Interesting take on a Chelsea return. I wonder how he'll do with Mata who doesn't exactly fit in with Mourinho's typical offense. Mata and Torres must have been getting some hints from Iker and Ramos.
Dublin – Friday night at the Bernabeu, and if the people who pull the strings at Chelsea were watching, they will have been reminded of one thing above all. When Jose Mourinho leaves your club, there is usually more figurative bloodshed than in a performance of The Revenger's Tragedy.
Not for Mourinho the discreet exit out the back door and the car to the airport. When he goes, he goes with a bang. Sent off in Friday's Copa Del Rey final defeat, he thrust his face into that of the fourth official before he departed, watched by a bench featuring many of the players he has alienated. The supporters singing his name were the Atletico Madrid fans and they were singing for him to stay.
“'Tis a heavy season,” laments Antonio in The Revenger's Tragedy, one of the few to make it through in one piece to the end. A heavy season indeed. Who has Mourinho made enemies of in his third year at Real Madrid? It might be easier to list those he hasn't. Last week the Barcelona-based newspaper Sport ran a cartoon of a four-man Real team, captioned: “Mourinho picks the four players still on his side.” For the record they were Michael Essien, Diego Lopez, Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso.
The enemy camp is rather more crowded. There is Iker Casillas, Pepe, the Madrid football press, not to mention those who blame Mourinho for driving a schism through the heart of the all-conquering Spain national team. You might add to that list King Juan Carlos, who was handing out the medals on Friday night, a presentation which Mourinho boycotted.
Any suggestion that he may have mellowed from his days of relentless conflict have been well and truly quashed this season. Watching from afar, Chelsea will not want to be swayed on the basis of one more combustible evening, but even they – from Roman Abramovich through to his key advisors and executives, Michael Emenalo, Bruce Buck, Ron Gourlay – must be feeling a little frisson of concern.
Why is Mourinho the right man for the Chelsea job? Easy. He wins trophies, and he did so brilliantly in his three full seasons in England. He is capable of handling the biggest names in the dressingroom because he is, arguably, a bigger name than all of them. He changes games with bold tactical moves, although in fairness, since his days at Uniao de Leiria, it is not like he has been in the habit of managing basket cases.
Mourinho has a lot going for him. But one thing that will mark out his appointment at Chelsea from his recent predecessors is that no one at the club can believe this will go beyond the short term. Mourinho is an impact manager. The only empire he is interested in building is that of his own reputation. The clubs change but the trophies keep rolling in, and that third Champions League title, when it comes, will take him into rarefied company.
Nothing wrong with that, as long as both parties understand what the deal is. But Chelsea would do well to consider now a question that will be asked from the minute Mourinho walks in the door, which is: what do they do on the day that he walks out?
Chelsea's appointment of Andre Villas-Boas two years ago was made with a view to building something similar to Barcelona under Pep Guardiola. Carlo Ancelotti was regarded as a potential long-term team-builder, so too Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2008. All other appointments – Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink, Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez – have been made on the hoof after sackings. Or in the case of Di Matteo last summer, when he was elevated from caretaker status, because the club felt they had to.
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