Mourinho, Madrid, Mad Media, a Mentality of Siege, and Inter Milan

Khalid KhanCorrespondent IMay 24, 2010

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 22:  Head coach Jose Mourinho of Inter Milan gestures during the UEFA Champions League Final match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Inter Milan at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Inter Milan's Champions League final win already seems light years away in Madrid as in the Spanish capital the focus and spotlight stays on the future of José Mourinho.

Real get winners and for José, Inter Milan was always a stop-gap before an offer from a big club came his way. In spite of his dislike of Serie A, he would leave with his head held high after giving an honest account of himself.

Today may be the D-day in the long-rumored and rather protracted saga of José Mourinho’s coming to Santiago Bernabéu as he meets Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez to discuss the "spectacular project" and of course his personal terms (Madrid papers put it at €10 a year for a four year contract). Both seem to be an alter-ego of each other when it comes to tall ambitions.

"If you don't coach Real Madrid then you always have a gap in your career," he has said. Well, now that hole is going to fill up very soon.

To Marca, he repeated his ambition to win the top three European leagues. "No player or coach has won the three important leagues and I want to be the first to do it. Ancelotti, Capello, Van Nistelrooy, Beckham, and others have won two, but not three. I would like to be the first to win the Grand Slam of the Spanish, Italian, and English leagues."

This development might be suggestive of a change in club’s policy of playing attractive game and so more toward a substance-over-style, function-over-form product rather than other way round, which has been the case for FC Barcelona and was a significant reason behind the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini from Villarreal.

Again, José uses this as a challenge, an opportunity to defy critics saying, "It's an incentive because everyone says it's a lost cause because my profile doesn't fit Real Madrid or the club does not have the profile that I think a club must have."

Real are again looking to chase European titles rather than building a solid style and formational foundation as a way of achieving glory. A high-profile coach like José will also be helpful in raising profile of the club especially in Asia where he is very popular.

This will be like entering into the realm of fantasy football by having a great coach for world’s best talent.

Having said that, if José successfully manages to acquire and adapt to the offensive style of Real Madrid then it will become a marriage made in heaven and would add to his already stellar reputation.

José is a winner and turns his team and players into winners by inspiring and implanting a winning mentality in his subjects. His tenure at Inter Milan is a clear evidence of transforming European underachievers into winners in only his second year in charge of the Serie A club.

In a way, José is the right man to manage Los Galácticos and turn a team of talented individuals into a cohesive unit while also filling them with self-belief and confidence.

He radiates extreme self-confidence that he can do anything, that nothing is impossible, no task is too big, and no obstacle is too tall for him.

His trademark siege mentality is also certain to continue, and perhaps it's necessary at Real Madrid, where media hostility is a fact of life for an underachieving and underperforming team and head coach. In José, his team will have a shield, a wall to keep them safely away from any unwanted and destabilizing media offenses.

Karim Benzema and Kaká have had a year to forget but both may see a reverse in fortunes under José. A lone striker is a favorite of Portuguese so Benzema will be a favorite because he is tall, quick, physically strong, can hold the ball, and be creative with it.

Both will feel encouraged by José words to Marca. "They are two top players…In the case of these two players, I don`t think one not-so-great season is a drama. It`s not an impossible situation to change. I don't think for them it will be a problem returning to the top."

One thing is for sure—he will, at some time in his first year, run into or pick a fight with the Madrid media, which invents rumors and creates a bad atmosphere in and around the team.

However, quite intriguingly for the first time Madrid media will have a fight on its hands. In José, it will have a battler who will not relent or back off in the face of a pitched confrontation.

Florentino Pérez will also have a strong personality in a head coach who does not like being controlled. So therein may lie a cultural shock for José, or maybe a forced adjustment for the club administration. José will not be intimidated or wrongfully blamed or made a scapegoat if he fails. He is a master of blame game, and Real will lose if that were to happen.

In recent times Real administrations have wanted big names to be on the starting XI for marketing purposes, but José will have none of that. "The president isn't the one who wins, he isn't the one who plays, nor who decides what happens on the bench."

José will have to be wary of Florentino Pérez’s fickleness toward head coaches and insertion of a big severance package can be used as an insurance against such a step.

Another confrontation that may also set to begin in Spain, increase with time and also contribute to an already fierce rivalry between both clubs, for José is by possibly becoming a target of hate by culés when Real will travel to Barça because of the lingering hostility from Champions League semifinals loss. Still, José is a man who thrives on confrontation and remains unfazed and unaffected by it.

Coaches have their soccer philosophies and sometimes certain players suit their philosophies, mindsets, and personality; therefore, it is normal for formal players to be linked with a coach when he changes club. The same has been the case as Maicon, Diego Milito, and Ashley Cole are being linked alongside his coming to Real Madrid.

But all those are relatively old workhorses, though in the peak of their game, with shorter service spans while potentially very expensive buys for Real because of club and coach’s insistence is sure to raise the price tag.

Events are moving at a fast pace and both club and coach seem to be in a hurry to conclude the affair ASAP.

Already José sounded like a coach-in-waiting when he gave a clear message to his future subordinates at Real Madrid by saying that, “My message to the players of Real Madrid, if I train them, is that they are not stars, the star is not the coach, the star is the team. If they all accept this like when I was at Porto, Chelsea or Inter, the victories will come."

He will be the star and hopefully with him that Real Madrid shall also rise and agonizing wait of a historic La Decima will end.

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