A political football match is still being thrashed out at Real Madrid, and the worrying thing is that no-one knows when the final whistle will blow. Jose Mourinho keeps scoring own goals, and last year’s team of champions looks lost.
Perhaps the biggest reason for losing ground to Barcelona is the continued infighting between the coach and senior players. Iker Casillas was dropped for the 4-3 win over Real Sociedad, a decision which, despite the win, clearly backfired.
Walking off the Bernabeu pitch, Mourinho must have wished for the ground to open and swallow him up. The jeers echoed, the boos resonated, the whistles squealed louder; it was total embarrassment for the coach who, deep down inside, would have admitted his mistake at having shunned a leader and true captain in Casillas.
Three points? yes. Three cheers? no.
Despite being left on the bench, Casillas showed his true professionalism when he was called upon after Antonio Adan, who started the game, was red carded. He didn't take the captain’s armband from Cristiano Ronaldo, but he did step onto the pitch for his coach at a time of need. That gesture speaks volumes about the World Cup-winning goalie, as there are many other players around the world who would have refused to come on—think Mario Balotelli or Carlos Tevez.
Mourinho has not learned his lesson from the farce which was the 3-2 loss to Malaga last month, another game in which he dropped Casillas. Back then I wrote a column on how the coach will not be able to teach a seasoned professional like Casillas a lesson by leaving him out.
Also, we must not forget the fact that as a player, Casillas has won more than Mourinho the coach. Has Mourinho ever won the World Cup? A European Championship? No.
Looking at the reaction from the Madrid fans and Spanish press following the weekend’s action, it has become clear that Casillas is the hero, and Mourinho the villain. The goalkeeper cannot be blamed for the downfall this term. It has been a below-par campaign, and it seems the coach has no idea of how to turn it around—this was confirmed weeks ago when he said winning the title had become impossible.
The latest twist in a long-running feud came when Mourinho decided to snub the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in Zurich on Monday. Goal.com claims the reason behind his absence is because the Portuguese didn’t fancy making the trip with some of the senior players. He could have got a different flight, the train or coach, he could have got in his Ferrari and driven to Switzerland just to be there. His continued throwing of toys out of the pram shows he has lost belief in his club and players.
With little fuel left in the tank, club president Florentino Perez must now decide which direction he must steer the club in before the wheels fly off completely.
One thing is for sure, Casillas will always be a loyal club legend, Mourinho, on the other hand, could be remembered for all the wrong reasons, especially if he fails to get past Manchester United in the Champions League last 16 next month.
Negativity and drama always make the news, but Madrid fans are no longer interested in reading about failure. The majority yearn for change, whether Mourinho is in charge or not, just don’t blame Casillas.