in head-to-head meetings, then over the long-term. That means he will have to address the Real Madrid model—splashing cash to buy great players and lure a World Class manager to lead them. There is objective evidence that even in its best iteration (arguably the current Real Madrid team), it isn’t good enough to beat a club like Barcelona with an established cradle-to-grave career development system.

If he misses these opportunities, Real Madrid fans should be wary of re-electing him. Sadly, based on the vitriol directed Mourinho’s way, a genius with a habit of being a dick now and again, chances are Mourinho will go no matter what happens, and Pérez will be rewarded for his irresponsibly near-sighted vision. As it stands, the club deserves the one and not the other.

England

Chelsea deny Avram Grant return rumour.

BVB’s chief executive slams Premier League foreign ownership.

Arsenal to rest key players for Champions League match this week.

Newcastle still in contract talks with Demba Ba.

Italy

Inter coach says Sneijder not a victim of bullying.

Milan keeping Pato and Robinho despite transfer rumours.

La Liga

Jose Mourinho to exit Real Madrid in the summer.

The weekend in review with Tim Stannard.

Valencia reveal new coach.

Soldado says players to blame for Pellegrino’s sacking.

Germany

Rene Adler’s impressive start to the season could make him Germany’s starting goalkeeper.

Bayern likely without Badstuber for the rest of the season.

Hoffenheim continues to struggle.

MLS

Kaka to replace Beckham?

Bit and Bobs

Cruyff sacked by Mexican side Chivas.

Messi and Ronaldo’s impact on football.

Video showcasing Ronaldo’s speed.

Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.

Comments (13)

  1. Stick to English football please. You have no idea what goes on in Spain and Real Madrid.

  2. I wonder if this is Perez trying to push out Mourinho, or Mourinho seeking more money/power? I mean right now is the perfect time for Mourinho to be looking for a new job.

    -Manchester City could sack Mancini due to his champions league failures and nearly losing the league last year (might depend on this year’s result).
    -Fergie is at the point where he could retire whenever he wanted, and maybe he would feel that getting Mourinho to replace him at Manchester United would be worth retiring a year or two earlier than planned, ensuring he has a decent successor.
    -Chelsea has an interim manager in Rafa, and it’d be easy to cut ties with him unless they somehow turn their season around to win the league and/or the champions league.

    So he could, in essence, force the three wealthiest teams in England into a bidding war for his services. As opposed to, say, last summer when Mancini had just won the league and Di Matteo the Champions League.

    • A good point to be sure, in that there will possibly be a number of top teams in England looking for a new manger at the end of this season – I wouldn’t leave Arsenal off that list either.

      My own opinion though, is that Mourinho will not go back to Chelsea, been there done that, plus he’s not going to work with Abromovich again.

      I think Feguson would rather die on the bench in a relegation fight with Wigan rather than see himself replaced by Mourinho, but that’s just my impression.

      Man City seems like a real possibility though. I think Mourinho would love the challenge of coaching some of those players and taking them to the Champs League.

      Also, as I said, I wouldn’t count out Arsenal either, though I suspect Mourinho would want a lot more control to bring in players than the Wenger currently has.

      • I don’t think Arsenal has the money to tempt him to be honest, or at least isn’t willing to spend the money to tempt him (both in his salary, players salaries, and transfer fees).

        From what I’ve read, Ferguson likes (or at least respects) Mourinho, but I do wonder about his ego. Could he accept having a successful successor? Or would he prefer to leave United in the hands of a lesser name, perhaps a name from his past like Solskjaer or maybe Neville. That way Fergie will always be #1 for United.

        I also think Abramovich might regret letting go Mourinho, though obviously they have won things since. Mourinho has probably won more though? Chelsea have 1 league, 1 champions league, and 3 FA cups since firing him. Mourinho has won 2 Serie A, 1 coppa italia, 1 champions league, 1 la liga, and 1 copa del rey, though in 1 fewer season.

        But ya, my money would be on Man City. They have the money, and I think he’d love to replace Mancini again, in order to further 1-up him. but who knows for sure.

        • Fergie doesn’t have to worry about being anything other than #1 for United for a long, long time.

          SB

  3. embarrassing article. this is the kind of articles we used to fawning from the English media when Mourinho was at Chelsea. thought it was long over. anyone who thinks Real Madrid is playing as well as they can is deluded. the matches against Dortmund were illustrative of the decline the coach is overseeing in the club. And to call out the fans to come and abuse him? that was plain idiotic. but obviously, it was the fault of the club president. WTF

    • Would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the magic manager more qualified than Mourinho. Love it. Please, let’s have some names.

      • Is this possibly a difference in debate between:
        1. Is there a better manager than Mourinho for Madrid? (Whittal)
        2. Could Mourinho be getting better results from Madrid? (Madrid fans?)

        Regardless, I like when Whittal challenges the percieved wisdom of a teams fans – and he does it with many teams, not just Madrid.

        • Well phrased, but I think on 2., even if it were true (which some predictive metrics like TSR would counter), surely the answer simply isn’t to get rid of him? That’s the easiest thing for a president to do, and also the most short-sighted.

          • History also shows that the intensity of Mourinho’s schtick doesn’t allow for longevity, and he does things to either (a) leave or (b) get pushed out the door.

            It looks like he’s hit that part of the show in Madrid.

            So, if the question is 2, I’d say there are a lot of tactically sound managers out there who could be the injection of “new” necessary for Real to improve this season.

            If the question is 1, then, once again, there are a number of fresh faces that could do the job.

            Laurent Blanc would be one of them, but since he’s the one I’ve tipped to succeed Fergie, I hope he holds off on Madrid.

            SB

  4. Dismissing insight because of the author’s ethnic origin is strikingly similar to the “you don’t play the game/you don’t know” reasoning of mouth-breathers.

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