Real Madrid & José Mourinho: Separation by mutual consent?
My Way – one of Ol’ Blue Eyes alias Frank Sinatra’s signature songs is perhaps the best description for The Special One’s probable exit from the Casa Blanca.
And now the end is near; and so I face the final curtain
– My Way, Frank Sinatra
Who knows if Jose Mourinho is a Frank Sinatra fan, chances are he is. Perhaps he takes a cue from Ol’ Blue Eyes and leaves while he’s still on top. Nobody ever told Frank Sinatra, the chairman of the board, anything, much less when he had to leave.
In that regard José Mourinho, the self-styled Special One is akin to Ol’ Blue Eyes, he leaves when he wants to, and his timing is usually impeccable. He’s still revered at all his previous clubs (Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan) because of it.
There’s a before and after José Mourinho. After he has firmly established himself as one of Europe’s elite managers, José Mourinho, is all in a class by himself due to the fact that he has never been fired, he chose to leave.
Nevertheless, if media reports are to be believed José Mourinho’s time at the Santiago Bernabeu is up. Which is a truly puzzling development because just a little over 6 months ago he did the unthinkable – he unseated Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side from the summit of La Liga and led Real Madrid to their first championship since 2008.
Furthermore, he bested the Blaugrana at the Camp Nou and restored some pride at the Spanish capital.
While FC Barcelona’s possession based style of play isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, Mourinho’s Real Madrid side offered explosive counter-attacking football and goals en masse. Furthermore, he guided the Merengues to two semi-final appearances in the Champions League.
In short, his stay at Real Madrid has been a success thus far. He even managed to win this years’ Spanish Supercup, granted, he was aided by a massive Victor Valdes blunder. Still, his Real Madrid side actually beat the arguably best FC Barcelona team in history.
However, the 2012/13 campaign until now has been a mixed bag at best. At this point the league is all but lost, courtesy of an 11 point deficit on La Liga leaders FC Barcelona while Borussia Dortmund has been a formidable opponent in the Champions League.
Real Madrid sit third in the league behind aforementioned FC Barcelona AND Atletico Madrid of all rivals. To a Los Blancos fan that’s the absolute worst scenario imaginable.
Though Real Madrid also overcame a deficit to win the league title in 2006/07, it is highly improbable that it’ll happen again. For one, Frank Rijkaard’s team was falling apart thanks to his lax man-management and Ronaldinho’s decline. This Barcelona side, however, is built around Lionel Messi and can call upon the services of Andres Iniesta and Xavi (amongst others) in their prime.
The media seems to agree and there are rumors swirling around that Real Madrid and José Mourinho have agreed to terminate the Portuguese contract at the end of the current season. Of course The Special One won’t be short of suitors.
One of Europe’s storied clubs would certainly appeal to José Mourinho. The Germans have reached the Champions League final in two of the last three seasons and are perennial contenders for domestic honors.
Though Borussia Dortmund has won the last two campaigns the Bavarians are on track to reclaim their superiority in Germany.
The Bundesliga title would be a nice addition to Mourinho’s trophy cabinet. Furthermore, he’d be the only manager to win domestic titles in the big four leagues (England, Italy, Spain and Germany). Add to the fact that he’d already take over a Champions League-ready team there’s little tinkering required on his part to be successful.
Nevertheless, Bayern Munich demand from their manager to be fluent in German and relative low-profile in the media. After all, it’s more or less Germany’s team and its President, Uli Höneß, is one of football’s most outspoken and strong-willed characters. Never one to care for the feelings of the current Bayern manager he’s not above slamming him in the media.
Verdict: 2 out of 5
José Mourinho and Bayern Munich look good on paper but he’d find his match in Uli Höneß.
The most recent rumor has him linked with Alex Ferguson’s seat at Manchester United.
Out of all jobs this is probably the one Mourinho carves the most due to its exclusivity. While the European elite clubs have more or less switched managers in between them, Ferguson firmly reign(ed) at the Old Trafford.
