José Mourinho Leaves Tough Task for Successor at Real Madrid

José MourinhoJosé Mourinho’s third and final season with Real Madrid has been full of drama, more than anything. The club recently announced that the Portuguese will not continue in Madrid next season and the club is already looking for a replacement. Mourinho’s time in Madrid can’t be fully considered a success, but it can’t be considered a full failure either, and his legacy in the club will make the job of his successor quite difficult.

Mourinho arrived in Madrid with one thing in mind: ending Barcelona’s era. The coach himself wasn’t too hesitant to admit that his goal was to end Barcelona’s dominance and make Real Madrid a winning team again. He did that by winning the Copa Del Rey during his first season, however, that’s hardly what his first season will be remembered for.

After Mourinho’s arrival in Madrid, the Clasicós became very intense. The rivalry seemed to get out of hand; Madrid played ultra-physical and ultra-defensive football against Barcelona. The Clasicós were no longer a battle on the pitch, they were a battle in the press rooms and sidelines too. It seemed like Mourinho had pulled his team to a state where beating Barcelona was the most important thing. Managing to do that in the Copa Del Rey might not have been done in the most beautiful way, but it added to the players’ confidence, results of which were seen in the following season.

Real Madrid’s season of 2011-2012 was impressive domestically. It’s fair to say that’s when the team played its best football under Mourinho, ended up winning the La Liga and even managed to beat Barcelona in the process, this time, by playing better football. But 2011-2012 wasn’t only the most successful season Mourinho had in Madrid, it was also the turning point of his time with the Spanish giants. The objective had been reached, Real Madrid had beaten Barcelona domestically, and despite the disappointment in Europe, Mourinho’s second year was a success. Then what started the downfall that led to the trophiless season in 2012-2013?

Real MadridPerhaps, in some way, Mourinho ran out of ways to motivate his players. After winning the La Liga ahead of Barcelona, Mourinho could no longer motivate the players with the thought of beating Barcelona, in other words, he could no longer use the tactic that had united the squad and made them a winning force.

When the 2012-2013 season kicked off, the mentality of the squad was nothing like the year before. They impressed in Europe but struggled domestically. And when the Liga title started to slip out of their hands, Mourinho’s relationship to his players started to crack.

It’s hard to say what actually happened between Mourinho and some of his key players such as Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. But it might not be a coincidence that Mourinho’s relationship with the two experienced Madrid-icons fell apart; Mourinho changed a lot and did a lot of things against the club’s values, and the two players didn’t digest that and the relationship broke down. That’s when the whole team started to crack, as the Spanish players took Casillas and Ramos’ side, the Portuguese stars stood behind Mourinho. The unity that had won them the La Liga was long gone, and eventually lead to a trophiless season.

Mourinho leaves Madrid in a state of disaster. He did what he promised to do - ending Barcelona’s dominance in Spain - but failed to keep Madrid on top and failed to maintain the unity of his squad. By Mourinho’s standards, his time in Madrid is not a success and it’s surely not as much as people in Madrid hoped for. Even more importantly, Mourinho leaves a rather difficult task for his successor.

Real Madrid is reportedly chasing Carlo Ancelotti to replace Mourinho, other names linked to the club are Jupp Heynckes and André Villas-Boas. Ancelotti looks like the most likely, and perhaps the best option. He is no stranger to dealing with big egos and the solid display his side put up against Barcelona will surely encourage Real Madrid’s board.

Real MadridHeynckes might well be a good option as well if he decides to continue his career. However, Madrid’s rather complicated situation might see him stay away as the Spanish club’s management is nothing like it was in the very well organized and stable Bayern Munich. Or perhaps Heynckes himself would be the one to stabilize things in Madrid, who knows?

André Villas-Boas, another name linked to Madrid, is a great coach, but taking over a club like Real Madrid might be a bit too much to ask for. Villas-Boas never really got along with the big egos in Chelsea, and there surely won’t be any less of those egos in Madrid. With the urgent need to get Madrid back on track, Villas-Boas - who trusts a process instead of quick changes - might not be the right man for the job.

