There is a real possibility that we will see Jose Mourinho pacing the touchline in the Premier League next season.
Despite being 7 points clear at the top of La Liga, and into the Champions League knockout stages, Mourinho is growing tired of the snipping in Madrid and said on Tuesday that “I don’t know if I will be here next season.”
The Special One has 18 months left on his current Madrid contract, so this is the time we should be hearing about a contract extension and not him leaving.
So what is going on at Real Madrid? You have to go back a year when the first cracks in Mourinho’s relationship with Real Madrid President Florentino Perez started to appear. Mourinho was locked in a power struggle against Real’s technical director Jorge Valdano.
Mourinho told Perez he would only stay if Perez fired Valdano, and gave Mourinho all the power. Perez obliged and Mourinho stayed, but Perez found himself having less influence on the team which has not made him happy.
A sign of Perez’s unhappiness at been out of the loop took place last week, when on the eve of Wednesday’s El Clasico, AS newspaper, with close links to Perez, likened Mourinho to Schettino, the captain of the doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia.
But Mourinho’s problems are more than just a power struggle with the Real Madrid’s President. More importantly he has losing the dressing room. Mourinho has always embraced an us-against-them philosophy with Barcelona being the clubs main enemy. The problem is Real Madrid’s Spanish players and some of the club’s biggest stars, are not buying into the anti-Barca philosophy because of the Spanish national team where they play alongside the Barcelona stars and conquer the world.
A sign of how bad the relationship is between Mourinho and his Spanish stars is this exchange on the training ground recently.
According to Madrid-based sports paper Marca, Mourinho accused his playing staff of betrayal following their post-match press reaction on Wednesday night.
During Friday’s session, Mourinho is reported to have turned to Ramos and said:
“You [guys] killed me [with your quotes to journalists] in the mixed zone.”
Ramos is said to have replied:
“No, boss, you only read what was published in the press, not everything we said.”
According to Marca, Mourinho then hit out at the supposed Spanish clique as he responded:
“Of course, as you Spanish are world champions, your friends in the press protect you … like the goalkeeper.”
That was in reference to captain Iker Casillas, who was some 30 metres away and apparently reacted angrily as he protested:
“Boss, here we say things to our faces, eh …”
Mourinho then reportedly turned to Ramos and asked:
“Where were you for the first goal, Sergio? Marking [Gerard] Pique,” he answered, to which the Portuguese countered: “Well, you should have been marking [goalscorer Carles] Puyol.”
Puyol was allowed a free header by Pepe, who lost the Barca captain at a corner, and Ramos claimed he and his team-mate had switched marking duties prior to the set piece.
“He [Puyol] and Pique were drawing the defenders [to leave space for others] and we decided to change the marking [responsibilities],” Ramos is reported to have said. “What’s this then?” Mourinho snarled. “Now you’re trying your hand as coach are you? o, but depending on the match situation, sometimes it’s necessary to change the marking,” Ramos hit back. “And as you have never been a [professional] player, you wouldn’t know that this is sometimes necessary.”
At the heart of Mourinho’s troubles at Real Madrid is his inability to beat Barcelona and his preference for turning every El Clasico into warfare.
Highly-respected Spanish football journalist Siro Lopez, said a week ago that one of Mourinho’s closest allies had told him that Mourinho will walk away from Real Madrid at the end of the season and head back to the Premier League, regardless of whether he wins La Liga and the Champions League this season.
So where will Mourinho end up in England. Three possibilities. One is Manchester City, if Roberto Mancini does not win the league this season. The problem with that is that I think Mourinho wants to manage United not City.
There are rumors in Madrid and London that Real Madrid want Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to replace Mourinho at the Bernabeu. That would leave an opening at the Emirates. Could Arsenal and Real Madrid simply switch managers?
Third is Spurs as Harry Redknapp is expected to take over the England job after the Euro 2012 competition. Mourinho still has a home in London and enjoyed living there while at Chelsea and I expect him to head back to the capital next season.