Some people relish in the hate and animosity that surrounds them. It might not be the healthiest of atmospheres to work in, but Jose Mourinho doesn’t care. He leaves Real Madrid by implementing torched earth tactics on the club, feeling stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas and others turned against him, ruining his own quest to cement himself as the greatest manager of all-time.
In his final match as the manager of Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho got what he asked for. Just like a few months ago he came out before a match and was welcomed in an applause by the Real Madrid faithful, giving his ego a huge boost and the team as well, picking it up from a terrible stretch. It wasn’t enough to push Barcelona off their perch on top of the league or even get close, but it was enough to finish a season with a loss against them, and make it yet again to the Champions League semifinal.
But just like players were willing to do everything for Mourinho during his first two seasons at the club, his all or nothing approach towards certain players, which includes saying the words he wants them to say to the media, backfired. Real Madrid might be the best team in Europe on certain days; they certainly cost like one, with Mourinho showing once again how much of a tactical genius he is as long as he gets an open account to draw funds from. But his team failed to deliver the needed result against much weaker opponents, especially when playing away from home (winning only 9 out of 19 matches), resulting in 15 points trailing Barcelona at the end.
It’s hard to think of a bigger national hero than Iker Casillas, who has won everything with Real Madrid much earlier in his career, but elevated himself into an international legend after Spain won the Euro in 2008 & 2012, and above everything else the World Cup in 2010. The spine of the Spanish national side has been filled with Barcelona players – hugely popular, but most of them representing Catalonia, except for Andres Iniesta. Casillas was the symbol the rest of Spain could feel most attached to.
Even on Mourinho’s last match, Casillas was forgotten, not even on the bench. We’ll never know exactly what was said behind closed doors between the sides – it’ll be a versions battle from here on out, but the way Mourinho decided to simply erase Casillas from his plans was all about ego, and not about football or behavior. Maybe Casillas didn’t act the way a club captain should to his manager, regardless of what he really thinks of him, but Mourinho was the one who came out badly from all of this.
Cristiano Ronaldo? For more than two seasons, it looked like a love story. Mourinho kept pushing Ronaldo for more, moving him to the left wing and watching him continue to improve as a total-footballer under him. But it exploded this season, apparently because Mourinho “dared” speak out against Ronaldo and criticize him in front of others. He also felt Ronaldo let him down against Dortmund, and he doesn’t forgive “betrayals.”
Any spin Mourinho tries to put on things, his tenure with Real Madrid is a failure. After hundreds of millions of Euro spent, Barcelona are still the dominant club in Spain. Mourinho won one league title in three seasons and one Copa Del Rey. He managed to end the knockout stage curse with Real Madrid, but three season in a row without a final, not to mention a trophy, isn’t success in the books of this club.
Failure? His biggest one was not being able to finish things nicely, once again putting his own ego and interests way above those of his players and especially the club and its fans.