Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jose Mourinho will probably quit as Real Madrid manager at the end of the season

Mourinho heads into El Clasico with BCN facing mounting criticism from both Real Madrid’s supporters and senior players, and amid claims his spell as Real Madrid manager will not last beyond the summer.

Mourinho’s team are five points clear of Barcelona at the top of the Spanish La Liga, but his position has been undermined by publication of a training-ground argument between the manager and two of his senior players, defender Sergio Ramos and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

The exchange was carried in full by Madrid-based newspaper Marca, which usually serves a cheerleader for the club. Mourinho has not questioned the accuracy of the report, which portrayed him as tetchy and even paranoid.

Towards the end of Sunday’s 4-1 win over Athletic Bilbao, some Madrid fans chanted Mourinho’s name, as if to indicate their continued support for him despite the report. However, a larger section of the Bernabéu crowd responded by whistling, sending a clear signal that they are unhappy with the former London blues manager.

After the game, a leading Spanish journalist, Siro López of AS, told television viewers Mourinho had decided to leave Madrid at the end of the season. López said his source was one of Jose’s closest allies.

The training-ground exchange occurred after Madrid’s 2-1 defeat at home by Barcelona in the Spanish Cup, after which Mourinho was widely criticised for his side’s negative tactics. They go to the Nou Camp needing to win the second match.

Mourinho claimed Sergio Ramos had given a disloyal interview to journalists immediately after the first leg. “You killed me in the mixed zone,” Mourinho is reported to have said.

According to Marca, Mourinho then claimed that the media gives Spanish internationals such as Ramos and Casillas preferential treatment, while Mourinho has to defend his team from the sternest criticism.

“As you Spanish are world champions, your friends in the press protect you ... like the goalkeeper,” he said. Casillas overheard and shouted: “Boss, here we say things to our faces.”

Mourinho then became embroiled in an exchange with Ramos over the failure to mark Carlos Puyol for one of Barcelona’s goals.

Ramos had the final word with a devastating reference to Mourinho’s modest playing career.

“Depending on the match situation, sometimes it’s necessary to change the marking,” he said. “And as you have never been a [professional] player, you wouldn’t know that this is sometimes necessary.”

Ramos, though, denied that the exchange revealed divisions within the squad. “Whoever says the changing room is divided or that some kind of fracture exists is lying,” he tweeted yesterday. “This is a great group that is well united, regardless what is said.”

Mourinho has also been criticised for the behaviour of defender Pepe, who provoked outrage in Spain by feigning injury during the game against Barcelona before appearing to stamp on Leo Messi's hand without sanction. The Spanish ruling body said yesterday that it will take no action against Pepe after studying the incident. Pepe insisted it was accidental.

Publicly, Mourinho insisted that he would win over the fans who barracked him.

“I’m not bothered by the whistles at me,’ he said after the win over Bilbao. “It’s not a problem.

“It’s the first time it’s ever happened to me. There’s a first time for practically everything.

“Zidane was whistled at here. Ronaldo has been ­whistled at here. Cristiano, who is the latest Golden Boot winner, has also been whistled at. Why can’t I?

“Zidane responded with his football, the same as Ronaldo and Cristiano.

“I work hard to be able to respond like they did some day, but there may come a day when the fans are sad.”

According to Marca, this was said in the Bernebeiu dressing room:

MOURINHO: You [plural] killed me in the mixed zone.

RAMOS: No, mister, you only read what it says in the papers, not everything we said.

MOURINHO: Sure, because you Spaniards have been world champions and your friends in the media protect you and because the goalkeeper...

IKER CASILLAS: Eh, Señor, round here you say things to our faces.

MOURINHO: Where were you on the first goal [against Barcelona], Sergio?

RAMOS: Marking Piqué.

MOURINHO: Well, you should have been marking Puyol.

RAMOS: Yes, but they were blocking us off with Piqué and we decided to change the marking.

MOURINHO: What? So now you’re playing at being coach?

RAMOS: No, but depending on the situation in the game, sometimes you have to change the marking. Because you’ve never been a player, you don’t know that sometimes happens.

Source: Marca


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