There’s no middle ground with Jose Mourinho, and such was his tenure with Real Madrid, and the perception of it. Some might call it a success, especially if you’re the man himself, proud of his record breaking second season with the team, and others happen to call it a failure, which seems to be the more accurate description.
In a recent interview Jose Mourinho decalres himself as the coach of the greatest team in Real Madrid history, a club with nine European Cups. As far as Mourinho’s is concerned, his ability to halt the Barcelona title streak for one season is enough to place himself above the rest – above the first Galacticos team of the early 00’s, above the Real Madrid team of the 1980’s and obviously, above the Real Madrid team that won European title after European title when the competition just began.
The logic works like this for Mourinho: Forget about the amounts spent during those two seasons to help him win the Champions League (which he failed to do), and focus only on one season in which Real Madrid won the title, forgetting about his first and third years, which were about finishing behind Barcelona, and during his third season lose the chance to win the title before the Christmas break while being in charge of the social fabric falling apart.
For Mourinho, all that matters is that in that season, he won the league title with 100 points (tied by Barcelona a season later) and with 121 goals. It’s an answer to all his critics about his negative football and “defensive” teams. For Mourinho, numbers matter when they help him in the public perception court, not when they suggest otherwise. When the statistics go against him, it’s better to simply refer to his opinion.
The dry facts? Real Madrid spent €164 million during Mourinho’s time, more than anyone else in Spain including Barcelona. All that brought one league title, one Copa Del Rey, one Spanish Super Cup and three Champions League semifinals. Not exactly the greatest period in the history of the club, which happens to be the most decorated football club in Europe, ever.
For Mourinho, everything is smaller than him. Real Madrid’s ambition to win a 10th title? His desire to win the Champions League for the third time with a third team is more important. He’s used to bringing clubs up, like he did with Chelsea, Porto and even with Inter, who haven’t tasted European success in almost 50 years. Real Madrid have always been bigger than any one man, and Jose Mourinho struggles to live in a world where his opinion isn’t the most important thing for the fans, the media and his players.
After his burnt ground tactics last season, it’s surprising to see him actually care about what people in Spain think about his time with Real Madrid. Apparently, Mourinho doesn’t want to be remembered as a failure, but all the words and spins won’t be able to change the facts.