Mourinho’s latest outburst betrays signs of strain
Real Madrid’s coach has once again been the centre of controversy due to some outlandish declarations. But this time there seems to be less method than usual in Mourinho's madness.
By Guy Hedgecoe
A few weeks ago, Iberosphere put forward the theory that José Mourinho’s recent controversial outbursts had been due to a combination of genuine anger and calculated politicking. That may indeed be the case, but his latest verbal broadside, launched during a press conference on the eve of Real Madrid’s league game against Málaga on March 3, shows very little in the way of calculated pot-stirring, and a good deal in terms of thin-skinned delusion.
In the last few weeks, the Real Madrid coach’s obsession has been the league calendar, and how it purportedly favours the likes of Barcelona and works against his team. “The calendar is set by people who know what they are doing,” Mourinho said after his side drew 0-0 at Deportivo La Coruña on February 26, hinting at a conspiracy. “They do what they want and they will carry on like that.”
But while Mourinho’s previous, controlled, fits of pique generally had a particular individual, team, referee or organisation in their sights, his latest one, ahead of the 7-0 win against Málaga, took more of a machine-gun approach. Having complained once again about the calendar, he took an ungallant swipe at his predecessor, current Málaga coach Manuel Pellegrini (“If Madrid fire me, I won’t go to Málaga, I’ll go to a big club in Italy or England”), called one journalist a hypocrite before apologising to him three times, and apparently criticised his own employers in an obliquely worded monologue (“I don’t think the club either supports me or doesn’t support me”). He even made an allusion to the brother of Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, a football agent who has investments in the property sector.
“Everybody knows what is true and what is a lie,” Mourinho concluded. “I’d rather be a punchbag for all cowards than be a hypocrite. But I was born like this, I was raised like this and I shall die like this.”
Too much Gaddafi?
Perhaps he really had thought it through. Or perhaps he had been watching reruns of Colonel Gaddafi speeches on CNN. Whatever the case, this was something beyond vintage Mourinho, a control-freak who has always relished jousting with the media for his own ends. The calendar argument will run and run, but nobody seriously believes that Real Madrid is deliberately being given a tough agenda. The Pellegrini putdown was also a putdown of relegation candidate Málaga, his next opponent, who in different circumstances would have been handed on a plate the motivation to put up a fight. Nor did Mourinho’s passive-aggressive treatment of the “hypocrite” journalist look either strategic or controlled.
As Jaume Roures of Mediapro, one of the companies with rights to broadcast liga games, said in response to Mourinho’s calendar tantrums: “Looking for distractions to justify bad results is a bad practice. It seems like the whole world is against him, but it wasn’t me who left Ángel di María on the bench the other day.”
Mourinho ahead of Real Madrid-Malaga:
One truth Mourinho may not like to look in the face is that the further Real Madrid have slipped behind Barcelona in the league standings this season, the shriller his complaints have become. Could there be a connection?
There was a certain logic to his agitation around Christmas, when his thinly veiled attacks on Madrid president Florentino Pérez and club director Jorge Valdano led to the club securing the loan of striker Emmanuel Adebayor, a badly needed addition to the squad. But now all we are seeing is seething resentment at how his club is run, at how the Spanish league is organised, at how referees allegedly treat his team and, let’s face it, at how Barcelona continue to make Real Madrid look ordinary.
Rewinding to the clásico game between Spain’s two giants in November might provide an answer. Perhaps Mourinho’s 5-0 loss at the hands of Guardiola’s men that night simply unhinged him. The irony is, Madrid still have (almost) everything to play for this season. The seven-point gap Barcelona have opened up in the league is indeed daunting. But if Madrid can get past Lyon they will have reached the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2004. And tantalisingly, the clásico against Barça will be played out again in the Copa del Rey final on April 20. The strange thing is, Mourinho has been behaving lately like a man who has already lost everything.
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Published: Mar 4 2011
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
Short URL: http://iberosphere.com/?p=2252
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Tags: barcelona, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Barcelona FC, Barcelona vs Real Madrid, Guardiola, José Mourinho, la liga, Mourinho, Real Madrid, real madrid-malaga, Spain football, spanish football