The “special one” has decided to move on yet again—this time without having accomplished his mission. After three difficult seasons with Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho is leaving the capital city to reunite with Chelsea. Despite encouraging improvements during his time with the club, Los Blancos might be better off without the Portuguese boss.
Don’t get me wrong—Mourinho and the current generation of “galacticos” certainly injected new life into the squad. After several years spent watching their bitter rivals in Catalonia win titles for fun, Madrid understood that a drastic overhaul was needed to regain supremacy. The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mourinho combined to take Madrid back into contention in both La Liga and Europe.
Mourinho boasts an impressive report card for his three seasons at the helm. His winning percentage of 72 percent reflects the highest statistic for any manager that spent more than a year with the club. The ability to overthrow Barcelona—even for a year—indicates that Mourinho was capable of leading Madrid to compete with the best in the world.
But Mourinho was not brought in to merely mount title challenges. Mou was hired to bring major trophies to Madrid, just as he did with Inter Milan.
The trophies arrived—perhaps a bit modestly.
Though Madrid won a La Liga title with a record number of points last year and maintained a consistent Champions League challenge, the wheels seemed to fall off this season. Mourinho uncharacteristically cracked under pressure and became entangled in political struggles while his team suffered.
Mourinho’s ego engulfed his decisions, and his insecurity was painfully clear.
By dropping Iker Casillas and Pepe for what appeared to be personal rather than practical reasons, Mourinho created an uncomfortable rift within the squad—and it reflected on the field. Madrid massively underwhelmed this season, finishing as runners up in both La Liga and Copa del Rey, and missing out on a Champions League final for the third year in a row.
After last season's success, Real Madrid looked poised to compete at a high level for Mourinho’s third season in charge. Things did not follow suit, however, and the manager's exit should be a relief for the players and the fans.
Historically, Mourinho's clubs have fared well immediately after his departure. Avram Grant succeeded Mourinho at Chelsea and the club did not miss a step. During his first season as manager, Grant went on to secure second place in the Premier League and reach the Champions League final—something Mourinho failed to accomplish in his time with the Blues. There was hardly a drop-off in success as Chelsea maintained a strong core and its winning ways.
Madrid have a similar foundation of players to see this transition through with ease. Veteran members like Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo bring loads of experience to the side, and it seems few key players are looking to follow Mourinho out the exit door.
Casillas will regain his rightful place between the pipes, and exciting transfer rumors—such as this ESPN report of interest in Premier League superstar Gareth Bale—indicate that new additions may strengthen the squad further. The coming years should see Real Madrid continue its progress to truly compete for a Champions League crown.
Mourinho’s comments to the media and passive aggressive behavior towards his players represented an immature ability to handle pressure at the Bernabeu. Despite being blessed with a squad of incredible talent, his arrogance caused trouble in the dressing room, and Madrid were incapable of building upon last year’s triumphs.
While his former clubs may have been sad to watch him leave, Madrid should feel refreshed to be rid of a poisonous personality. They can build off his accomplishments but move forward without his interference.
Removing Jose Mourinho and his public distractions might be exactly what Real Madrid need to regain stability and realize the immense potential of the team.