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

Football | Spain

Jose Mourinho © Gallo Images

Problems mounting for Real, Mourinho



Instead of celebrating their passage into the semifinals of the King's Cup this week, Real Madrid are counting the cost of a few turbulent days which could end up completely derailing their season.

Real's 3-1 aggregate win over Valencia in the quarterfinals has set up a mouth-watering clash with their great rivals and the holders Barcelona, who ousted Malaga in an absorbing 6-4 aggregate victory.

Leaders Barca already hold a seemingly unassailable 15-point advantage over Real in La Liga, and Jose Mourinho has written off his side's chances of retaining the title.

Mourinho has targeted the Cup and the Champions League instead and he has to negotiate what could be a pivotal week in the side's season and his Bernabeu future, at the beginning of March.

Real host Barca in the Cup first leg on Wednesday, and the return at the Nou Camp is scheduled for Feb 26-27, just before the league 'Clasico' at the Bernabeu on the weekend March 2-3.

Real play the Champions League last 16 second leg at Manchester United on March 5.

"A new storm of Clasicos: Three in a month," sports daily AS said on Friday, recalling the four clashes between the sides in 18 days in April and May 2011.

After two-and-half years at the helm, Mourinho's future at Real is under the spotlight more than ever before, and he enters a critical five weeks with problems mounting at the club.

First-choice goalkeeper Iker Casillas fractured a bone in his left hand against Valencia during the week, and media have reported he will be out of action for six to eight weeks.

"Casillas is the captain, he is Madrid's emblem," Barca defender Gerard Pique said after their win in Malaga.

"Although (reserve keeper Antonio) Adan is a great keeper, the fact they are without their captain could affect the team."

PLAYERS SUSPENDED

Real still have time to dip into the transfer market before the end of January to find extra cover for Casillas should they deem it necessary.

The 2011 Cup winners also head into the first leg without winger Angel Di Maria, and defenders Sergio Ramos and Fabio Coentrao who are all suspended, while Ramos's centre-back partner Pepe has yet to return after ankle surgery.

To add to their problems, Real have failed to put a lid on the constant media speculation over reported rifts within the dressing room.

Club president Florentino Perez took the unusual step of calling a news conference on Thursday to deny a newspaper story claiming a rift between Mourinho and club captains Casillas and Ramos.

The construction magnate branded sports daily Marca 'liars', and Ramos and Casillas, who are both reported to have had run ins with Mourinho this season, issued a statement backing both the president and their coach.

However, the daily has defended the piece saying it has text-message evidence supporting the story.

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...