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glasgowdon

Spanish Fitba

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It was as though somebody had unearthed a holy relic. Four pieces of screwed-up paper, abandoned on the turf by the away dugout at the Rico Pérez stadium, home of Herculés, who stand 14th in La Liga. The documents that would unlock the secret, unravel the mystery. Four tiny pieces of paper treated with reverential awe.

 

They were pages torn from José Mourinho's pad. They featured notes such as "pace, movement TR9", "depth, dead balls, switch wings", "arrival, counter". Then there were initials – DM and PL on either side, O and XA in the middle, K behind. And on the final page, numbers: 38, 13, and 6 in a column, 57 below, with "10 months" scrawled alongside. What did it all mean? The relics were carefully gathered up and taken to Canal Plus's flagship show El Día Después. The following day, they were spread across the first two pages of the newspaper AS.

 

Not only was the substance analysed, so was the style – by a handwriting expert and a psychologist. Apparently, Mourinho's long Ts, round numbers and "vibrant" scrawl show he is a "good man" with an "astonishing capacity for leadership", "a strong, decisive character", and "noble" with "incredible intelligence". As for the numbers, he was surely planning his season: it meant 10 months, 38 league games, 13 Champions League games, six in the Copa del Rey. It was a good sign: he was counting on reaching the Champions League final. That was the theory, anyway.

 

Few of the faithful doubted Mourinho would succeed. On one side of Spain's great divide – the side he confronts tomorrow night when he takes his Real Madrid team to Barcelona – Mourinho has been painted as immoral, barely better than Beelzebub. But still he occupies their time; never does a day pass without an attack. On the other side, Mourinho is feted, revered, lauded. Everything he does is part of a master plan, a work of genius. He may be Machiavellian but he is a winner.

 

Last week's red-card furore in the Champions League game at Ajax summed up his season. Real won 4-0 but had two men sent off for time-wasting and incurred Uefa's wrath, as both players thus avoided the possibility of suspension in the first knockout tie. The players and Mourinho have been accused of subterfuge; Madrid's wonderful football lost under a deluge of controversy.

 

Life in Spain had not started well when Mourinho left Inter early in the summer, having overseen the Milanese side's coronation as European champions. Real drew 0-0 twice in three away games, and many feared that his football would be intolerably boring. His team responded by winning their next three games 6-1, 4-1, and 6-1. They racked up seven straight victories. They are top of the league, a point ahead of Barça, having scored 33 in 12 games. No incoming manager has ever started better in this league.

 

There is a collective faith about Madrid: watching Angel di María, the expression of Mourinho's methods on the pitch, is to witness sacrifice and unity. Mourinho has built team spirit. He has beaten it into some: Pedro León was left out for two games, Karim Benzema castigated for arriving late, Sergio Canales dismissed with a simple: "I didn't like him." Defensively, they are sound. They play with pace and precision, devastating on counterattacks launched from Xabi Alonso. They are enjoying more possession than his previous teams ever did, too, with quick interchanges led by Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo and the deceptively simple Mesut Ozil.

'This year's galáctico is Mourinho,' Florentino Pérez said. But Sporting Gijón's Manolo Preciado called him a 'scumbag'

It is not just that Mourinho is winning; it is that he is different. That he can do things his way. No Madrid coach has had such authority. Mourinho has brought a seismic shift at the Santiago Bernabéu. Barcelona have often been identified by their coaches; Madrid have not. Until now. The latest edition of the official club magazine says: "Now, the world's best coach is here." At the start of the season, Madrid's president, Florentino Pérez, announced: "This year's galáctico is Mourinho."

 

Consulted on signings (Ricardo Carvalho and Di María arrived on his insistence), he controls everything and has become the voice of the club, Real's identity. Pérez could not be happier. One director insists: "He is easily the best coach in the world. Not only does he know about tactics, he is the best psychologist, the best manager of egos and the best in the transfer market."

 

The sports newspaper Marca can barely contain itself: Mourinho, one cover ran, "provokes an orgasmou". Headlines with "mou" in them appear obligatory; some are even calling his team Real Moudrid.

 

El País called him the "Michael Jackson of coaches". Canal Plus's analysis of his notes bordered on a scene from the Life of Brian. Notes! It is a sign! When Spain's competition committee investigated a confrontation between him and Manolo Preciado, the Sporting Gijón manager, Marca superimposed his head on to Goya's most famous painting, The third of May 1808, which depicts a humble, defenceless Spaniard facing a French firing squad. He was that important.

 

Not everyone saw him as an innocent victim. Although it was Preciado who insulted Mourinho, calling him a "scumbag", First Division coaches rallied round the Sporting coach. Mourinho had broken the golden rule, questioning another coach's professionalism, accusing Preciado of throwing his match against Barcelona. Preciado is popular; Mourinho has previous, with the constant digs at referees and at opponents.

 

If in Barcelona they are, as Mourinho insists, "obsessed" with him, he has been equally obsessed with them. It is his mission to destroy them. So far, the provocation is not working. Pep Guardiola refuses to be drawn. Nonetheless, when the Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, said Mourinho would get the "reception he deserves" at the Camp Nou, most considered it a threat.

 

And Madrid are more of a threat than ever before. Mourinho's first mission for Madrid came while he was still coach at Inter: to defeat Barcelona in last year's Champions League semi-final. After four trophyless seasons, winning is all that matters. So what if he winds a few people up on the way?

 

"Those who attack him are just jealous because he is successful," said Alfredo Di Stefáno, Madrid's honorary president. "We didn't sign him to make friends," Emilio Butragueño, the former striker who is now a director, said. "We signed him to win."

 

And to win tomorrow above all.

