Jose Mourinho's post-match press conference was never going to be comfortable after Atletico Madrid ended its 14-year hoodoo against its city rival in the Copa del Rey final at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Real coach was naturally asked where he will be next season, and responded as any coach in that situation might: by pointing out that there are two league games remaining, the direct and indirect opposition in those two games still have objectives to achieve and the league, the fans and the institution of Real Madrid should be respected.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but Atletico Madrid haven't had to wait too long for the chance to exact some payback on neighbor Real Madrid. The dust barely had time to settle on Los Blancos' 2-1 Liga victory over Atleti last month at the Vicente Calderon before manager Diego Simeone looked to Friday night's Copa del Rey final clash as a chance for redemption. "We will have another opportunity to beat Real on May 17," Simeone said immediately after the match. "We were closer than ever and there will be one match when the losing streak finally ends.
A Scudetto, Coppa Italia, a couple of European Cups, a UEFA Super Cup, a FIFA Club World Cup, a Premier League title, the FA Cup and a Ligue 1 title. Not a bad list of major honours for any football manager. Not a bad one at all. Carlo Ancelotti, the Paris Saint-Germain manager, has long been linked with replacing Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid and the desire for Los Blancos to make the Italian their new manager was made public this week when the French club, crowned champions on Sunday, revealed an approach from the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid's 1-1 tie in Cornella-El Prat against Espanyol handed the title to Barcelona with three weeks of the season remaining, but it was in essence merely a case of Jose Mourinho's side popping a cyanide pill before facing the firing squad. - Rigg: Madrid failure vs. Espanyol crowns Barca Even had the result gone the other way -- and in reality it should swung even further in the home side's favor but referee Iglesias Villanueva inexplicably disallowed Hector Moreno's effort after a bit of standard pushing and shoving with Xabi Alonso in the area -- it would only have papered over the cracks.
Visit the official Real Madrid website today (Sunday, May 12) and it'll take longer than you'd expect to find details and reaction to Los Blancos' 1-1 draw at Espanyol on Saturday night. That's because Madrid's basketball team are set to face Olympiacos in London for the European Cup, what would be the club's ninth in the sport. It all seems a bit familiar. The team has scooped up more European Cups than any other, with eight. The final is in London. While it's great news for the club's basketball fans, in a strange way it's almost rubbing salt into the wounds that Jose Mourinho and his men are not Wembley-bound for the final of the Champions League.
Believe it or not, there are some positives to take from this tumultuous season for Real Madrid. Arguments here, shock results there, in-fighting all over the place. A big failure in Los Blancos' defence of their Liga title and a disappointing, although not wholly outrageous, Champions League exit at the semi-final stage. -Karanka: Real 'ideal place' for Ronaldo That's not even mentioning the mudslinging that's gone flying between the Bernabeu and the Spanish press pretty much since day one of the season.
In a week when chatter surrounding Jose Mourinho has naturally centered on news of Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to retire at the end of the season, the Real coach has remained as silent as he done for much of his tenure at the Spanish champion. Although it is only a matter of time before Barcelona is crowned anew as Liga top dog, the wily Mourinho has kept his counsel as to his future and largely kept his counsel as Real's season draws to an increasingly acrimonious conclusion. In an increasingly rare appearance in front of what Mourinho believes are his chief tormentors, the Portuguese provocateur leveled a broadside at the club's crown jewel, Iker Casillas, singled out Pepe for a spot of abuse and managed to squeeze in a dig at arch-nemesis Barcelona while he was at it.
If there's one thing Jose Mourinho can take from what will be a relatively meaningless match in the grand scheme of things for Real Madrid against Malaga on Wednesday night, it's that he has lasted at the Bernabeu longer than most. With rumours over Mourinho's future at fever pitch following Madrid's exit from the Champions League last week, the Portuguese can at least look to the opposition bench, at Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini, and the long list of managers who have been in and out of the Bernabeu quicker than a Cristiano Ronaldo-led counterattack.
You'd be forgiven for thinking the Santiago Bernabeu hosted a boxing match on Saturday night, and not a La Liga match between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid. Los Blancos bounced back from their Champions League exit against Dortmund with a 4-3 win in a seven-goal thriller against the Pucela in the Spanish capital, but with the game being as close to a "dead rubber" as you will get, the talk after the match focused on the continued spat between manager Jose Mourinho and shunted goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Spectators expecting a low-key affair at the Bernabeu on Saturday night will have been left pleasantly surprised by the feast of goals that unfolded between the home side and Valladolid. The precedent had been set in the return match earlier in the season when Valladolid gave Real a torrid evening in the Nuevo Zorrilla, forcing Jose Mourinho into a defensive reshuffle that took in four formations in half of a half. - Ronaldo scores two in Real's win - Mourinho still undecided about future On this occasion, as then, it was Valladolid that took the initiative as the visiting side elected to go toe-to-toe with Real.
The dust has barely settled on Madrid's Champions League exit, but the talk already has turned to how Los Blancos should restructure their squad for next season. A piece of silverware is still up for grabs in the shape of the Copa del Rey later this month, but with dreams of La Decima at an end this season and La Liga long gone, it's time to start thinking about the ins and outs during the summer months at the Bernabeu. That talk probably started many months ago behind the scenes, especially at a club such as Madrid -- Jose Mourinho all but confirmed his departure this week -- and it means Madridistas can expect plenty of changes at their club for the 2013-14 season.
In the end, Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid fell just short of an epic European comeback at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night. Despite overwhelming the opposition for the first 45 minutes, Borussia Dortmund steadied after the break and had a couple of chances to put the tie beyond the home side, before Real’s late rally and siege of the visitor’s box. But it was a bridge too far for a side thoroughly beaten in Dortmund last week – and another example of the value of an away goal. Whether Barcelona will get as close to Bayern on Wednesday after failing to hit the net in Munich is doubtful.