Why Real Madrid Are Crying Out for Reinvention Post-Jose Mourinho
Three years is a long time in football.
It is an even longer time in the hot seat at the Bernabeu, where president Florentino Perez himself said (via The Guardian): "Sometimes the pressure here goes beyond normal."
Despite that, Jose Mourinho remained in that very seat for three years—he was the longest serving manager in La Liga—becoming only the seventh manager to do so; of those seven, "The Special One" was the least successful.
During that spell the Portuguese has put right several wrongs though.
He led the club to three Champions League semifinals; they'd not got past the last 16 in the previous six years and had become unseeded in Europe's top competition.
The La Liga title also came.
Admittedly only once in three years, but they were competing against a Barcelona side that will be remembered as one of the greatest ever.
In Spain he will be remembered for other things, though:
His constant war of words with the media, his mind games with Pep Guardiola and a squad which, by the end of his reign, seemed bereft of any sort of morale or companionship.
With his departure comes the opportunity for cleansing though, without relinquishing their status once again as one of the continent's major forces.
For the likes of Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Pepe, they can look forward to a clean slate with a new manager, likely Carlo Ancelotti.
The background circumstances should all come naturally, though. Reinvention on the pitch, which is also needed, may take a bit longer.
Real Madrid have become a counterattacking team these last few years, and Perez will be keen to see some changes as they move away from the style described by Sport 360's Spanish correspondent Andy West:
"Mourinho’s teams are relentlessly pragmatic instead of breathtakingly creative. Rather than bewildering the opposition with stylish attacking play, they overpower them and compel them to submit. That is Mourinho’s style and it has been extremely effective."
Ancelotti's PSG side were the opposite of that at Camp Nou in the Champions League.
They attacked, they were stylish and they came very close to knocking out Barcelona. They remained unbeaten over 180 minutes.
That in a nutshell is pretty much everything Perez and Los Blancos fans not just look for but expect from their team.
"The balance of Mourinho's time here is positive," continued Perez in Monday's press conference. "We have made a very important qualitative leap and we are back where this club should be."
Now that they're back to where they should be, they'll look to jump to the next step (whisper La Decima) with a different approach, a different style.
Of course, the same old caveat will always remain.
Reinvention, on and off the pitch, can only bring smiles for so long. At the end of the season it will be trophies rather than style where Madrid are judged. Perez's last words made that clear:
"Maybe for mere mortals [Champions League semifinalists, La Liga and Copa del Rey runners-up] would be enough, but not for a club like us. We are not satisfied because this club is so demanding."
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