Jose Mourinho’s lasting legacy at Real Madrid will ultimately be influenced by results in the next seven days. His domestic triumph with the capital club last season achieved one of his primary objectives in knocking bitter rivals Barcelona off their throne in La Liga – if only temporarily. However, the ultimate goal has always been to bring home that storied ‘decima’, the 10th Champions League crown.
The Portuguese tactician has divided Los Blancos’ faithful throughout the current campaign. Failure in the next week could tarnish last term’s success, with several of the Spanish Press pointing out his record in the capital would read a lacklustre two trophies out of a possible nine. Whereas, victories in the vital outings on foreign territory at the Camp Nou and then Old Trafford could set them on course for a more symbolic four titles.
Madrid desperately need a win in tonight’s Copa del Rey tie, as a back-up plan should their trip to Manchester not work out. Consecutive defeats in the Cup competitions would leave them chasing shadows of Tito Vilanova’s side for the three remaining months of the season. The second leg hangs in the balance at 1-1 on aggregate, but with the home side counting on a strong turnout in support.
The weekend’s second match against the League champions elect will mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Madrid already petitioned to make it an earlier kick-off to aid their preparations for the European stage. It will be a battle for pride, and perhaps make an impact on whether city rivals Atletico Madrid pull away in the race for second spot in the table.
Tuesday is the genuine decider. The return fixture against Manchester United also lies in the balance following the stalemate at the Santiago Bernabeu, but with the home side once again holding an ever so slight advantage. It will be a night for the big game players, and the battle will be decided on whether Sir Alex Ferguson decides to stick or twist in taking the initiative.
Mourinho has flirted with a move away this June, and it looks like only a matter of time before he returns to England. His memory in all his previous managerial destinations has remained positive, and it depends on the next week whether Spain will stay mixed.