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Where do Mourinho and Guardiola go from here?

In the wake of four clashes between Real Madrid and Barcelona in 18 days, the after-shocks from the quartet of El Clásico matches will continue reverberating all the way through the summer.


Mourinho (left) looks set to stay at Real next season, but Guardiola's future is less certain.

La Liga and the Champions League are still to be decided but already pundits and the general public are talking about what will happen when the season comes to an end after the recent series of Barcelona and Real Madrid matches.

At the start of April, there was speculation that if things went badly wrong for Real coach José Mourinho, he might leave at the end of the season.

Well, apart from lifting the Copa del Rey on April 20, things could hardly have gone worse.

The 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu on April 16 effectively handed the league title to Barcelona and the Catalans could close the issue with a draw in this week’s game against Levante or if Real drop points against Getafe.

After the Copa del Rey final in Valencia, Real then crashed out of the Champions League in two astonishingly bad-tempered games with their eternal rivals, with analysts after the first leg dusting off the old phrase ‘anti-football’ to describe the fouls and subsequent histrionics from both sides.

Barcelona now have a chance of becoming Europe’s top team for the third time since Real last won the Champions League in 2002, while Los Merengues remain searching for their own Holy Grail, a record 10th title.

Mourinho’s petulant and somewhat paranoid outburst after the semifinal first leg also made himself, and to a lesser extent Real, laughing stocks around the world.

In times gone past, the results alone over the three weeks of games, regardless of his ranting against referees in general and Barça in particular, would have been enough to get him the sack at the end of this month.

However, perversely after all that has happened, Mourinho is clearly here to stay, at least for another season, as Real president Florentino Pérez has no one else to turn to.

After all, he lured Mourinho to Real Madrid after he had won the treble with Inter Milan, an unheard-of feat for an Italian club, made him the world’s highest paid coach at an estimated salary of €13 million a year and then gave him unprecedented autonomy for a coach at the club.

As the news agency Bloomberg recently wrote: “José Mourinho is dismantling a half-century-old hierarchy at Real Madrid.”

“The 48-year-old coach reports directly to President Florentino Pérez and rules on everything from player trades to the squad’s Adidas AG apparel,” continued the article.

Making Mourinho the eighth coached to be sacked in his eight years – across two stints – at the helm of Real would be a disastrous reflection on Pérez’s decision making, and very costly as well with a multi-million euros redundancy package being required.

All the signs are that Pérez understands this scenario.

Still the fans’ favourite

Sacking Mourinho would also possibly turn the club’s fans – who still back the Portuguese coach judging from the placards at recent games – vehemently against Pérez despite all the largesse he has lavished on the club.

Mourinho found an unlikely supporter last week in the shape of Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff.

“Mourinho has done his job; in his own way, as he understands football, but he’s just the coach. Above him there is someone who decides everything. The president is in charge. The president is who makes the line of the club. The president will decide what they want and how he wants his team to perform. And then you get your coach,” said Cruyff.

“Florentino signed Mourinho to end the supremacy of Barça at any price. Disrespect professional football, complain about everything, he does not care so long as Real Madrid win,” added the Dutchman.

Rather than Mourinho departing, it is likely to be the self-styled ‘Special One’ who is wielding the axe – among the playing staff.

Odds on to leave are former wunderkind Sergio Canales, who Mourinho obviously doesn’t hold in high esteem; the talented midfielder Pedro León, who has fallen out with Mourinho for criticising him and leaking dressing room discussions to the media; the on-loan Emmanuel Adebayor, who has not lived up to his promise apart from one outstanding game against Lyon, and the injury-prone Argentine midfielder Fernando Gago.

It would also be no surprise to find Lass Diarra and Esteban Granero also handed their cards as Mourinho continues to re-model his team.

Endgame for Guardiola?

Curiously, while Mourinho looks set to stay in Madrid, Guardiola could potentially leave the Camp Nou this summer.

In theory, the 40-year-old former Spanish international has a contract until the end of next season.

However, if Barcelona were to beat Manchester United at Wembley on May 28, a repeat of the 2009 final which Barça won 2-0, then it is not beyond the bounds of possibilities that he could seek new pastures before the start of August.

Maybe he would take the view there would be nothing left to achieve at the Catalan club, after also guiding Barcelona to the first treble by a Spanish team two seasons ago, as well as taking another three trophies in 2009.

Guardiola has already hinted that his time at Barcelona is coming to an end, although he hasn’t said when that might be.

“I want to create my own history and then when I’ve done that and leave, it’s good, there are no regrets. I know I did my best and we won something,” said Guardiola last month.

“I think I will eventually coach somewhere else,” he added. “You cannot always stay in one place but Barcelona is my home for now. I live there; I grew up as a player and coach there.

“For me it’s a dream to be there, but I also know for a coach it’s a short period and I don’t know how long it will be. It depends on my mood, whether the enthusiasm is there to train and to keep going,” he added, hinting at some restlessness.

Manchester United and Inter Milan are regularly mentioned as being at the head of the queue for his services and should a suitable vacancy open up at either club, then he might yet wave goodbye to Barça in the near future.

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Published: May 9 2011
Category: Sports
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
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2 Comments for “Where do Mourinho and Guardiola go from here?”

  1. Why are aren’t you mentioning he antics of Barcelona cheats who fake injuries at minimum contact ? Why aren’t you citing UEFA who name referees that clearly favour Barcelona ? Why aren’t you referring to the ridiculous sent off of Pepe in the first leg, and the disallowing of Real Madrid’s goal in the second leg ? These are are pure scandals and you have the audacity to say that Mourinho is petulant and the laughing stock of the world ?

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