Plunged into a state of chaotic despair, there was only one way to resolve the many problems at Real Madrid – let Jose Mourinho go. Once considered the best Coach in the world, Florentino Perez admitted on Monday evening: “The achievements of this season have not been sufficient for the demands of a club such as Real Madrid or a Coach like Mourinho.”
There is no doubt that this year, the capital club failed to achieve their objectives. To quote Mourinho, Madrid walk away with ‘zeru tituli’ this season, except for a Supercopa win. Fractions within the dressing room poisoned the atmosphere to ensure only failure.
However, by assessing the objectives, can we really say the Mourinho-Real Madrid experiment failed?
Perez, as many will have you know, was enchanted by the idea of bringing the former Chelsea Coach to Madrid when he watched Mourinho’s Inter defeat Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals on aggregate despite going down to 10 men in the second leg at the Camp Nou. Mou became the obsession and the best hope Los Blancos had of breaking the Catalans’ hegemony.
In terms of disturbing Barca’s winning cycle, Mourinho succeeded. In the last eight matches between the two sides, Los Blancos were defeated only once, managing four wins and three draws.
If we look at the Portuguese’ actual numbers, his win percentages with the Spanish giants are even more than he managed both at Chelsea and Inter to demonstrate development.
If we were to compare him to the man considered to be among the best in the world, Pep Guardiola, then their numbers are similar. Considering the number of matches played, both boasted a 72 per cent success rate in their games. However, Mourinho’s Real Madrid managed more goals, averaging 2.65 goals a game compared to Guardiola’s Barcelona that averaged 2.55. Defensively, the Catalans proved better conceding on average 0.73 goals a game compared to 0.92 for Real Madrid. With Barca managing more trophies, can it be suggested that whilst attack sells tickets, defence wins honours?
One can argue that the Portuguese boasted the most expensive collection of players Madrid ever had but he cannot be judged in accordance to the money spent. The club have and will continue to invest record-breaking amounts of cash into players, regardless of which Coach sits on their bench.
Under Mourinho, the team broke records with regards to the number of points collected in a single League season, restored the club’s ‘invincible’ reputation after years of exiting Europe in the early stages, and gave 18 youth players their debut.
However, for a man who commands extortionate amounts of money to lead a team, did he really add anything to Real Madrid?
On a tactical level, many still argue that the side have lacked a real identity. They may be regarded as the perfect counter-attacking team who are fond of vertical football, but they have had no recognisable style of play and Mourinho was often criticised for tinkering at the wrong time.
Defensively they have proved woeful whilst they still look uncomfortable against sides that defend solidly. Much of the team’s success last year came due to their opponents’ belief that they could take Madrid on. They couldn’t. With more and more sides aware that disciplined defences would succeed against Mou’s men, the capital club began has struggled for wins this term.
Internationally, Madrid’s reputation also began to suffer. Whilst Mourinho walks hand in hand with the notion of infamy, Europe’s most successful club with a prestigious history had become known for their hysterical Coach who poked ‘Pito’ Villanova’s eye, who demanded ‘¿Por qué? ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué?’ when Madrid lost to Barcelona in the Champions League and who criticised the indifference of the fans and the ‘pseudomadridistas’.
Devoting their time to damage control, between the dressing room quarrels, Pepe antics on the pitch and Mourinho’s shocking words to journalists, the time has come for Real Madrid to cut the experiment short and restore harmony and prestige.
Winning may be the only thing that matters to big clubs but with Mourinho, it was at a price Madrid could no longer afford to pay.