Either way, whoever replaces Mourinho will have to find a way to unite the squad again. Mourinho leaves Madrid in square one, they have to start rebuilding again, just like they did in 2010 when Mourinho arrived. The progress Mourinho made was more or less destroyed by the internal collapse of the team, something Mourinho himself can be partly blamed for. Mourinho started a fire that got out of control, and now it’s time for Madrid find someone capable of taming the flames.

Written by Jen Evelyn

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Malaga 3-2 Real Madrid: Madrid Slump to Defeat as Decision to Bench Casillas Backfires

A terrible decision on Jose Mourinho’s part has likely put an end to Real Madrid’s chances at defending their La Liga title in the 2012-13 season.

Malaga vs Real MadridAt their game with Malaga, Mourinho made a surprising move and benched world-class goalkeeper Iker Casillas in favor of backup Antonio Adan. The 25-year old Spaniard has made only 8 appearances at his 4 years with Madrid, and he was clearly in no shape to face 4th-placed Malaga at their game today.

Casillas is captain of Real Madrid and the Spanish National Team, both of which have recorded major victories under his leadership. He is a very popular and respected player among his teammates and fans of Real Madrid, and is considered one of the best goalkeepers in history. The FIFPro vote saw Casillas voted top goalkeeper by players all around the world 4 years in a row, and will likely win again next month. This was the 1st time in 54 important league matches that Casillas had not started for Real Madrid, and the squad was clearly not happy with Mourinho. In response to the manager’s decision, Carles Puyol, a Madrid defender, said:

 ”It surprised us, Iker is our captain.”

Mourinho failed to give any reasonable justification as to his controversial decision, only that he thought Adan was in better shape than Casillas.

“We hadn’t been playing well in different aspects of the game, among which was our defence. It was a technical decision. My opinion is the one that matters. I analysed the players I had available and picked the team to play. You can invent the story you want but it is a purely technical decision and nothing more.”

But no matter what reason he gives, one thing will always remain true: By virtue of the inexperienced backup goalkeeper, Mourinho practically handed Malaga 3 points against one of the best teams in the world.

Adan was not tested much in the first half of the match, but conceded 3 goals in the 2nd half and managed only 3 fairly basic saves.

Malaga vs Real MadridIsco scored Malaga’s 1st of the game, but an own goal from Sergio Sanchez equalized the score at 1-1 on the 66th minute. Santa Cruz put Malaga back on top just 7 minutes later, and then doubled their lead on the 76th minute. A desperate attempt to at least gain a single point at Malaga saw Benzema score Madrid’s 2nd goal, but they were unable to tie it up before the final whistle.

Continuing to defend his decision to have Adan start after Madrid’s defeat, Mourinho said that the goalkeeper had “no influence on the result.” In response to questions about a possible removal from the team in his future, Mourinho said:

“Fear for my job? I have never feared for my job.”

“Neither before, during or after the game have I thought about resigning.”

But despite his confidence, Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has a lot to think about now that they head into their brief winter break.

The game, which ended in a 3-2 win for Malaga, was Real Madrid’s 4th loss in La Liga and their 7th in all leagues this season. They are now 16 points short of league leaders and arch-rivals Barcelona, who have a total of 49 points from their astonishing 16-1-0 record. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid, who have 40 points from their 13-1-3 record, still separate Real Madrid from Barcelona. Real Madrid now have 33 points due to their 10 wins, 3 draws, and now 4 losses, while Malaga are just 2 points short in 4th place with 31 (with a record of 9-4-4).

Written by FutbolPulse

Real Betis 1-0 Real Madrid: Shock Loss Could Cost Madrid the Title

Real Madrid’s chances at defending their La Liga title are slowly slipping away from them. This time, Real Betis delivered Madrid’s 3rd loss of the season. Only 1 goal was needed for Betis to overcome the incumbent La Liga champions, who have clearly had a bad season thus far.

