Mourinho has a history of misbehaviour. Yet, in Real Madrid’s last Champion’s League outing he took it to another level. Madrid were dominating a lacklustre Ajax, leading 4 goals to nil. With Real Madrid already booked into the knockout stages of the Champion’s League and the game drawing to a close, Mourinho appeared to send a message to two of his players. By the game’s end, both players received a second yellow card and were sent off for time wasting. It’s difficult to argue that this was a coincidence. This was Mourinho at his coldest and most calculating.
Sergio Ramos and Xavi Alonso, the two players in question will miss Real Madrid’s meaningless final group game as a result of their suspension, but will head into the knockout stages without any yellow cards to their name.
A number of people have come out in condemnation of Mourinho’s ‘tactics’. Arsene Wenger was foremost among them and keen to impart that Mourinho’s actions tarnished football’s image. Wenger told the Press, “Yes, I think there should be sanctions. I do not want to see that, it’s a pity to see that from a big club and, overall, when you see that it gives a bad image of our game – what we don’t want. I respect Real Madrid for their quality and for what they are doing but, whether it’s them or somebody else, you don’t want to see that on the football pitch.”
There are plenty out there who have taken the opportunity to label Mourinho a ‘cheater’. Whilst I see where they are coming from, they are mistaken. Mourinho isn’t a cheat because he hasn’t broken any rules. He merely exploited a loophole. Whether or not Mourinho’s actions were right is another question entirely.
UEFA have subsequently charged both players and manager with improper conduct, but the fine simply isn’t enough. UEFA should act to ensure that this type of thing doesn’t happen again. The fines will raise little more than a nonchalant shrug from the players and barely put a dent in their bank accounts. I feel as though UEFA have missed a chance to make a statement here. They must get across to players and managers alike that this type of behaviour simply isn’t acceptable and will not go unpunished.
Yes, Mourinho’s ‘tactics’ were smart and they were within the boundaries of UEFA’s laws, but that doesn’t mean they should go without condemnation. If it were to become a regular thing, the Champion’s League would turn into a laughing stock. This kind of thing has to stop and only UEFA can make that happen.
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