It has been made official. Real Madrid has announced Jose Mourinho’s exit from the club at season’s end. The Special One departs from the club after what he describes as ‘the worst season of his career’. Truth be told, every story has two sides. Where Mourinho might not be happy with the way this season has turned out, Madrid didn’t have much to celebrate either. The club witnessed a 13 point gap from the leaders Barcelona in La Liga eventually losing the title. Dortmund thrashed Madrid in the semi-finals to book an all-German final for themselves. To cap it all up, they also suffered defeat on the hands of Atletico Madrid in Copa del Rey final.
Apart from the Super Cup at the beginning of the season, Madrid had a disappointing run. But the damage extended further than trophies. The year was surrounded with news of rows between Mourinho and his players. Reports were heard about rift between Manager and players hinting lack of hierarchical communication. The manager to everyone’s surprise dropped Casillas to the bench stating he prefers Lopez as the better goalkeeper.
Although Jose Mourinho has brought joy to the Madrid family by bringing every domestic trophy and breaking Barcelona’s domination over El Clasico but their journey together has ended. The Special One is now strongly linked with a move to Chelsea but the main question that arises is, how will Madrid be after Jose? Is it really for the better, or despite all the drama, Mourinho was the best man to serve Los Blancos?
For better or for worse, the club will witness some inevitable changes.
Probably the worst move Jose Mourinho made during his reign at Real Madrid was to side-line Iker Casillas. The No.1 goalkeeper for Spain’s International team was first dropped to the bench by Mourinho in the away tie against Celta Vigo in Spanish Cup which they lost 2-1. Casillas started in the return leg played at Santiago Bernabeu and the team won 4-0 eventually progressing in the tournament. The Spanish keeper has been an unused substitute for the last eleven games played by Real Madrid. The club has lost 5 games and drawn 1 of the total of 13 games Casillas hasn’t played in.
Casillas’ international teammate Xavi has expressed his disapproval on the way the keeper has been treated, adding that the Portuguese manager has treated him like deadwood.
Speaking on an interview with Marca, Xavi said, “He doesn’t deserve it. I’m not objective on the matter, because of my friendship with him. In September, they were touting him for the Ballon d’Or and now it’s like he’s dead wood.”
Mourinho’s departure surely brings glad tidings for Xavi, and Casillas himself who can now return to first-team line-up for Los Blancos. His return would bring smiles on the face of many Madridistas who have been itching to see him back on the field for them.
One positive Mourinho did manage to bring to the club was to break Barcelona’s domination in El Clasicos. In his three seasons at the club, Madrid won 5 and drew 6 out of the 17 El Clasicos in all competitions. Real Madrid hasn’t lost to Barcelona in the last five El-Clasicos, all in the current season. If there’s one thing Madrid has achieved under the Special One is progress and consistency when it comes to defeating their greatest rival in Spain.
Mourinho was a tactic mastermind, he had successfully developed a strategy to break Barcelona and give Madrid the edge. It all depends on whether the team continues with the same principles and whether the new manager learns how Mourinho mastered the art of winning against Barcelona.
Sadly it might be difficult for Real to maintain their domination next season and Barcelona is most like to return to winning way when it comes to El Clasicos.
Bye-bye to wit and bluntness
The Special One is one of the most straightforward managers in football. Whether it be his team, the media or his rival manager. He puts it as it is. The level of ego in Real Madrid players might not have been accommodating of his attitude but it was one of the major factor that influenced them to perform better. For Mourinho, if the team was responsible for a defeat, he made sure it was realised. There was no hiding.
If not the players, the Spanish media will surely miss his witty and straightforward statements.
Forever remaining stain on Mourinho’s character is the incident that occurred in the last season’s El Clasico tie in the Super Cup. During the fight that started between Madrid and the Catalans, Jose Mourinho sneaked up to Tito Vilanova and poked a finger in his eye. Vilanova who was an assistant coach under Pep Guardiola at that time reacted by shoving him away. The act was obviously caught on camera but it took Mourinho an entire year to confess and express his regret over the incident.
In an interview for Fox Sports, Mourinho said, “I should not have done what I did, obviously not… the person who messed up there was me.”
The El Clasicos will continue to have its share of in-play fights but there will surely be no more eye poking.
Mourinho’s time at Real Madrid had been surrounded by reports about in-fighting between him and the players. The tension between him, Ramos and Casillas was highlighted earlier this year when the two players were rumoured to have threatened leaving the club if Mourinho wasn’t sacked. These reports were declared false by both players on the club’s official website but the existence of tension between the coach and the players was undeniable.
The Special One had a difficult time getting along with few of the board members and the players at Santiago Bernabeu. The stress on him had increased as the club struggled to win anything this season. The announcement of Mourinho’s exit from the club doesn’t come as a surprise but offers itself as a mutual peace offering.
Life after Mourinho at Madrid looks to be better than worse for Los Blancos as it’ll be without its occasional disruption to the chain of command, and intensified drama.