Is José Mourinho a candidate to succeed Sir Alex – absolutely, but it all depends on whether the Scot retires or not. For the time being he’s one of the top candidates for the job.
Verdict: 3 out of 5
4 ½ when and if Sir Alex Ferguson retires.
The Citizens are definitely out of the UEFA Champions League and possibly the Europa League, too.
In most European top clubs Roberto Mancini would’ve been fired by now. But he still has some goodwill left over from last season’s title-winning campaign and yet to lose a game in the current championship.
Much of his future at Manchester City depends on the outcome of this season, if he fails to retain City’s EPL title he’s out. Even if he manages to retain the trophy there’s still the distinct possibility that he’ll be replaced.
Anything less than a convincing title-defense could cost him his job. Though José Mourinho appears to prefer the other Manchester job, Mancini’s seat poses also an attractive proposition. It wouldn’t be the first time that Mourinho replaced the Italian and improve on his predecessors’ record, especially in Europe.
City already employ the 4-2-3-1 system he successfully installed at Real Madrid, so he’d only need to fine-tune what is already in place.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
It’s a two in one really. José Mourinho would take over a world-class squad and send Roberto Mancini packing. There’s seems to be no love lost between the pair so Mourinho taking over City is a possibility.
When hell freezes over.
Verdict: 0 out of 5
The reigning European Champions are on the verge of exiting Europe’s premier club competition at the group stages. It would be a first and serves to highlight that something is wrong at the Roman Abramovich-owned club.
In all likelihood, Chelsea’s first and foremost problem is Abramovich’s infatuation with getting the best out of his misfiring marquee signing Fernando Torres.
It has already cost Roberto Di Matteo his job, and even under his compatriot Rafael Benitez, El Niño is showing no signs of recapturing the form that made him one of the best strikers in the world.
If José Mourinho has proven one thing – he lets nobody interfere with his decisions. Even at Chelsea he refused to budge to Abramovich’s demand to include Andriy Shevchenko. At Real Madrid, Kaka is still earning his salary as the world’s most expensive substitute.
Fernando Torres under José Mourinho would probably sit on the bench too.
Verdict: 2 out of 5
However, the likelihood improves when and if Torres is removed from the squad.
Carlo Ancelotti is safe for the time being. His Paris side is still in contention to win the Ligue 1 and there’s no viable candidate to replace the Italian (unless one considers Roberto Di Matteo).
But the only thing, or rather person, saving him from the axe is Zlatan Ibramimovic.
If it weren’t for the contributions of the volatile Swede, Ancelotti would’ve been long gone by now. Not to demean the quality of the French league but the level of opposition Paris are facing is not on quite on par with sides of the Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga or Serie A.
Paris St. Germain should’ve been runaway leaders, especially since they have spent more on new recruits than the rest of the league combined.
Paris Saint-Germain is one of the more unlikely jobs José Mourinho would take. It’s probably not the job per se that is unattractive to him but the French championship. It doesn’t pose as much of a challenge to him.
That being said, Paris has only won the French league twice, the last time in 1994. And, if anything, José Mourinho comes with a built-in guarantee of winning all domestic titles.
Verdict: 2 ½ out of 5
Potentially 3, if Paris Saint-Germain fail to win the French league.
Unless Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring at the end of the season it’s likely that José Mourinho decides to pledge his allegiance to the blue half of Manchester. French side Paris Saint-Germain is also an attractive destination but it depends on whether Carlo Ancelotti can win the league or not.
Bayern Munich is probably the only German club Mourinho would ever consider managing, but then again, Uli Höneß is too powerful for the Special One’s taste. Chelsea FC or rather Roman Abramovich still places his faith upon Fernando Torres so London is a no-fly zone for José Mourinho. Who knows? Perhaps José Mourinho stays put after all. Stranger things have happened.
You can follow Sebastian on Twitter @JubeiKibagame.