Friday, May 28, 2010

Jose Mourinho's Move To Real Madrid Analyzed

With Manuel Pellegrini's sacking Real Madrid have, as expected, moved to appoint, double Champions League winning manager, Jose Mourinho as manager.
In a press conference on Wednesday night, Florentino Perez announced that Madrid had decided to terminate their working relationship with Pellegrini, but fell short of the much-anticipated unveiling of Mourinho as Los Blancos' newest manager.

"We have dedicated the last few weeks to analysing and reflecting upon the past season. And we have decided to bring to an end Manuel Pellegrini's time at the club," said Perez.
"We want to thank him and his team for their hard work, professionalism and conduct.
"The board also agreed to contract Jose Mourinho as the new coach of Real Madrid once his contractual relationship with Inter Milan has been resolved."
Since then Inter Milan and Real Madrid have agreed upon a compensation package £6.7 million for the £8 million-a-year manager who still had two years left on his contract.
Pellegrini paid the price for a poor relationship with Spanish papers Marca and AS who, quite viciously, criticised the Chilean for his defensive outlook and tactics, firmly laying the blame for Madrid's exit in the Champions League to Lyon in the Last-16 at his door.
Not once did the Madrid-biased media draw attention to the fact that Madrid have exited the Champions League at the same stage for the last six years or that "defensive Madrid" managed to score 102 goals in 38 games and conceding just 35 on their way to a 96 point haul that would have won them the league on any other season.
But as ever with Madrid, if Barcelona are doing better than they are, then it is not just another season.
Since Florentino Perez returned to the club, their spending has once again gone through the roof and the Galactico Mark-2 Project is stalling just as the last Galactico project did too. Hence the move to bring in Mourinho.
This is a huge departure for Real Madrid and Perez, and is an open admittance that the Galactico model does not work.
Perez said, “I am ready to admit to some mistakes, but the hiring of Mourinho, one of the world’s best coaches, is an opportunity that this Real Madrid, which always fights for excellence, could not afford to miss. We are absolutely convinced that we need a fresh impulse and that a coach like Mourinho can be the person to take charge of the squad for the next few years."
The only real obstacle to the completion deal/transfer concerns the buy-out clause in Mourinho’s £8 million-a-year contract at San Siro. It is rumoured that Inter Milan are holding out for £16million if Madrid want to secure Mourinho's services.
Anyone who knows anything about football knows that Mourinho's teams are not flamboyant, they're not extravagant, and they're hardly the most pleasing on the eye, but they are, above all, efficient, and winners at that.
Will Jose be able to impose his tactics and philosophy upon a Madrid team designed to attack?
Like any good manager, Mourinho will begin imprinting his vision of football on the defence and will concentrate on getting that area of the pitch "fixed."
With the 47-year-old's admittance that he wants to bring Maicon and Ashley Cole to the club, one would have to worry about the futures of Sergio Ramos, Marcelo Vieira, and Alvaro Arbeloa.
It is also slightly surprising that he chose not to mention a commanding centre half. He is a huge admirer of Ricardo Carvalho at Chelsea, originally bringing him to the club, and he tried to bring him to the San Siro too only for Inter's Sporting Director, Branca, to veto the deal and recommend Lucio instead.
Chelsea have told Carvalho that he is free to move in the summer, so it would not be beyond the realms of imagination to see the two Portuguese link up again. Sergio Ramos' future may also lie in the centre of defence and it is a position that he has excelled in before.
The rest of Madrid's spine is quite strong.
Iker Casillas is arguably the best 'keeper in the world. Xabi Alonso is one of the best central midfielders around, as Rafael Benitez found out to his detriment, and Gonzalo Higuain is a forward with plenty of potential, not to mention the forgotten men at Madrid, Karim Benzema, and Kaka.
With Mourinho's open praise for Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, many newspapers rushed to say that Kaka was surplus to the new plans at Real Madrid.
However, that should be pretty far from the mark.
Mourinho is a huge fan of Kaka and even tried to sign the Brazilian play-maker three times while he was at Chelsea. Now that he has finally got one of the players he admires most in the world at his club he is hardly likely to let him go.
The fact that Kaka just endured his worst season in years only strengthens the case for him to be kept at the Bernabeu, for a couple of reasons.
The first being that he was one of Perez's key signings, and whatever about the Madrid President coming out and changing his outlook on managers, he will not allow one of the most expensive signings in the club's history to be shipped out for reduced fee after just 12 months. It would be tantamount to signing his own death warrant with Madrid's fans.
