End of the road for Mourinho?

Real Madrid CF v RCD Espanyol - La Liga

They sit a massive 16 points behind league leaders Barcelona going in to the winter break. Following the disappointing 3-2 loss at Malaga, speculation is rife that Mourinho might be heading for his Real Madrid exit sooner rather then later. Given that they’ve just been drawn against Manchester United in the Champions League, Marcus Christenson from the Guardian, explores whether the self proclaimed ‘Special One’ will be around to lead Madrid into the tie.


José Mourinho knew he was taking a gamble by dropping Iker Casillas for the game against Málaga but he could not have expected it to backfire so spectacularly. Casillas, the Spain No1 who had not been left out of a Real Madrid team for an important fixture for 10 years, sat on the bench – in ridiculous red and black socks drawn up above his knees – and watched as the reserve goalkeeper Antonio Adán conceded three goals (two of them from the Manchester City reject Roque Santa Cruz) in Málaga’s 3-2 win.


Mourinho said the decision was “purely technical” and, asked whether he believed Adán was the better keeper, he said: “In my opinion? Of course.

2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge Superstar Press Conference

“The coach analyses the situation and analyses the players available, chooses the team to play. You can invent all the stories you like but it’s a purely technical decision and nothing more.”



The decision to drop one of the best goalkeepers in the world, although his form has been unusually uneven this season, is particularly intriguing as it comes only a week after Mourinho had a heated discussion with the Marca journalist, Antón Meana, in which he referred to having “three rotten eggs” in the squad.

It was supposed to be a private conversation but one got the feeling Mourinho did not mind it reaching the public, which it did a day later when Marca published a full account of the confrontation during which the manager is alleged to have said to Meana: “In the footballing world, me and my people are at the top and in the world of journalism you are a piece of crap.”

Mourinho is becoming more and more erratic. There is almost a sense he does not care if Real fire him or not. A few weeks ago Mourinho had offered the fans the chance to vent any frustration with him by coming out at the Bernabéu 40 minutes before the derby against Atlético – a reaction to jeers during a Copa del Rey tie against lower league Alcoyano a few days earlier. Only 5,000 fans were there at the time so it was difficult to judge how the majority of Real fans were feeling but Mourinho was certainly not backing down from a confrontation.

So, just like last season when details of unrest between Mourinho and Casillas/Ramos appeared in the press, an uneasy truce is likely to be forthcoming. There does not seem to be any other options. And despite all the problems last season, Real won the league and were one spectacular Bayern Munich performance away from reaching the Champions League final last season.

Manchester United v Inter Milan

Expect Mourinho to fight on, and to be in charge of Real when the Champions League resumes in February. Sir Alex Ferguson will have noted the result against Málaga and the furore over Casillas, but he will also be fully aware that it will count for nothing when his Manchester United faces the enigma that is José Mourinho on 12 February.

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