Goal.com’s KS Leong wonders why the king of anti-football has been so heavily linked with a club that demands extra-terrestrial football...Only at Real Madrid would you find a championship-winning coach given the axe just hours after guiding the team to a title. Only at Real Madrid would you find a football club changing coaches more regularly than footballers changing mistresses. And only at Real Madrid would you see players being whistled at even though they are winning.
Spain’s most successful club have a habit of turning over their personnel as soon as a crisis hits boiling point. And the club’s penas have as much to do with that as the directors up in the ‘White House’ offices, as it is the supporter’s unrelenting pressure and unforgiving disapprovals that often drive the supremos to drop the guillotine. But there are also times when a coach or a group of players will be discarded even though they have earned the fans’ blessing.
Madrid are a complicated club. They are a team obliged to win every game and every major piece of silverware on offer. Yet, paradoxically, winning isn’t everything. Winning in style is the Holy Grail. Even then, that may not be enough for a coach to be rewarded with a contract extension, as Vicente del Bosque will tell you. So, why would Los Merengues sought the services of Jose Mourinho? Or to be more precise, why would the Spanish press push for the ‘Special One’ to take over the Santiago Bernabeu hot-seat from Manuel Pellegrini?
It’s well known that Mourinho is a highly tactical and defensive-minded coach and he has just about as attractive a playing style as Fabio Capello, something that will not sit well with the fans, the critics or the club’s board of directors. He also has a poor record in the Champions League in recent seasons. In fact, ever since he guided Porto to the crown back in 2004, the Portuguese has never gone all the way to the final of the competition again, and three semi-final appearances with Chelsea was the best that he could manage.
Granted, that is better than what Madrid have been doing in the past five seasons in Europe’s showpiece club tournament, but then again, they have had five different coaches. Besides, Madrid’s main objective isn’t to simply make the semi-finals of the competition, it’s to win it. And Mourinho, based on his recent track record, isn’t the man for the job. And if Madrid want to rival Barcelona in the champagne football business, then Mourinho definitely isn’t the man for the job.
Don Fabio banished because of his boring football
Los Merengues aren’t having any problems in La Liga either and there’s nothing special that ‘Mou’ can do that a handful of other coaches can’t. Sure, it has been a while since Madrid have commanded the summit of the league for long periods, but had it not been for Barcelona, they would be coasting away at the top of the league – at the top of any of Europe’s big leagues, for that matter – at present. And had it not been for the Blaugrana’s unprecedented brilliance last season, Juande Ramos would probably have led the ‘Men in White’ to another domestic crown. In fact, had it not been for Barca, Bernd Schuster might still be in charge.
Yet, the Inter tactician continues to be linked with the Madrid coaching role, not for the first time and certainly not the last. For the record, Mourinho has refused to be drawn in to allegations that he’s on his way to the Spanish capital. A majority of the Madrid fans have said “no way” to Jose, while the Madrid players are all firmly behind Pellegrini and the club’s big-wigs have never hinted that they are seeking a replacement. That leaves us with only one conclusion: The press wants Mourinho to win the Copa del Rey for Madrid.
While it’s true that he has a phenomenal home record, having not lost a game in his own backyard since 2002, the very year Madrid last won the Champions League, it’s worth mentioning that Pellegrini currently has a 100% home record in La Liga and at the rate things are going, Los Blancos could very well end the season winning every league game at the Bernabeu.
But having a proven winning record is insignificant at Madrid. If it were that simple, del Bosque would never have been axed. If it were that simple, Jupp Henyckes – who led Madrid to Champions League glory in 1998, only to be sacked shortly after – would still be at the helm.
Del Bosque booted for looking boring
Mourinho will never last at Madrid, unless he can bring home a ‘sextuple’ or the very least a ‘treble’ in his first season. And even then, that will only guarantee him one more season at the most. The football mentality is vastly different in Spain than it is in Italy or England. In Serie A, 1-0 victories are all that are required from a team, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic would put it. In the Premier League, the fans and the club chairmen would still throw their weight behind a manager in times of trouble. But in La Liga, neither of the above applies.
If Mourinho is not driven out midway through his first term by the white hankies at the Bernabeu or the scathing reviews by the press for his anti-football, he will be kindly asked to vacate his seat by ‘El Presidente’ at the end of the campaign for failing to entertain the crowd.
Things are never simple at Madrid, but sometimes, it can be the simple things that force the club to make mind-boggling decisions.