Another reason for keeping Kaka at the club is that Jose Mourinho is one of the greatest man-managers of all time and one aspect of his job that he is brilliant at is his psychological management of players. He knows that if he gets the Brazilian firing on all cylinders again he will have made his own position at the club more powerful.
Kaka has also been signalled out for some rather harsh treatment by the Madrid based press who wrongfully thought they were signing a midfield general instead of the player who makes things work in the final third of the pitch.
That Kaka was the player to make the team tick, when in reality he is the player who makes the final pass of finishes the move.
With the players that Mourinho has signalled intent for, and with the players he will have at the club, it would seem that he may deviate back to the 4-2-3-1 formation that served him so well at Chelsea and leave his loose 4-3-3 in Italy.
Meaning that the four positions Mourinho has most worries about are the two full-back berths, central midfield, and the left attacking midfield position.
He has moved to distance himself from the rumours linking Angel De Maria's move to Madrid from Benfica, citing that the fee would be just too high for a player who has yet to prove himself at the highest level, although that may change after the World Cup.
Can Jose Mourinho get on with Cristiano Ronaldo?
Perhaps one of the biggest questions awaiting Mourinho at Real Madrid is can both he and Ronaldo get along?
The simple answer is yes.
Both are born winners and if anything, Ronaldo's game has moved on a gear from when he was at Manchester United.
Not that Madrid have brought him along or anything but tactically, technically, and physically, the former World Player of the Year has simply matured as a player.
The two Portuguese nationals had a spat some years ago when Mourinho accused Ronaldo of being self-centered on the football pitch forcing the then-Manchester United player to hit back with comments of his own.
Since then they have reconciled and recognise that each is a winner on different terms, but they do have a healthy respect for each other. Ronaldo will be a key component for Jose and his game should move on another level again.
Will Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho Play "Attractive" Football?
Winning managers before him have paid the price for what the Madristas deemed as defensive football, namely Vicente Del Bosque and Fabio Capello.
Del Bosque oversaw Madrid's most successful period since their great team of the '50s and in just four seasons in charge he won the Champions League twice, 2000 and 2002, La Liga in 2001 and 2003, a Spanish Super Cup in 2001, and both the UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup in 2002, on top of making the Semi-Finals of the Champions League every year.
Madrid sacked him only two days after winning the title in 2003 for playing unattractive football...
Capello was with Madrid twice as a manager. The first time was for a single season in 1996/97 where he won La Liga before making a strange return to AC Milan who he had left to take over at the Bernabeu.
He then returned in 2006 to a Madrid team that were going through one of the longest spells without a trophy in the clubs history. Nothing had gone right for Los Blancos since Del Bosque's sacking in 2003 and Capello was seen as the right man to right the flagging ship.
He duly delivered on that promise on the final day of the season to secure Madrid their 30th La Liga title, but was sacked in mid June...The reason being his defensive style of play.
Anyone who has watched Jose Mourinho's teams over his 10-year management career knows that his teams are efficient rather than attractive.
His time at Porto saw the Poruguese giants play a rather defensive game on their way to the Champions League title in 2004.
In fairness to Mourinho and Porto, they did not have the same resources as some of the teams they knocked out, namely Manchester United, Lyon, Deportivo La Coruna, and Monaco in the Final.
However, the same excuse could not be used while he was manager of Chelsea.
In his first summer in charge (2004/05) of the Pensioners, Mourinho spent some £80million, on top of the £125 million the sacked Claudio Ranieri had spent the year before.
The following year (2005/06) he spent a further £93 million although it must be said that £30 million of that was on Andrei Shevchenko, who Roman Abrahmovich insisted on signing.
This signing caused a huge wedge between owner and manager and the writing was on the wall for Jose when Abrahmovich only gave him £7 million to spend the following season.
Between 2004 and 2007 Chelsea were one of the highest spending teams in the world and they enjoyed great success, but they never played the most attractive football.
They played efficient, tactical, winning football that kept the Blues fans and players extremely happy, but questions were raised about Mourinho's philosophy on the game.
When he moved to Inter Milan in 2008, it seemed a match made in heaven. A seemingly defensive coach and an Italian team...
Inter had just won three Scudetto's under Roberto Mancini and he was sacked by the club to make room for Jose. In his two years in charge he brough another two Serie A titles and the UEFA Champions League, the club's first since 1965.
Mourinho was also joining a select group of Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld as the only three managers to win the Champions League with two different clubs.
This was also achieved using withdrawn tactics. On the way to the Final, Inter Milan set a new record as the first team to win the coveted trophy with a negative possession rate of just 43 percent. Meaning that for the vast majority of the Nerrazzurri's route to the final they did their best work without the ball.
