Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mourinho and the Madrid love affair

In the wake of recent controversy over the eye gauging incident in the Camp Nou, Jose Mourinho continues to entertain us with his indifferent and individual displays as Real Madrid coach. After almost 10 years at the top of the game, is Mourinho’s ego starting to suffocate Los Blanco’s dreams of lifting yet another La Liga title?

One of the most important things I learnt from Bobby Robson is that when you win, you shouldn’t assume you are the team, and when you lose, you shouldn’t think you are rubbish.”

Mr Mourinho certainly believes the latter statement. Personal confidence is not an issue. However his self-proclaimed title 'the special one', hangs over him like a devil on his shoulder, encouraging and massaging his ego all over Europe, bringing with it a ripple of annoyance.

However on the flip side, let’s not forget that this personality is what makes the man. It is all a part of the act. The designer suit, brown loafers and the charismatic nature. Jose Mourinho is a success, full stop. Everybody in the world game knows this already. Coaches and fans alike understand that when the circus comes to town the ego comes with it, so you cannot ignore the touchline theatrics.

What does this circus act persona buy you? Titles. All 18 of them in under a decade. This is the lure of Mourinho. The controversy he brings with him is merely a shortcoming as his managerial style and close player relationships reign supreme. It is a price Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid pay to win the big European and Domestic titles.

Indeed the great Real Madrid paid quite a handsome sum to prise Mourinho away from his Treble winning Internazionale side. Real’s president Florentino Perez wants titles. The Madridistas want immediate success. A high pressure job which brings unprecedented levels of focus and drive. But Mourinho must focus on the challenge at hand. With a remarkably talented squad at his disposable, he has been given a squad to de-throne possibly one of the best football sides in history, in Barcelona.

But the team is not the primary concern. It is off the field incidents that are making the wrong headlines. Entertaining for Mourinho, but a headache for Madrid’s Public Relations Office. In the heat of the battle some may forgive the eye gauging incident with Barca’s assistant Tita Vilanova. But most of the loyal Madrid fans are in disgust as the club has long been associated with a great public image. It will be a successful year for Madrid and Mourinho, only if the ego takes a back seat, to let his man management take pole position. Get this right, and Los Blanco’s will run Barca close.

Many punters believe that Mourinho’s travels all over Europe are a training program to prepare himself for the big job at Old Trafford when Sir Alex Ferguson decides to drop the gloves. Mourinho certainly has the credentials.  A proven success rate, big home win percentage, great player management. But Mourinho may be flirting a little too heavily with that devil on his shoulder. Those in the corporate boxes in Manchester hold dear the professional and ethical standards that Sir Matt Busby installed all those years ago. The Portuguese is almost ready but needs to polished and finely tuned for the remainder of his illustrious and exciting career.

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