Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho v The World

The Spanish season hasn't properly kicked off and already the special one has shown that he's again prepared to channel Howling Mad Murdoch. Here's some of his best spats...
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The Spanish season hasn't properly kicked off and already the special one has shown that he's again prepared to channel Howling Mad Murdoch. Here's some of his best spats...

In nearly 12 months at Real Madrid, José Mourinho has picked a fight with just about everyone and everything imaginable in what has been a sensationally scandalous spell in Spain. Here’s the best of the bunch of the Special One’s spats.

Mourinho vs Real Madrid

The traditional question put to anyone joining Real Madrid from the fawning local press pack is whether the new arrival has always dreamed of being at the club. The usual routine is to claim the unfortunate “I love Barça!” quotes from the previous week were mistranslated and then lie shamelessly about the unadulterated joy felt about being in the Spanish capital.

Mourinho was one of the first to give a truly honest response at his first press conference. “I’ve done enough to be here,” announced Mourinho in a reminder to his Bernabeu bosses that his very recent Champions League win with Inter meant that the desperate club needed the coach more than the coach needed the desperate club.

Mourinho’s frustrations at managing at a bafflingly political institution that he claimed was like “landing on the moon” came to a head in December after a narrow 1-0 win over Sevilla when the Madrid boss went into the press room Neville Chamberlain-style clutching a list created by an unnamed club entity that detailed 13 refereeing errors that Mourinho was supposed to share. “If they want to hide behind the club, that’s fine,” stormed Mourinho who refused to read the charge sheet.

The manager’s rage at Real Madrid which many suspected would bring about a swift sacking stemmed from a personal feeling that Mourinho was Madrid’s fall guy, the stooge, the only mug with the cojones to air the club’s private views that referees and the fixture computer were doing everything to get in Real Madrid’s way.

Another clash came when Mourinho was very public in his desire to be temporary manager of Portugal after the dismissal of Carlos Queiroz in September as he was only on “ten days of holidays” for la Liga’s international break and more than capable of doubling up. Although Mourinho reportedly met up with his country’s FA, no formal request for his release was made to his club who were reluctant to see their coach spread too thinly.

When Mourinho boasted in September that he was “the ideal person to be at Real Madrid as I’m not afraid of anyone,” the former Chelsea man wasn’t wrong.

Mourinho vs Jorge Valdano

From the very first press conference last May when José Mourinho was presented as the latest manager of Madrid, it was clear that the Director General, Jorge Valdano, wouldn’t be the one wearing the trousers at the Santiago Bernabeu now that the Special One had arrived.

When Mourinho boasted in September that he was “the ideal person to be at Real Madrid as I’m not afraid of anyone,” the former Chelsea man wasn’t wrong.

Valdano was already off to a bad start having upset Mourinho due to an article written in Marca in 2007 suggesting that the new boss never having made it as a player made him defensive and unimaginative as a manager, an opinion he was forced to grovel an explanation for at the presentation.

The pair then clashed over Mourinho’s continuing insistence on another striker with just two on the books and one of those, Gonzalo Higuaín, out from November for five months with a back injury.

In January the evident tensions came to a head with Real Madrid drawing 1-1 with Almería and Valdano noting on television that, “there was a number nine (Benzema) on the bench today. If there’s something that this team does lack, it’s goals.”

“I’m too old for little messages being passed through the press. I choose the team and the decisions are mine,” was the manager’s terse response in a relationship that started badly and went downhill from there.

Mourinho vs UEFA

“Por qué?...Why?” mused a baffled José Mourinho after April’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona in the Santiago Bernabeu. The Special One wasn’t chin-stroking on how he could ever have imagined that his side could beat Barça without his players being able to cross the halfway line without signed permission in triplicate, but what hold Barcelona could possibly have on UEFA that apparently saw the organisation doing everything it could to give the Catalan club a helping hand in life.

“I don't know if it's the UNICEF publicity or the friendship of (Spanish FA head) Villar at UEFA, where he is vice president, I don't know if it's because they are so nice, but they have got great power,” grumbled the Madrid manager with unwise words that cost him a five match ban.

It was the second time in the year that Mourinho had fallen foul of Michel Platini’s wrath as the Portuguese coach was suspended for one match for provoking yellow cards for his players in a clash against Ajax with progress out of the group stages having been secured.

Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola

The genuine respect and admiration for Pep Guardiola that José Mourinho once held crumbled like Dani Alves as a bicycle breezes past during the pressure of the four Clásico matches. Before the first Champions League game, the Madrid manager scoffed that his counterpart belonged to a new group of football coaches that complained when referees made decisions that were right, an accusation that caused Guardiola to admit that he couldn’t compete with the “f***king boss” in the Real Madrid press room.

After the clash and with the anger still simmering from Pepe’s disputed sending off, Mourinho turned the dial of spite up a couple of notches by telling Guardiola that “he’s a fantastic coach but he won a Champions League in 2009 that would have shamed me due to the scandal at Stamford Bridge. If they win this one it will be after a scandal at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The notoriously potty-mouthed Preciado responded by calling Mourinho a ‘scumbag’ and suggested he serve out a one-match ban for their league game with the club’s Ultras.

Mourinho vs. The Managers

Respected, grudgingly admired but certainly not liked in any shape or form seems to be the vibe from José Mourinho’s fellow Primera managers after his first year in Spain. Sporting boss, Manuel Preciado, certainly had the hump with the Madrid man after Mourinho suggested that he played a weakened team that didn’t really give a hoot in a 1-0 loss against Barcelona in September.

The notoriously potty-mouthed Preciado responded by calling Mourinho a ‘scumbag’ and suggested he serve out a one-match ban for their league game with the club’s Ultras. The Sporting boss eventually got the last laugh by inflicting a first league defeat at home for a Mourinho side in nine years.

The former Madrid manager, Manuel Pellegrini, was on the end of a cheap shot from his successor ahead of a league clash against his new club Málaga in March. “If Madrid sack me, I’m not going to go to Málaga, I’m going to a big club in Italy or England,” taunted Mourinho who claimed after that he was only being honest - the usual excuse for his sometimes bullish behaviour.

Mourinho vs. Karim Benzema

Being the most French person on the planet in the nonchalance department saw Karim Benzema getting off to a very bad start with José Mourinho with the forward out of favour for much of the season. Everything began badly according to the local press back in August when Mourinho reportedly told Benzema that “because of you I had to begin training at 12 as you arrived at 11 asleep and at 12 you were still asleep.”

“He’s very cold blooded, I’ve got to heat it up a bit,” observed the Frenchman’s manager who complained that playing with Benzema up front was like hunting with a cat - but not in a negative sense of course.

Mourinho vs. His Players

Ahead of Real Madrid’s Copa Del Rey run which eventually ended in victory for the first time since 1993, José Mourinho was wanting to avoid a repeat of the previous season’s embarrassing first round knock-out against Alcorcón with a delicate message to his players.

“If what happens to me against Alcorcón then that’s it, they’re dead to me. If they don’t play well against Murcia then on Saturday I’ll put Castilla (Madrid’s second team) players on the bench.”

Mourinho vs. The Press

For someone who claims to hate speaking to journalists - “I go before the press when I want, not when the press wants” - the Madrid manager still seems to embrace the spotlight. Mourinho hit his provocative peak in March when he slipped into a spat with a journalist over whether Mourinho was moaning about supposed favourable kick-off times for Barcelona or telling the truth.

“Do you think they are complaints or the truth?” asked Mourinho to the hack. When the response was the former, the reply was one that the Madrid manager later had to apologise for. “You’re a hypocrite, I’m sorry.”

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