Mourinho Will Leave Madrid with His Goals Unfulfilled After Cup Final Defeat
As a huge cross went through the word "Copa del Rey" on Friday night, the third priority on Real Madrid's to-do list, some honest words spilled from Jose Mourinho's mouth.
"This year's campaign was a failure," he said candidly, according to Goal.com. "This has been the worst season of my career. It's not been good enough for me, nor for Madrid."
There's often the caveat of a "but" when it comes to the 50-year-old, though, and his interview after the 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid proved no different.
"But my first two seasons were successful."
Except this time, unlike so often in the past, it doesn't feel like anyone is about to lap up the words of Jose Mourinho the spin doctor.
Only seven managers in the history of Madrid have been afforded three years in charge; of the coaches to have lasted that long, the Portuguese is set to leave with the least amount of titles.
Most things before the match had pointed to a Real Madrid win.
Mourinho had won nine out of his 10 finals as a manager, Real Madrid hadn't lost at the Bernabeu since January 2012, and Atleti hadn't beaten them at all since 1999.
The only stat that offered feint hope to the 30,000 Los Rojiblancos fans present at the final was the record between the two sides in Copa del Rey finals.
Their three wins over Real Madrid at the last hurdle, they'd only met four times, had all come at the Bernabeu—the most recent was as long ago as 1992, though.
There was the stat that suggested they could once again party like it was 1999 (thanks, @sidlowe).
There was the stat that mattered.
It seemed to carry little worth when Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid an early lead with a bullet header.
It gained significance as the match progressed, though. First Diego Costa, thanks to wonderful work from Radamel Falcao, equalized, and then the woodwork spent the best part of an hour taunting, teasing and trolling Madrid.
By the time Miranda headed Atleti ahead in extra time, it seemed the only stat which mattered—Cristiano Ronaldo's red card and Thibaut Courtois' heroics merely added to its worth.
Mourinho was long gone by this point, already dismissed by the referee for remonstrating what he felt was a series of particularly poor decisions by the officials.
The gesture seemed more of a token one than anything particularly relevant, though. After all, this is a man who has barely left his seat on the bench for the last three weeks.
And so comes the blot on his CV. Heading into Friday night's encounter, since the 2002/03 season, he'd always registered at least one of either a European trophy, a league title or a domestic cup.
Save last summer's Supercopa, he'll end this campaign empty-handed.
He'll leave Madrid with his goals unfulfilled.
The Copa del Rey was never really going to change that anyway, but it could have helped ease his exit from the Spanish capital.
Overthrow Barcelona and bring La Decima were his clear objectives. He achieved the first one last year, but Madrid have regressed again this season.
He will have imagined parting having won the European Cup as his leaving present to the club. Instead, his last act will be remembered as the time when Atleti clinched their La Decima, their 10th Copa del Rey, in the living room of their neighbors.
Oh, the irony.
Jose Mourinho. A Madrid success story? Simply mediocre? Or a flop?
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