Valdano Letting Personal Fallout Cloud Judgement of Mourinho's Time at Madrid

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Valdano Letting Personal Fallout Cloud Judgement of Mourinho's Time at Madrid
Associated Press

Argentine Jorge Valdano has held numerous positions at Real Madrid since making the move from Zaragoza in 1984. His two league titles as a player and one as a manager mean he has certainly played his part in the side's success.

On the pitch, the tall striker averaged around a goal every two matches in his three years in white, and Raul even named his first son after the forward, via Wikipedia.

His two years as manager saw him win the league at the first attempt, after coaching the youth side previously.

He then took up roles as a sporting director, director general and presidential aide at the club.

It's fair to say that due to these responsibilities, when he talks on issues surrounding Los Blancos, people take notice.

During a book tour of Guatemala, Valdano declared to a local newspaper, per Marca (via Football Espana): "[Mourinho's time] was below the historical average of Madrid."

Here he was referring to trophies attained whilst the Portuguese coach was at the helm. He could have chosen to pour scorn on the team's attractiveness or some of the manager's off-field tactics, but instead he aimed his assault at titles won during his tenure.

Fine margins determine whether teams win tournaments or not, but being in the semi-finals for three consecutive seasons of the Champions League—after six years failing to get past the last 16—is an improvement to delivering that elusive 10th European Cup.

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Valdano and Mourinho's spat in 2010/11 appears to still grate on the Argentine. "If I have to step away for Mourinho to feel more comfortable, so be it," Valdano told reporters as he exited in May 2011, per ESPN.

Whether Mourinho was successful or not in the capital is a topic of contention among supporters. If it's based on ending the club's hunt for La Decima or stopping Barcelona's prolonged dominance, then it's a no.

If it was to break up their rivals' supremacy, win trophies and make Madrid competitive once more in the biggest of tournaments, then it's clearly a yes.

Madrid won three titles in Mourinho's three years at the Bernabeu—the Copa del Rey in 2011, the Supercopa de Espana in 2012 and the Primera Division title in 2011/12.

Valdano should be more wary of his own performance as manager when belittling others. They may have been completely different eras, but the parallels in the comparison are worthwhile. Valdano broke a run of four straight titles for Johan Cruyff's Barcelona, whilst Mourinho did the same to Pep Guardiola's side that had three consecutive league wins.

Valdano won the league in his debut season, 1994/95, but that was with 55 points over a 38-game campaign. The club has not fallen below 62 points since under any manager for a full season of equal length, via Wikipedia.

His second campaign saw him removed in January with the club sitting eighth in the table. "This is not a failure, but an eventuality of life," said Valdano at the time, sounding remarkably similar to the man he tries to criticise, via Real Madrid News.

In Europe, Valdano was the last coach to manage Real Madrid in the UEFA Cup, now known as the Europa League, as they were knocked out in the third round, via UEFA.com.

The comment of historical context was no doubt flippant, but as the club will be 112 years old on Thursday, it's worth looking at the trophies attained overall. A total of 32 La Liga triumphs is more than one in three years, and 18 Copa del Reys is closer to one in six.

The two are more similar than either would be willing to admit, and perhaps that's the root to their ongoing public dispute.

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