“I am learning to be a hypocrite and I don’t want to be one.”
With that short phrase Jose Mourinho, the much-maligned coach of Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, has restored sanity at the Bernebeu – whilst admitting he won’t be there for long.
The papers were full of Mourinho leaving the Madridistas after last week’s inglorious incident, above, which left Spanish football up in arms after Barcelona’s tempestuous Spanish Royal Cup triumph.
Mourinho moved quickly to quell reports of his imminent demise – but in the subtext of his official statement on the Real Madrid website lies the root of his unhappiness in a nation where Catalan and Castilian speakers live under the same flag while enthusiastically flying their own colours at sporting events.
It was the Special One’s spokesman Eladio Parames who first suggested Mourinho may leave after poking a finger in the eye of Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova. With reports of a 12-match ban for that wayward digit being bandied around, Mourinho was clearly unhappy with a lack of support from the board at Real, who appear to find Jose’s passion undignified and slightly embarrassing.
Similar rumours surrounded his Champions League winning spell at Internazionale, where Italian journalists hounded the Portguese boss, who started his managerial career as Bobby Robson’s interpreter at Barcelona of all places, for being “over the top”.
In England, where he broke the 52-year Chelsea title drought but not London’s Champions League hunger strike, there were no such doubts. His wild-eyed passion was applauded, they miss him still. Many believe he may yet return, perhaps to Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson finally retires in 2057, or to Arsenal, where Arsene Wenger pronounced himself “drained” yesterday after seeing Samir Nasri join Manchester City just a week after Cesc Fabregas finally departed for, irony of ironies, Barcelona.
But yesterday, as his spokesman claimed his mobile phone had been hijacked, creating the furore around Jose's future, Mourinho assured Bernebeu fans in an open letter on www.realmadrid.com: "Only those who don't know me can dream, make up or believe I may leave Real Madrid at this stage…
Best wishes to all. We'll see each other tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium."
Though the whiff of hypocrisy surrounds yesterday’s assertion of loyalty to Real, the pain of continual humiliation at the hands of Barcelona – and the diving, conniving, dramatic nature of such defeats against a Barca side steeped in chip-on-the-shoulder Catalunacy – does not sit easily with the Special One.
Mourinho may stay with Real for now. But one more frenzied Barca showdown may end his fragile affair with Spanish football.
See also http://neal-collins.blogspot.com/2011/05/real-truth-why-mourinho-and-ronaldo.html written on May 4 this year.