Sid Lowe - Observer

 

Looking forward to tomorrow night even though the first encounter of the season (for the fourth time in a row I think). Hopefully it's not another red button job and I can watch it at home on Virgin.

 

 

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Graham Hunter has a very similar article in today's Herald, apparently Mourinho shouted at Benzema in front of the press at an open training session "You are always half asleep when you start training Benzema! I could reschedule for late afternoon and you'd still be a dozy cunt... WAKE UP!"

 

Has he not noticed that he's mostly like that in matches, too?

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Only one team in it. 

 

Commentator: "Xavi, the unsung hero..." Eh?

 

Marcelo is fucking guff. Shite on both goals, not following runs and not even being aware of the runs either. Criminal and frankly amateurish stuff.

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Carvalho's had two off the ball incidents with Messi in the last 15 mins, one leaving his foot in when messi was on the deck in the box then the elbow/shoulder to the face.  Lucky to be on the pitch in my opinion.

 

Saying that the aggression that's in the game has stopped Barca walking away with the match, thought after 20 mins it would be a rout!

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All those moaning fuckers who were banging on at the end of last season about how barca are so overrated should be eating some humble pie.

 

Absolute league of their own.

 

Also, Mourinho must have his coat on a shoogly peg given how trigger happy the real board are. Losing this heavily and playing that badly in THIS game. oooooft.

 

LOLZ

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Arbeloa on for Marcelo. Arbeloa is pretty ding too but Marcelo should never play at left back. Wouldn't even play him at left midfield. I'd let him hand out the drinks at half time or something.  Khedira has looked utterly lost too.

 

Barcelona have been tremendous for all that.

 

Quite simply the best team on the planet. Made a very strong madrid team look very very poor.

Still half an hour to go as well!

 

Are they though? This is the first real test in La Liga for them. Through in Europe but Milan aren't great and Ajax and Auxerre are only middling sides these days.

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Arbeloa on for Marcelo. Arbeloa is pretty ding too but Marcelo should never play at left back. Wouldn't even play him at left midfield. I'd let him hand out the drinks at half time or something.  Khedira has looked utterly lost too.

 

Barcelona have been tremendous for all that.

 

Are they though? This is the first real test in La Liga for them. Through in Europe but Milan aren't great and Ajax and Auxerre are only middling sides these days.

 

Marcelo seemed to be coming onto a game under Mourinho but he has been hopeless tonight!

 

I'd say Madrid are a strong team, understand what you're saying about not really being tested so far but this season they are unbeaten, seem to have discovered how to defend and grind out results under mourinho.  I think its just that Barceloa are a number of levels above this madrid team even when they are playing well.

 

Still can't understand why Carvalho is still on the pitch...

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Was fairly disgusted by madrid's rough-house tactics tonight, the game plan seemed to be "kick the fuck out of messi" and I'm astonished Carvalho stayed on the pitch, that foul at the end has confirmed it in my mind that he must have compromising photos of the ref.

 

Barca were a joy to watch though, from the first minute to the last.  Thats how football should be played.

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Was fairly disgusted by madrid's rough-house tactics tonight, the game plan seemed to be "kick the fuck out of messi" and I'm astonished Carvalho stayed on the pitch, that foul at the end has confirmed it in my mind that he must have compromising photos of the ref.

 

Barca were a joy to watch though, from the first minute to the last.  Thats how football should be played.

 

aye i think it would have been a few goals more if the ref hadn't been so lenient for madrid. almost came back to haunt him at the end. if carvalho had broken messi's leg there'd have been hell to pay.

 

Over all though, I needed cheering up and that certainly was fucking hilarious!

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Madrid playing shite + Barca being awesome = 5-0.

 

Only an idiot would think anything else.

 

Madrid's best player..................Diarra.

 

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Marcelo seemed to be coming onto a game under Mourinho but he has been hopeless tonight!

 

I'd say Madrid are a strong team, understand what you're saying about not really being tested so far but this season they are unbeaten, seem to have discovered how to defend and grind out results under mourinho.  I think its just that Barceloa are a number of levels above this madrid team even when they are playing well.

 

Still can't understand why Carvalho is still on the pitch...

 

Marcelo has been shit for years at Madrid, i can't quite fathom how he's still there.

 

The defence has improved hugely with the addition of Carvalho. But their midfield didn't help them tonight at all and that's horrendous when they play two holding midfielders in the first half then 3 in the second.

 

Not sure if it's the same incident you guys are talking about but it was Ramos who hammered Messi.

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Marcelo has been shit for years at Madrid, i can't quite fathom how he's still there.

 

The defence has improved hugely with the addition of Carvalho. But their midfield didn't help them tonight at all and that's horrendous when they play two holding midfielders in the first half then 3 in the second.

 

Not sure if it's the same incident you guys are talking about but it was Ramos who hammered Messi.

 

Aye know it was ramos that made contact, seemed to be both players trying to take messi out of the game though!

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Aye know it was ramos that made contact, seemed to be both players trying to take messi out of the game though!

 

Think that'd have been harsh on Carvalho (in that incident, should have been off earlier), Ramos deserved his red. That was a despicable challenge.

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Think that'd have been harsh on Carvalho (in that incident, should have been off earlier), Ramos deserved his red. That was a despicable challenge.

 

Aye your right enough i rewound it and must have seen it wrong!

 

Thought at the time it was carvalho with the tackle then ramos with the push afterwards!

 

 

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Think a sending off for the elbow/shoulder thing would have been harsh.  It's always going to happen if you shrug someone off when they have their face planted in your back.  No need for Messi to be there.  That said, I'm surprised Carvalho he was still on the pitch at the end.

 

Going to be quite interesting in the next Spain dressing room considering Ramos put Puyol on his arse.  ;D

 

Ah-thi-thi-thi-thi-thi-thi-thi-thi-thi.........

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