Is Jose Mourinho’s head already in England?
Defeat is written on the faces of the Real Madrid players, it’s in their body language and in their lack of fight to see out winning positions. Jose Mourinho has battled and fought his way to glory wherever he’s been, however largely his methods haven’t been well received. The Portuguese has also written off Real’s chances at the title, as they currently sit 13-points behind Barcelona.
Is his head in England? Not necessarily, but it’s certainly not in Spain. He wants it to be done his way and he’ll fight whoever stands in his way. He’s drawn swords against Alberto Toril, the Castilla coach, and his expression told most of the story the last time he was pictured next to Florentino Perez.
Which one comes first? Mourinho forcing his way out or Mourinho being forced out? Is this a master plan or is he sailing with the tide, a tide that wants nothing more than for him to be removed?
Perez may look to bring in a number of new faces for the squad during the summer, but it’s so much easier to just replace the manager if the team aren’t winning. But it’s never his fault, of course. Mourinho will pass the buck down to any number of his players and lay the blame squarely at their feet. More often than not he’ll start with the senior Spanish players and their closest allies.
Is that why we saw such a slump in Mesut Ozil’s production up until the past few weeks? Sergio Ramos, who belongs in that circle of Spanish seniors, is close with Ozil and deemed his action to be an act of friendship. Wearing the German’s shirt under his own, Ramos may be forgiven for simply looking to dedicate his next goal to his comrade. In the eyes of Mourinho, it was an act of rebellion.
This isn’t the all-conquering Real Madrid that swept through the second half of last season with near ease. There were problems then, but they were somehow pushed to the side. Overcoming Barcelona and putting Pep Guardiola’s team to the sword would take greater precedence than internal squabbles.
The media hate it but they sort of love it, too. They’ve apparently been given license to go to work on Mourinho and help facilitate his removal. The English press, on the other hand, can’t get enough of the manager. He’s box office. So who’s wrong? The Italians didn’t fancy him either, and yet so many of Inter Milan’s players spoke incredibly highly of their once leader.
Would Mourinho be a success again in England? Unquestionably, but at what price? Barcelona opted against appointing Mourinho prior to handing Guardiola the job, and there’s plenty of reason to understand why. Where’s the evidence? Look at the current storm hanging over the Bernabeu. I’ve said it before, Mourinho has been handed the keys to the stadium but it will never be enough.
Most major clubs would fall over themselves to sign Mourinho when (not if) he leaves Real. There’s the siege mentality and then there’s a number of laughable and even irritating actions. The decision to stand up against the supporters at 9:20pm in an almost empty Bernabeu ahead of the Madrid derby was laughed off by his players. What’s to take seriously from that?
Other fans and specifically those of one club will look down on the idea of playing a ‘destroyer’ in the middle of the pitch to stop the tide. Pepe isn’t the most likeable character in football, but he’s one of Mourinho’s.
And that’s what you get, the success will come but you lose something in the process. This is not the Real Madrid way. The football hasn’t always been to their liking. Why invest around £200 million on four players alone if you’re going to have a divided dressing room, one which has Mourinho’s allies sitting on opposite sides to those who champion the values and traditions of the club?
Mourinho may return to England in 2013, he may look to another project in France. But at this stage the ties between himself and the La Liga champions—his La Liga champions—have been broken.