Three seasons, one league title, no Champions League final, possibly two Copa Del Reys when it’s all over. It’s unlikely that Jose Mourinho will continue as the manager of Real Madrid once the 2012-2013 season is over, and deeming his tenure with the club a failed adventure, no matter what kind of spin he and others will try to put on the summary.
Yes, Mourinho did manage to break the series of league titles Barcelona had going on during his second season with a record breaking run towards the league title. He did break the streak of failing to make it past the knockout stage for Real Madrid, but it seems that for a third straight season, unless something quite extraordinary happens, it’ll be three Champions League semifinals, nothing more.
Probably he’ll be proud of stopping Barcelona’s dominance in the league. He beat them in the 2011 Copa Del Rey final, thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal. He beat them in the final Clasico match in the 2011-2012 season, the one that actually decided the fate of the title. That was Ronaldo once more. He hasn’t lost to them once during the 2012-2013 season in a match that mattered – a draw and a win in the league, a draw and an away win in the cup and a loss and a win in the Super Coppa, taking that title as well.
So Mourinho, the highest paid manager in the world, showed that he can learn and adapt from past failures, beginning with that 0-5 drubbing in his first Clasico and find a way to stop Barcelona. That’s not worth all the money spent on him, and the €163.5 million spent on new players – Sergio Canales, Ángel di María, Pedro León, Sami Khedira, Ricardo Carvalho, Mesut Özil, Nuri Şahin, José Callejón, Raphaël Varane, Fábio Coentrão, Luka Modrić and Diego López.
There’s always the discussion whether or not Jose Mourinho has been beneficial for youth players, because at some point, the fans became envious of what they saw developing at the Nou Camp. Maybe Morata will turn into an influential player in the future, but there doesn’t seem to be anything special. Real Madrid are a team built upon mercenaries, and Mourinho never tried to change it. Winning titles is all that ever mattered, and he didn’t win enough of them.
If the league is what’s important, winning one out of three doesn’t cut it. If the Champions League is the main goal, than the failure is even bigger, because a club like Real Madrid doesn’t feel an accomplishment by reaching the semifinal but not further than that.
The personal feuds and the relationship with the fans, media and players doesn’t fall into the formula. Mourinho lives to win, for himself and also for the club. He didn’t do enough of that during his time at Real Madrid, and unless he surprisingly stays on board to try and continue this process, his time as the Real Madrid head coach won’t be remembered as one of the glory periods in the history of the most successful club in European football.
If we weren’t playing with Barcelona in the same division, we would have won the championship. An excuse, a compliment and a poisonous arrow all at once. Maybe that’s his legacy as the manager of Real Madrid. Not enough to give people fond memories of his three years at the Santiago Bernabeu.