Madrid’s defeat was their 1st in their previous 9 La Liga matches, while Betis recorded their 1st win in 3 games, their previous game ending in an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Sevilla. Despite Real Madrid’s domination of the game, the 9 time Champions League winners were unable to penetrate Betis’ solid defense. Betis goalkeeper Adrian was clearly on top of his game, making multiple vital saves.

The first strike was made by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s left-footed shoot was easily punched by the goalkeeper. Madrid’s second good chance was taken by Germany international Sami Khedira, who’s ball went just wide of the goal.

It was Benat, though, who made Betis’ win possible. About 30 yards from the goal, Benat dribbled the ball down past Khedira and slotted it into the bottom-left corner, beyond Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas’ reach.

But it could have ended even worse for Los Blancos. Diving into the left side of the goal, Casillas managed a wonderful save following Castro’s powerful strike.

But after that small 10 minute period of Betis success, Mourinho’s men continued to enjoy most of the domination. Angel Di Maria created 2 great chances to equalize. Di Maria’s fired a shot from close range, which quickly Adrian fended off. Benzema caught the ball at his feet, but was unable to place it in the back of the net.

Benzema was sure he had achieved an equalizer after actually getting the ball past the goalkeeper a few minutes later, but it was ruled offside. Di Maria laid out yet another plan to score, but his narrow-angled shot went wide.

Madrid continued to pound Betis’ goal, but despite the numerous chances, all had went wide or were saved. Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored only once in Madrid’s last 5 matches, was unable to score for the team and was clearly unhappy with the results. There are many rumors surrounding Ronaldo such as a possible move to the Premier League next season or a change in nationality (to Spain) to boost his popularity and success.

Earlier today, Rayo Vallecano defeated Mallorca thanks to 2 late strikes in a match that was nothing short of awful. Valladolid just managed a 1-0 victory over Granada after Manucho scored the only goal of the game just after the hour mark. Malaga overcame Valencia (who came in 3rd last year) in their first league win in 5 matches with the score of 4-0, pushing them up into the top 4.

Real Betis took a much needed 3 points from the game, placing them in 5th with a total of 22 points. They currently harbor a 7-1-5 record and are right behind Malaga. Madrid was unable to gain any points from the match, keeping them in 3rd place with 26 points. They have a dissapointing 8-2-3 record, at this point one of their worst in decades, and are still separated by league leaders Barcelona by Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona has not played their 13th league match yet, so providing the Catalans triumph over Levante tomorrow, the gap between arch-rivals Real Madrid and themselves could rise from 8 to 11. This could be fatal to Real Madrid, for unless there is a major screw-up for Barcelona and a huge improvement on Madrid’s part, it is unlikely they will become La Liga champions this season.

Written by FutbolPulse

La Furia Roja Recieve a Royal Welcome in Madrid

La Furia Roja travel through Madrid on an open-top bus with the tournament cup in celebration of their championship win.

The Spanish soccer team receive a warm welcome by their jubilant fans after yet another extraordinary tournament in Ukraine and Poland. The team flew home to Madrid after their amazing 4-0 final win against Italy. The logo “proud of our national team” was featured on the plane that brought them home. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Coach Vicente del Bosque came out of the plane first, showing off the tournament cup to their native land. Upon their arrival, Spanish King Juan Carlos, along with other royalty, congratulated the team with their victory and held a celebration at Palacio de la Zarzuela. After the reception, the Spanish royalty mingled with the team in the gardens while Prince Felipe’s twin daughters, Sofia and Leonor, watched the tournament cup and grabbed confetti out of its inside.

La Furia Roja then proudly paraded their trophy through the streets of Madrid for 2 1/2 hours, adding large smiles to the faces of the Spaniards despite the country’s economic struggles. The city was packed with thousands of excited fans and was covered in the Spainish colors: yellow and red. After the bus ride, the team went up on the stage in Cibeles plaza, danced to music, and splattering wine at each other in celebration of their wonderful victory.

Written by FutbolPulse