Jose Mourinho To Real Madrid: A Marriage Made in Hell for 'Overrated One'
Every summer seems to throw up a new "worst kept secret" in the footballing world. And already, Jose Mourinho's departure from Inter Milan, after guiding them to the first treble in the club's history, and arrival at Real Madrid, can stake a claim for that award.
The world's most egotistical and controversial coach is now managing the world's most egotistical and controversial team.
But more on that later.
First, I want to evaluate the accolades Mourinho has amassed during his time in management.
During the second half of the Champions League final between Mourinho's Inter and Bayern Munich, I let it slip that I considered Mourinho overrated. I may have even called him "the overrated one".
Over the next 45 minutes, I reflected on that comment. And by the time I saw him lift the trophy above his head, I had changed my mind.
The reason I made the comment wasn't because I doubted Mourinho's abilities. Far from it.
I consider him the best manager in the world today, and was praying for a miracle to happen. I hoped he'd turn up at Anfield as the new manager.
I made the comment due to people claiming he is among the upper echelon of the greatest managers to have graced the game.
He was being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Shankly, Paisley, and Michels. How could a man not yet in his 50s be among such company?
By the end of the match, though, you couldn't argue with the facts.
He has won the league title in every country he has ever managed (Portugal, England, and Italy). He has won the domestic cup in every country he has ever managed. And he has won two Champions League titles, more than Shankly, Michels, Busby and many more.
In short, Mourinho has been hugely successful at every career stop.
One of the main criticisms on Mourinho while he was at Chelsea was the money at his disposal, but his time at Porto should allay accusations he can't be successful with unfashionable clubs.
Sure, they are always expected to challenge domestically. But to have guided them to the UEFA Cup and then the Champions League in successive years is an extraordinary achievement.
The team he built was also extraordinary.
Deco, Ricardo Carvalho, and Jose Boswingwa have all established themselves as world class players since Mourinho arrived.
His time at Inter Milan, although brief, was also remarkable. While they have swept all before them in Serie A in recent years, they hadn't made a serious splash in European football for almost 40 years until Mourinho came along.
Now, they are the reigning European champions.
There is no doubt Mourinho has the CV for such a prestigious hot-seat as the one at the Bernabeu. But is it a good move for him?
Is it a good move for Real Madrid, for that matter?
On both accounts, I don't think it is.
In addition to being the biggest, they also have a number of the best players in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Gonzalo Higuain, and Iker Casillas are all players any manager would kill to have on their own side.
And, as if to cap this off, they are the richest club in world football. Manchester City may argue the toss on that one, but Madrid don't just have paper wealth at their disposal.
Give a player the choice between the two clubs and the vast majority would choose Madrid over Manchester.
How could this not be a good move for Mourinho, then? Is this not the dream job, almost as if he was playing a real-life Football Manager game?
Yes, it is, but that could be the problem. When two egos collide, one of two things happen: they either get on like a house on fire or they clash. There are too many egos at Madrid for there not to be a major bust-up.
Just look at the direct pyramid of power. You have Florentino Perez (more on him later), Mourinho, then the players, first and foremost Ronaldo.
You couldn't pick three more egotistical characters in world football.
When things are going well, this will be a match made in heaven. But when things go wrong, there could be a monumental fallout.
We have already seen from his Chelsea days that Mourinho doesn't like the chairman to interfere in football matters, and there is no way Perez will take a back seat from his pet project.
History shows us that Mourinho always falls out with at least one high profile player at his clubs. At Chelsea, it was Arjen Robben. At Inter, it was Marco Balotelli.
What if it is Ronaldo at Madrid?
Who will Perez back? The man who will surely have the rest of the team, and the fans behind him (Mourinho always seems to get that siege mentality in his teams) or the man he spent £80 million on?
But, ignoring such hypothetical circumstances, I still can't see this marriage ending well.
Mourinho didn't need to go to Real Madrid.
Whether or not he did it to test his skills, and become the first ever Grand Slam coach, or because the lure of unlimited funds and simply being at Madrid was too great, people expect nothing less than success from him.
He has experienced the highest level of club success possible in winning the treble. That is as good as it gets. The only way now, unfortunately, is down.
Anything less than a treble next season will be, for him at least, a step backwards.
Silverware was expected from Manuel Pellegrini, and we all thought those expectations could not be heightened, but with Mourinho in charge, that is exactly what has happened.
Winning the league is now standard, despite an enormously talented Barcelona side standing in the way. Anything less than that, which is likely, considering the players at Barca's disposal, will be a failure. It will surely lead to Mourinho's head rolling.
Simply put, should Madrid win the league, and possibly more, there will be no major celebrations, just a quiet nod of the head in acknowledgment.
Should they miss out to the talent of Guardiola's side again, his time at Madrid will be viewed as a failure.
Jose Mourinho is taking a big risk with this move.
Another reason the job may not be as picture perfect as it first seems is Florentino Perez.
Mourinho thrives on being the biggest character at the football club. He uses that as a huge advantage, making his players feel honoured to be training under him, and creating an "us against the world" mentality that instills that vital fighting spirit.
At Madrid, Perez will be the biggest character. The two will get along at first, of that there is no doubt, but eventually cracks will start to show as the two will inevitably disagree on some decisions.
Mourinho, however, does have past experience dealing with a rich owner who likes to stick his nose into the football side of the club rather than the business side. He ended up out of the job.
Mourinho's relationship with Abramovich was harmonious for a while, coincidentally while Chelsea were winning, but egos, opinions, and personalities eventually collided.
Perez will be much the same but, if anything, a magnified version of Abramovich.
He loves meddling with on-field matters and, if he thinks something is the right decision (i.e. a player to buy), he will make it happen, regardless of what the manager thinks.
Neither Perez nor Mourinho seem the type to back down in such an argument. Sooner or later, you can expect fireworks to fly between the two.
Perez also must know the risks of employing the self proclaimed "special one". As I mentioned earlier, he has a history of falling out with at least one player and, on top of this, he doesn't let reputations dictate selections.
For example, he got rid of Hernan Crespo on his first day at Stamford Bridge, as the Argentinian was late for training.
While this may seem commendable to the man on the street, if the likes of Ronaldo falls foul of Mourinho's ways, then Perez would not be happy.
His "Galacticos" idea centers around the best players in the world, a group Ronaldo is most certainly part of, drawing spectators in to watch them and, most importantly, spend money doing so.
No Ronaldo = less money.
Speaking of money, Mourinho has a history of spending and, to be fair to him, he has done it well.
Yes, he overspent drastically in his first years at Chelsea, but some top players emerged from that group. Petr Cech, Michael Essien, and Didier Drogba were all brought in from "smaller" teams.
But does this fit in with the Galacticos? No, it doesn't.
Perez will buy a player as much for his name as his ability, and Mourinho buying players who the casual fan may have never heard of wouldn't help his business model one bit.
This is a minor point, though, as Madrid's squad list already sounds like a dream team assembled by a 10-year-old boy.
Perhaps the main point that leads me to believe the appointment of Mourinho is bad for Madrid, however, is that it is a short-term appointment.
In a time that Madrid is crying out for a period of stability, after 11 different coaches in the past seven years, Mourinho has already made it known he is looking at a return to English football at some point.
With that hanging over the Bernabeu, no one can be sure when Mourinho will leave. Whether he is successful or not, the likelihood is that he won't see out his four year contract.
The appointment is a short-term solution to a long-running problem, and one that has many potential faults.
Yes, if all goes well, the marriage of world's biggest manager, world's biggest club, and world's biggest players could be unstoppable, but how can something with so many different variables have the stability to maintain success?
Simple answer? It can't.
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