What’s Really going on at Madrid
PHIL SCOLARI’S return as Brazil boss has little to do with his debut coinciding with a game against England at Wembley in February.
Scolari may feel he has a point to prove on our shores after his ill-fated seven-month spell at Chelsea during the 2008-09 season.
He has turned down three invitations to return to the Brazil hotseat in the past eight years. But his appointment now is not a complete shock. People remember Scolari was the last man to guide Brazil to a World Cup triumph in 2002.
What they forget is that back then, too, he took the job in desperate circumstances.
Brazil were on the brink of elimination with just five qualifying matches left.
But the Samba stars stumbled into the tournament and won it — after beating England in the quarter-finals with THAT Ronaldinho free-kick.
Big Phil has 1994 World Cup-winning boss Carlos Alberto Parreira as his technical director.
The only manager to win two World Cups was Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo in 1934 and 1938. Brazil have won the trophy five times with as many managers.
Scolari’s biggest headache, other than knocking Neymar, Oscar and Co into shape, is that another manager is also bidding to win his second World Cup — Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque.
YOU wouldn’t have thought Cristiano Ronaldo wants to quit Real Madrid judging by the way he inspired his team’s triumph against Atletico.
Nor that Jose Mourinho is counting down his last season at the Bernabeu as 80,000 fans cheered him to the rafters.
Before and after Real’s 2-0 derby win on Saturday, top sources at the club told me the two are on their way. Categorically. Well, as categorical as anyone can be, about the Bernabeu soap opera.
Mourinho stole the show before the game, Ronaldo during it.
The Special One delivered a tactical masterplan, galvanizing the players and fickle fans who jeered him just four days earlier against minnows Alcoyano.
Ronaldo is great at forgetting his frustrations when he’s on the pitch. A fantastic free-kick opener, an assist for Mesut Ozil’s clincher, hitting the bar with another dead ball and a sensational 60-yard sprint to meet Ozil’s pass and first-time shot that hit the post.
Sources close to Real president Florentino Perez described the situation as “unsustainable”. With both.
The word behind the scenes was that BOTH Ronaldo and Mourinho “know” this is their last season at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo hasn’t got the new deal he wants, including 100 per cent of his image rights. Madrid do not support him enough in the FIFA Ballon d’Or propaganda war. Madrid do not protect him enough.
He needed eight stitches above his left eye after an horrific elbow from Levante’s David Navarro last month. Madrid said nothing. At United, Alex Ferguson’s outrage would have dominated the news agenda.
Perez is rumoured to have told the winger he can leave but it would cost “enough money to buy Lionel Messi”.
Sir Alex says United have first option and Ronaldo would love to come back.
True. But for how much? Is it worth it? He will be 28 in the summer and will have no resale value. A fee freely discussed in high circles is £120million.
It would be the greatest transfer in United’s history but also a financial fiasco despite the shirt sales. How could United chief executive David Gill justify selling Ronaldo for £80m at 24 and rebuying him for much more at 28 years of age?
It cannot happen unless Madrid accept a lesser fee — which they cannot justify to their own fans. It would not be enough to “buy Messi” anyway.
Perez faces a presidential election in the summer. If anyone tells you Real will accept a cut-price fee from United, start laughing.
Losing Ronaldo will take some selling to the fans. Losing Mourinho less so. He was booed in midweek in the Spanish Cup, and Real are 11 points behind Barcelona and still in THIRD place, and barely convincing in the Champions League.
Then add Mourinho’s high-profile fall-outs with stars like Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, who said after the derby: “The future of Mourinho does not depend on me. Each one is free to decide his future.” Ouch. Nevertheless, there is no one like the Special One for a special occasion — like the local derby in a season mired in mediocrity.
He challenged fans to boo him again at 9.20pm, 40 minutes before kick-off.
On the dot, Mourinho strolled out and stood next to 150 photographers and cameramen, all lenses trained on him.
Around 3,000 early-comers applauded. When his name was announced before kick-off 80,000 fans cheered. Great tactics. On and off the pitch.
So, where next for Ronaldo and Mourinho? Chelsea, City or Paris St Germain? Take your pick.
Roman Abramovich is not exactly short of money. Or genuine affection for Mourinho. Pep Guardiola may be the Russian’s No 1 option but if, as is likely, he says “no gracias”, how do you win back the fans furious at the appointment of Rafa Benitez?
Plucking Mourinho from Madrid would cost £15m — a year’s gross wages. Would Abramovich break the bank for Ronaldo, too?
Or perhaps PSG will continue their crazy spending by pursuing the pair. Carlo Ancelotti’s side lost 2-1 in Nice on Saturday, their third defeat in five. And it is understood they have already sounded out Jorge Mendes — agent of both Mourinho and Ronaldo.
Playing in France must be a decision Ronaldo is hoping he won’t have to make.
Will City break the bank, and United’s morale, to take Ronaldo? And/or Mourinho?
The main problem in these cases is convincing people to leave a club — particularly when it is arguably the biggest in the world.
Well, you can take that for granted. Mourinho and Ronaldo are open to offers. Any takers?
PS 1: Benitez would be a shoo-in to replace Mourinho. This might be in peril if the fiasco in West London continues.
PS 2: Barcelona, under Tito Vilanova, have made the best start to a season ever in La Liga with 13 wins and one draw. They are 11 points clear of Real and six ahead of Atletico. Pep who?
Posted on December 3, 2012, in Sports and tagged José Mourinho, Lionel Messi, Madrid, Mourinho, Real Madrid C.F., Roman Abramovich, Ronaldo, Vicente Del Bosque. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.