An uncontrollable controller
Jose Mourinho loves control; control over how his players play, control over transfers, control over what players should talk about after a match. Most of all, he loves to think that he can control the outcome of each and every match. And by controlling the outcome, one means he loves to win. This in itself is a wonderful sentiment. After all, who plays to lose? But the niceties end here.
Looks a little bit out of control, doesn’t he?
Because, funnily enough for a person who loves control so much, Mourinho is unable to control himself. It mostly used to be his out-of-control motor mouth, but judging by his actions in the Supercopa final, his finger just achieved the dubious honour of joining the status of his mouth.
Jose’s Barca obsession..
Now, as a follower of Real Madrid football club, I’m personally of the opinion that Cruyff is a politer version of Mourinho (if such a thing is possible for both men). Cruyff’s opinions/judgements are always seen through Barcelona-tinted glasses. As a Blanco fan, they have always either served to amuse me or just left me questioning his frame of mind. But this time he made some sense with this statement; especially, the last sentence about things never being this bad.
“The problem is that he is getting obsessed with his inability to beat Barcelona. He has crossed the line this time. A lot has happened between both sides in the past, but it has never been this bad.”
For all the talks about Barcelona being obsessed about winning UCL at Bernabeu for 2009 final, Mourinho’s obsession of becoming the greatest coach has no boundaries. More about this comes later in the article.
SPAIN 3-2 CHILE – The end-game tussle!
As the whistle rang out to signal a foul on Iniesta by a Chile player, something rare and wonderful happened. Iniesta lost his cool and Arbeloa slapped an opposition player. “Nothing unusual in football”, one would say.
Normally, a fight in any sport is never any good. But, the people who know of the blood enmity between Real and Barca know better. One only has to see the last few matches between the two sides to understand the level of hatred between the two arch-rivals. So, it was kind of nice to see these fighting together than fighting each other.
There had been a lot of talk of disharmony in the Spanish squad ahead of this friendly match with Chile. It is too early to talk of a good atmosphere. And one fight certainly isn’t enough to draw a partial picture, let alone complete a Da Vinci. But what it does tell is, that primary characters Rosell and Del Bosque who remain behind the scene are in total control of their senses and have the capability to guide the players well.
This now brings us to the main theme of this article.
A tale of two presidents – Rosell and Laporta
Compare and contrast the reactions of the current Barcelona president Sandro Rosell with the former Joan Laporta. There is no mention of the actual incident itself. Neither does Laporta praise the actions of Rosell; just a sly dig at his former rival. Understandable, but pathetic.
Rosell said the following: “Together, we need to lower the tension. If we are not sensible, we will end up killing each other in the street.”
A man who is capable of calm thinking
“The Barca president (Rosell) has said that Barca will not seek punishment for Real boss Jose Mourinho, who appeared to poke Pep Guardiola’s assistant Tito Vilanova in the eye, saying: “He [Vilanova] was the first one who did not want to have any more trouble.”
Laporta: “I have received lots of messages asking my opinion on the things that happened, but I think it’s down to the current Barca president to defend the club, its people and its values”.
Marcelo had made a horrible tackle on Fabregas in the dying stages of the Supercoppa final. In a post-match comment, Xavi said that Marcelo went in with the intention of hurting Fabregas. Casillas accused Fabregas of diving. Both the statements were said in the heat of a fiercely contested match. Also, both players had enough evidence from the past that these incidents were not out of the ordinary for the two sides.
Oddly enough, in the fracas that took place Marcelo was nowhere to be seen. He quietly accepted his red card. He didn’t say anything in his defence unlike Pepe. He just walked off. It was clearly a tackle made in the heat of the moment. There was no intention to hurt a fellow player. And Marcelo knew that he was in the wrong.
Accepting mistakes is a mark of true greatness..
However, later on, Casillas realized his mistake. He called up Xavi and Puyol to apologize. Xavi and Casillas have long shared the dressing rooms, having advanced through the youth Spanish national teams and into the senior team together. Also, despite their club rivalry they have developed a very strong friendship.
Xavi and Casillas: Friends Forever?
It was reported in many places that Xavi ignored Casillas’ call. When the Catalan maestro heard these reports, he moved quickly to quash such nonsense. Xavi contacted Casillas and they held frank discussions.
Casillas also called up Puyol and was able to speak to him. According to El Mundo Deportivo, Casillas apologized for the post-match comments he made to the press about Marcelo’s tackle and was apologetic of the overall conduct of his team; presumably the fights, not staying on the pitch for the trophy ceremony, and coach José Mourinho’s antics.
All three players along with Sergio Ramos held the vital peace talks with Del Bosque as the intermediary. Eventually, both sides realized that no one wanted a good game more than the players themselves. Del Bosque had maintained a stony silence after the final. It was also rumoured that he was working the backroom channels to ensure that the dressing room harmony of the Spanish national squad remained intact.
To their credit, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and their captains showed a greater deal of maturity than Mourinho. A gesture of great decency and a forward looking attitude are the only two phrase that come to mind when one’s sees the actions of all the parties involved.
It would have been too much to expect Perez to actually reprimand his coach publicly. But sometimes silence speaks louder than words. This time around, there were no proclamations from Perez about how Mourinho had defended Madridismo and the ‘Casa Blanca’ did not come out openly in support; which brings us back to Mourinho.
It is my way or the ‘high’ way!
What did Mourinho do with Casillas for this grand gesture? Mourinho ‘rested’ him in the Santiago Bernabeu trophy final. And what treatment had Ronaldo got when he had criticised Mourinho’s defensive setup last season? Funnily enough, Ronaldo too needed an immediate ‘rest’ to ‘calm’ his mind after this. Mourinho knows only one way to operate: It is his way or the high way.
But the actions of Casillas, Ramos and Ronaldo indicate that they too recognize the futility of carrying out Mourinho’s agenda off the field. It is petty and childish.
Mourinho once accused Ronaldo of “not showing maturity and respect,” having had a “difficult childhood” and “no education”. Ronaldo, then a Manchester United player, responded by claiming the coach “does not how to admit his own failures. On the evidence of Supercopa and the Spanish friendly with Chile, it seems Ronaldo might not be as ‘educated’ as Mourinho is, but he certainly behaves in a much more dignified manner than his current boss. And it does seem that Mourinho can’t admit his failures.
Spain’s golden generation must not throw it all away!
Some Barcelona fans might say that Real Madrid players are not needed to win. But one man knows better than all of us: Del Bosque. And even as a neutral observer, Spain would be much poorer if one were to take away Ramos and Casillas.
In Del Bosque they trust..
Spain has a generation to beat all generations. It would be foolish and tragic to throw it all away on the whims of one man; especially, a Portuguese! Such tremendous players come once in a lifetime and one feels privileged to watch them live in action.
Thank god that people like Casillas, Xavi, Del Bosque and Rosell are at the top.
P.S. for Mr. Mourinho
After Barcelona won fair and square, you refused to attend the Supercoppa presentation and probably stopped the Madrid players from appreciating them as well. Watch this video of “El Pasillo” given by Valdes, Xavi and Puyol. And after that, please don’t complain about the sprinklers.
This kind of respect can’t be bought. It has to be earned. Just go and ask Del Bosque and Guardiola.