Barcelona again came from behind to pass Real Madrid's midfield cloggers into submission, how long can Mourinho continue to build a team that is the diametric opposite of the club's principles?
After years in the Spanish capital I find Real Madrid fans fall into two categories, the ones who are cultured, can hold a conversation about subjects other than football, understand the basics of the game and have an inkling that other teams exist beyond their own, while still proudly claiming theirs to be the greatest team in the world.
And the other lot who just think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, nothing else exists and that FC Barcelona and all things Catalan are works of the devil
Both these groups of people suffered yet more misery at the hands of their nemesis last night when Barcelona again popped into the Bernabeu, gave Madrid a goal head start, then proceeded to ‘pass them to death’ and ease past them for a 2-1 win in the Spanish Cup quarter-final first leg.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho seems to have hit a brick wall and regressed when it comes to Barca. Last night he went back to the original plan he employed in the four games the two teams played last April, when he had some joy in snatching the Spanish Cup away from Barcelona in extra time.
His only explanation was to blame the defeat on softly conceding Barca´s equaliser from a corner
Despite the biggest budget (perhaps now bar Man City, but it certainly was 2 to 3 summers ago when this team was assembled) in world football, Mourinho filled his midfield with cloggers and workhorses in an attempt to stop Barca´s free flowing football.
The plan did not work for more than 25 minutes and that is now the third Barca win in the Bernabeu in the last twelve months. Despite a 5 point lead in the league (Madrid have to go to Barcelona in April) and a last 16 spot in the Champions League, Madrid’s season is in danger of falling apart.
How can this be? Ask supporters of every other club in the world. The problem Madrid have is twofold, it is one of expectation, they, meaning the press, fans and board expect the world. And secondly their problem is Barca, who continue to prove to be miles ahead of the team from the capital.
In 2000 Fifa, in their wisdom (because we know how wise that lot are) decided to award Real Madrid the title of ‘World Club of the Century’.
To be fair this came on the back of 2 Champions Leagues in 1998 and 2000, and before a third in 2002 with Raul in his pomp. Add to that 6 European Cups lifted in the 50’s and 60’s, albeit before the involvement of any British sides, and Fifa had a case for their decision.
The title however only served to inflate the increasing arrogance of a club built on the values of ‘señorio’ – a Spanish concept best explained as acting nobly and magnanimously with a high sense of ideals.
As each season begins all linked with Real promote the dream of ‘raising the tenth’, alluring to finishing the season with their 10th Champions League, a title some Madridistas believe to be their birthright.
Last night’s attempts show they are still are far cry from achieveing this. efforts to overcome a completely dominant Barca side again resorted to the dark arts, as witnessed by Pepe´s stamp on the hand of Lionel Messi and countless other challenges.
Mourinho's tactics were a world away from the foundations of the club put into place by Santiago Bernabeu, a man still talked about in hushed tones by people with ‘madridismo’ at heart.
Jose was a man with few answers in the late night press conference in the bowels of the great Stadium. His only explanation was to blame the defeat on softly conceding Barca´s equaliser from a corner, the prospects of winning the tie he saw as ‘difficult’.
Until he can find a way past Barcelona and manage expectations, ‘the special one’ has his work cut out at the club of the last century in search of the ‘señorio’ of days long gone.
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