Someone isn't telling the truth in the case of the Mourinho ultimatum. No matter who it is, Florentino Perez is presiding over a royal mess at Real Madrid.
On Thursday, Spanish newspaper Marca published a report that added new fuel to the claims that manager Jose Mourinho is clashing with his players. The report claims that goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Sergio Ramos told Perez, the president of Real Madrid, "it's Mourinho or us."
In other words, if Mourinho sticks around next season, the players reportedly won't.
The ultimatum reportedly came down during a recent meeting between the players and president over bonuses for the current season. We know that the meeting happened, but beyond that, little more is confirmed.
Perez denied the report quickly and forcefully, calling a press conference at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu the same day the report came out. Here's what he said (via ESPN FC):
After the serious incident which happened today, I have broken my policy of not speaking about day-to-day matters at the club. It is totally false that at the dinner held with the captains and the director general an ultimatum about the coach was issued or anything similar.
The only reason for the meal was to work out the bonuses for the current season. The meeting took place in a magnificent atmosphere with a responsible attitude on the part of the captains. What is published is not correct, neither in its content nor its meaning. I accept that some criticism can take place, although that seems to me unjust, but there are ethical limits which everyone must respect.
Denials rarely come as unequivocal as that, yet, Perez still has a mess to clean up.
In his comments, Perez also claimed that someone within the club might be trying to "destabilize" the club or force him and Mourinho out. In the wacky world of Real Madrid politics, that hardly qualifies as a stunning revelation.
But throughout this rocky season, Mourinho has played his own part in destabilizing the club.
After a string of poor results in the league, Real trail leaders Barcelona by 15 points. Mourinho benched Casillas in December, and his abrasive personality has reportedly sparked discord with superstar attacker Cristiano Ronaldo (via ESPN FC).
On Sunday, Marca published another report in which former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado said he thinks Mourinho has a rift "with the whole dressing room."
Where there's smoke, as the saying goes, there's usually fire. While it's possible that the latest Marca report about an ultimatum is false, the reports of disunity and discord in the Real Madrid dressing room have been piling up throughout the season.
Ultimatum or not, Mourinho and Perez have a mess on their hands. The way the saga is playing out, the end might be ugly—and it might come sooner than later.