Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Spain

A Real cold Christmas ahead



It promises to be a sad, cold Christmas for troubled Spanish giants Real Madrid, immersed as they are in a massive sporting and institutional crisis.

Last season went well enough for the whites - Liga champions with a hundred points and Champions League semifinalists - but this campaign has been astonishingly disastrous.

Jose Mourinho's troubled team only managed to finish second in their Champions League group and now face Manchester United in the round of 16, with the second leg at Old Trafford.

Real are also struggling in the Spanish cup, and need to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Celta Vigo in the fifth round.

And in La Liga, the whites have been unable to keep up with rampant Barcelona, who have made a record-breaking start.

On Saturday Real crashed 3-2 at fourth-placed Malaga, a defeat which left them third and a massive 16 points behind Barca - a record gap at this stage of the season.

What made the Malaga meltdown even more bitter for the fans was that Mourinho surprisingly dropped club captain Iker Casillas, one of the greatest goalkeepers in football history, the man who helped Spain to win the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 and 2008 Euros.

Mourinho replaced Casillas with Antonio Adan, and was rewarded with a shaky display from the eternal reserve. Afterwards, he denied that Casillas had been dropped for having questioned some of his recent decisions.

"It was a purely technical decision," said Mourinho. "You can invent the stories you like, but it was a technical decision.

"The truth is that Adan is in better shape than Casillas right now, in my opinion."

However, defender Sergio Ramos - the same as the rest of the players -was staggered at the sight of Casillas sitting on the subs' bench. "I was surprised at this," said Ramos, "to say the least."

Even more surprised was club president Florentino Perez, when he found out just before the game.

The decision to drop the hugely popular Casillas, who has been first choice keeper since 2000, has been interpreted by many journalists and fans as an attempt to provoke Perez into sacking him.

An online poll taken by AS showed, on Sunday, that 93 per cent of readers think Mourinho is now looking to be sacked, before the season gets even worse.

Radio station Cadena SER claimed on Sunday that Perez would probably like to see the back of the Portuguese coach now, but cannot afford the 40 million euros (52.8 million dollars) needed to pay off Mourinho and his six assistants.

Maybe Perez now regrets having extended the contracts of Mourinho and his assistants, just six months ago, to 2016. According to media reports, he is also regretting having given Mourinho more power than previous coaches.

In 2011 Perez agreed to Mourinho's demand to sack Jorge Valdano as the club's sporting director - a job the "Special One" then took over himself.

Last summer Mourinho asked Perez to push aside former Real idol Zinedine Zidane - and the president again meekly acquiesced.

Sacking Mourinho would not only be hugely expensive for Perez but would also raise the question of what would replace the "Portuguese Clan", as they are known.

Cadena SER pointed out on Sunday that "if the Portuguese left, they would be a massive vacuum at the club...There would be no coach, no assistants, no structure, no philosophy."

Mourinho said on Saturday: "I am not considering resigning and I am not worried about my job."

However, an online poll taken by Marca showed, on Sunday, that 82 per cent of readers think he should be sacked immediately.

Six months ago, after winning La Liga, Mourinho was very popular with the madridista fans, seen as the man to end Barcelona's domestic domination.

Now most of those fans would clearly like to see the end of his turbulent, bittersweet two-and-a-half year reign.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R161.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls
R219.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Carol Radull
How do you pay tribute to Thierry Henry?
If you’re a fan of the classic musical “The Sound of Music” then you will be familiar with the...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Some refs invite criticism
Why is it that some referees appear to invite criticism? Why is it that some referees put a...

Neil Tovey
Backing Tinkler for the big time
With Vladimir Vermezovic having jumped ship, Orlando Pirates find themselves in a state of flux.

Chima Emmanuel Aguma
Wenger in or out? I say out!
After Arsenal’s loss to Stoke City this past weekend, the call for Arsene Wenger to step down as...

Sunday Oliseh
Football's new undisputed best club?
When Barcelona appointed Pep Guardiola as head coach in 2008, their primary objective was to stop...

Arjun Vidyarthi
Make or break time
Ten years ago today, I remember Andy Gray's iconic commentary at Anfield, when Steven Gerrard...