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Abdalla M. Taryam: Jose and Madrid not breaking up just yet
February 02, 2012
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The English media love him and he thrives on the attention they give him. Maybe it’s a match made in heaven, but is it the right time for Jose to ditch his Madrid project and set sail to conquer England once again? I am not convinced.

When Jose took over at Chelsea in the early stages of the Roman Abramovich era, he was tasked to win titles from the get go. Although Chelsea were already a steady team that had won a fair amount of titles (cups) and nearly always qualified to European competitions through high finishes in the English Premier League, they rarely competed for the title. In fact, when Jose started his English tenure, Chelsea had only previously claimed one solitary top-flight league title way back in 1955. It was obvious that initially, an EPL title was a priority for the new owner and would be a massive gift for their fans.

If you are a winner in England you can basically get away with whatever hullabaloo you spew out. Jose hit the right buttons with the English by delivering the EPL title and they indulged regardless of his behaviour.

In Italy, Jose quickly made many enemies within the Serie A clubs and at the sports desks of the Italian papers. He stuck by his off-field tactics that were fruitful in England and continued his league title successes to the resentment of his rivals, but in Italy he found out that win or lose they will not tolerate his disrespectful ways. Besides, Inter Milan had won the Scudetto three years running when he replaced Roberto Mancini. It was evident that more league successes, although appreciated, won’t be considered “special.”

But Mourinho went one better in Italy. He silenced his critics all over Europe by delivering the Champions League to Inter Milan and completing the first Italian treble winning season. That was his get out of jail for free card.

Madrid came knocking. If he was able to do it with a squad whose core players were in fact Madrid rejects, then the sky is the limit with the 500 million Euro squad. Not quite.

“Manita” is what the Spaniards called it. The term that translates to “little hand” is what was shoved down Jose’s throat by the Barcelona-based papers a few months into his Spanish job. It was supposed to be the game that restores Madrid’s pride, but a 5-0 whipping and the first signs of frustration from the Madrid players did exactly the opposite.

Typically Mourinho hit back with the only way he knows: in the pressroom. He underestimated the Spanish press though. Unlike England, the major Spanish papers are divided with their football allegiances. It’s Barca vs Madrid in everyday life. Even across social media. Soon enough it became Barca vs Jose.

While Guardiola and his boys would answer on the pitch, Mourinho sat in the pressrooms and attacked and belittled anybody involved with Spanish football. With every passing Clasico failure, Mourinho just found a way to become a little nastier. It wasn’t helping that Madrid’s president was throwing all his eggs in Jose’s basket either, forcing the Madrid half of the Spanish press to follow suit and creating a dangerous atmosphere in Spanish football.

Mourinho’s record in 10 Clasicos so far is the poorest record of any Madrid manager. He has only won once and even that needed extra time. His team’s goal difference is -10 and worst of all he has lost 3 times at the Bernabeu.

With a 7-point advantage, it is fair to say that he will probably win the league this year, ending Barcelona’s 3-year dominance. But anything other than a 10th European title will surely be considered a failure. Jose recently said that he would be happy to lose to Barca twice and take the title but that’s exactly what makes Madristas furious.

With all due respect to Chelsea and their fans, Madrid is not Chelsea. Neither do Inter compare to them. We are talking about a club that has collected 31 Ligas and 9 European titles. They spend hundreds of millions on players every year, not to mention Mourinho’s record-breaking wages. Delivering a 32nd Liga title and skipping town would definitely be a “George Bush - Mission Accomplished” moment.

Madristas are used to winning. They have been putting up with Jose’s shameless ways for a while and they expect their invested patience to have a return of more than a Liga title. That goes for the fans, Real Madrid’s president and the Madrid press that are shying away from the blind support they used to afford him. The fans are booing his tactics, the media is criticizing his antics and he’s allegedly considering a move away in the summer. That won’t go down too well in Spain.

Of course the elusive 10th European crown is still achievable and a pleasing Camp Nou victory in April is not far fetched. But without those two events happening I don’t think Jose’s tenure would be considered a success. He would have unfinished business and that is not how he left his previous three clubs.

Jose is arrogant and will not allow the press to have the upper hand. He has made Real Madrid football club all about Jose Mourinho and he is not about to give it up. Unless Mr Florentino Perez finally realises that Jose has tarnished Real Madrid’s name with his appalling conduct and fires him, I think Mourinho will stay a while. Besides, how many English clubs have a realistic chance of luring him? But that’s a different topic all together.
 
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  The author, an engineer by profession and an amateur coach, employs his love of the game to comment on it
 

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