Last week the Portuguese coach hinted in his own cryptic brand that he may quit the club, but while that passed over as mere posturing by the Special One, there are still persistent reports of unrest emanating from the Bernabeu – or to be more specific, the boardroom at the Bernabeu. Without being privy to the internal musings of Messrs Perez, Valdano and Mourinho, it is difficult to establish just what the differences are. The outlook is anything but problematic.
With 73 points from 29 La Liga fixtures Madrid would be comfortably clear at the top of every other major European league and are well primed in the Champions League. Mourinho’s men have lost just three times all season – one of those being a redundant Copa del Rey tie – and have scored over 100 times with a goal difference of +80. The statistics are remarkable, so too, at times, have been Real themselves scoring four or more goals on twelve occasions.
Unfortunately, not so much a blot on the copybook but a huge spill of ink was the 5-0 hammering by Barcelona at the Camp Nou in November, a result which has euphorically made up the minds of all bar the madridista that Barca are unequivocally the best team around.
One theory coming from Spain is that Mourinho is such an egotistical winner, he cannot bear not to win, and with Barcelona on the scene he cannot win. However, over the final third of the season Mourinho and his side have the opportunity to correct this perception and begin the ingratiating process in toppling Barca from their perch. The dynamic duo are set to face each other four times in thirteen days in three competitions to thrash out just who are the peninsula’s numero uno.
Regardless of the outcome this term, Real are for once in a position to progress through the continuity of a relatively stable mantle. Squad wise los Blancos have far more depth, variety and experience in their ranks than los Blaugrana and pertinently, come the summer that hand can be strengthened further with bountiful resource compared to the champions. Mourinho will also be acutely aware that Pep Guardiola is only an injured Xavi or Lionel Messi away from an insolvable problem which would drastically weaken Barca and shift the landscape at the top of La Liga measurably.
This poised position is not a new one to Real who have consistently shot themselves in the foot with managerial changes to destabilise the much needed equilibrium. In Mourinho – the man they relentlessly pursued – they have the man to make this perception a promise, but to steal Casillas’ thunder, ‘our season is nine out of 10, to get to 10 out of 10 we will have to win a title.’
There is no room for imperfections at Real Madrid.