The most dysfunctional partnership in the 2012-2013 season was that between Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid, but after weeks and months of trying to get himself sacked, it worked. The former special one is now free to find himself a new club, while Florentino Perez will try and win himself an election while assessing the damage done to the team during a failure of a season and where to go from here.
While results are objective, regarding them as success or failure is not. One thing is for sure? Things were quite interesting with Mourinho around, although it probably turned against him and Real Madrid in the end.
Jose Mourinho vs Iker Casillas
While a lot of Mourinho’s feuds have always been about people attacking him or his club from the outside, this came from within. There is no doubt that Casillas, somewhat of a saint to many in the Spanish media and especially in Madrid, played a part in this by trying to turn the dressing room against Mourinho. For any other player that would be unacceptable, but everyone perceiving Casillas as a class act guy and more than just a regular goalkeeper, who shouldn’t be benched because of a bad game or two, turned this into a Mourinho ego battle. And it was. Casillas has been on the bench for months: It began with Mourinho claiming Adan was better at the moment, which was a complete joke and reeked of personal envy and motivations, while Diego Lopez has been quite impressive since arriving at the club. Mourinho going head to head with Casillas is possibly the biggest reason he lost his job.
Mourinho vs the Rest of the Players
This isn’t something that was part of his entire tenure. The Portuguese manager has always been famous for defending his own players and putting himself on the front line. But there’s somewhat of a scorched earth mentality to his approach, which leaves players who have been with him too long exhausted, physically and mentally, not to mention waiting for Mourinho to leave if he does stay too long. His issue with Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain wasn’t a personal battle like he had with Sergio Ramos or Casillas in the final season of his reign, but he was never pleased individually with both of them, and criticized each one’s faults through the media more than once.
There was his ongoing feud with Cristiano Ronaldo as the season reached its lowest points, but it’s not quite clear what happened there. Some say Mourinho criticized Ronaldo in front of other players. The treatment of Pepe late in the season (after Pepe attacked Mourinho for his mistreatment of Casillas), who is a good friend of Real Madrid’s best player, didn’t help at all. There was the Pedro Leon issue, famously handled in a bizarre press conference, not forgetting his early season feud with Ramos which was similar to his tackle with Casillas: Ramos not respecting the Mourinho method in the dressing room, and not fearing to retaliate through the media. There’s also been Angel Di Maria who Mourinho kept badgering through the media on the drop in his form. He might have been right in many of the things he said, but the way he did those things was always wrong.
Mourinho, Barcelona and the Referees
While forcing Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos to get red cards isn’t going against the referees but testing the morals of the game, he had plenty of other examples in which he hinted or blatantly stated he’s getting screwed and there’s one huge conspiracy against him, Real Madrid and anyone who opposes Barcelona. FIFA are in on it, UNICEF are in on it, the FA were in on it. Mourinho claimed the scheduling was unfavorable towards him, which turned out to be quite wrong. His team enjoyed plenty of iffy decisions by whistle blowers in their title season, and it was usually his brutal approach in the Clasico matches that landed his team red cards, not anything else. The whole paranoia atmosphere seemed ridiculous from the start, but it didn’t start destroying his popularity within the club until the third season.
Mourinho vs Tito Vilanova
No need to talk. Just a moment of insanity from Mourinho, poking the now Barcelona manager in the eye, and not even apologizing for it later, saying it was something about true Madridistas and saying he’s sorry to the club, not anyone else.
Mourinho doesn’t respect anyone and anything
He didn’t show up to FIFA Galas, claiming they were rigged. Anytime he didn’t feel like he or Cristiano Ronaldo were going to win, it was “rigged.” He didn’t climb the steps to pick his runner-up medal from the king after losing to Atletico. It was always about him first, Real Madrid and the rest afterwards. It blew up in his face, and made him actually try and force his way out by trying to get the club to sack him by the end of the third season, which eventually worked.