One amazing statistic is that as of May 9, 2010, Jose Mourinho is on a run of 136 home league matches unbeaten: 38 (W36–D2) with Porto, 60 (W46–D14) with Chelsea and 38 (W29–D9) with Internazionale.
His last and only home league defeat came when Porto were defeated 3–2 by Beira Mar on 23 February 2002.
Can the leopard change his spots and play the expansive football craved by the Madristas?
Looking at his record and his early comments, it would seem that Jose teams will still be centered on team-work and cohesion above all else.
"It will be a balanced team. We will have our own identity, we won't imitate anyone." He said before adding, "a team is a team. It's very difficult to be better than your opponents for the whole 90 minutes, so there's always a moment where you have to be a team and make sacrifices."
Real Madrid is well known for it's political games, will Jose be up to that task?
The hardest lesson learnt by Jose Mourinho in his management career has been his sacking by Chelsea.
He became involved in background politics with Roman Abrahmovich after Andrei Shevchenko's signing. Thinking that he had all the power, he chose to vent his anger in public, but only enraged the Russian owner more.
In the end, he would admit that, he handled the situation badly and it is still one that stings him to the core. As an older, wiser, and more mature man he is walking into the bear-pit that is the Santiago Bernabeu with eyes wide open.
For the past couple of weeks his agent, Jorge Mendez, has been negotiating on his behalf and one of the major sticking points has been the future role that Jorge Valdano will play.
The current Real Madrid sporting director is quoted as comparing Mourinho and his Chelsea team to being the equivalent of "shit on a stick."
It is a soundbyte that will not be lost on Mourinho as he talks to Perez on his future with the club and on Valdano's future role with the club.
There will be many points given and conceded over the negotiations but one of the major ones will be a lack of interference from Valdano. He may not be sacked from the club but Mourinho will ensure that he will be at arms length from his team.
One other area that Mourinho will have to deal with delicately is the Spanish media, or more precisely the Real Madrid media, Marca and AS.
Both are very influential and will turn on a manager or player given half the chance, especially if they deem them unworthy of being Madristas.
Looking back at Mourinho's other sabre battles with the press one would expect this particular relationship to be a rocky one.
While at Inter he regularly employed the tactic that he is wanted in England and that is where he wants to end up, expect the same ploy to be used again as he looks to control their actions with mild threats of resignation.
The very fact that he has already come out and said he wants to "return to England after Madrid" is a sure sign that the first of many volleys has been fired.
His Transfer Targets
After touching upon them earlier on we return to Mourinho's transfer targets.
Maicon, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard are already known. Mourinho has made these four clear while also distancing himself from Diego Milito, Daniele De Rossi, Angel De Maria, and Fabio Coentrao.
De Rossi is available due to a contract stipulation and Roma's well known financial troubles which could force them to sell their prized asset, but Mourinho has already stated that he feels De Rossi is the future of Roma and that thet won't part with the powerful midfielder.
Javi Martinez of Atletic Bilbao has also been linked with a move to Madrid. The 21-year-old central midfielder has a growing reputation and is seen by many as the future of the Spanish national side. The youth is constantly being linked with moves to bigger clubs and has a proven track record in La Liga, even being named in Vicente Del Bosque's 23-man squad for the World Cup.
He has also said that "Barcelona have signed well and are going to be stronger than this year" so he knows who his main threat is and where Pep Guardiola is coming from.
He also knows who Guardiola's main target for the rest of the summer is, Cesc Fabregas.
He also plays in a position that Madrid need filling straight away...
It would be no surprise to see Jose bid for Fabregas to a) sign a brilliant player and fix a problem area and b) weaken Barcelona's chances of winning a third consecutive Primera League title as well as c) endearing himself to Madrid's fans while upsetting his old employer.
Fernando Torres is also a player who should be watched closely. He has moved to distance himself from his agents comments saying he committed to Liverpool and has instead said that he would see how things are in two months. Leaving the door ajar for any team that could afford him.
It could even be that Real Madrid may not sign another Galactico, as they will have already brought in the biggest Galactico of all, Jose Mourinho.
"I want to win the league because no coach has ever won the English, Italian and Spanish leagues. 
"I want to be the first to do it and the first to lift the Champions League with three different clubs. 
"But I can't arrive and say we're going to win the league taking into account such a great team we're facing, like Barca is. 
"Only a top team can win the treble. If Real Madrid become a top team, then it can win the treble."
The psychology has already begun...Bring on the Special One.