For some, having an antagonist like Jose Mourinho makes football a lot more interesting. But while managers like him are good for the ratings and interest in the game, it does blur the lines between right & wrong, moral and immoral. He’s a great manager, but Real Madrid don’t look back at periods without too many titles with longing, while Barcelona were sick of him from even before he arrived.
Mourinho did help escalate the rivalry to a new high, but by playing on emotions and hate instead of playing unforgettable football. He tried the defensive and violent approaches until finally figuring out how to stop Barcelona. It didn’t come with mesmerizing football, but Real Madrid’s dominance over Barcelona in the head to head matchups between the two teams this season came with minimal psychological warfare and tension between the teams. Simply playing the right way in order to neutralize Barca’s greatest strengths.
Dani Alves said he’ll miss Mourinho’s presence. Everyone’s acting as if it’s over. Real Madrid still have a couple of matches to play, not to mention a Copa Del Rey final. But it seems like he’s overstayed his welcome, an he can’t wait to get out of Spain either. His humor and approach to football and life wasn’t appreciated by the Madrid media, especially when he wasn’t winning. When he won the league title, it was forgotten and swept under the rug, but as a whole, the Mourinho period won’t be remembered fondly. No manager got as much money as he did to improve the club, and yet he managed to win only one league titles in three seasons while not reaching the Champions League final.
On the other hand, it did always give Barcelona the moral high ground, being the side opposite from Mourinho. Now that he’s gone, it’s going to be harder distinguishing the “good” and “bad”, although those lines have been blurred plenty these last couple of seasons, with Barcelona no longer being the IT thing around European football. When you’re a success, everyone wants a piece of you, but when the machine stops working perfectly, people seek other answers, solutions and successes.
Jose Mourinho is special, but probably not as good as he thinks. Despite meeting Dortmund four times in one season, he couldn’t get his team to outplay the Germans even once. His tactical “genius” might have been easier to notice if he wasn’t so busy in convincing everyone of other things to hide the team’s own failures, this year making a U-turn in his usual approach by starting to blame those he felt responsible for his deteriorating status in the dressing room.
There have been managers who have done much worse than Mourinho at Real Madrid, but few created the feelings of distaste among Real Madrid fans such as him. That’s what happens when your ego tries to swallow the biggest club in the world, and hope to win for yourself instead of the team. Real Madrid is a luxury brand, supported by the Spanish government. The overall in feeling in Madrid, as the finals days of the Mourinho era rapidly approach, is that Mourinho hurt the respect that brand commands from the rest of the world.
The next manager might not be as interesting, but at least he’ll be easier to control.