An iconic club, nine times European champions, a combustible, but ultra successful trainer ; One of the best forwards currently in their ranks, Spanish champions, and a team with no less than four, double European championship, and world cup winners in their first eleven. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, we are talking about the Great Real Madrid, and it's glittering personnel. If you overlook the grand introduction I have accorded them, we are talking about a club, a team, and a trainer in the middle of a crisis of some proportions. Real Madrid are sixteen points behind Barcelona in La Liga; third in the table, even behind back waters, Atletico Madrid. Who is to blame ? take your peak.... Jose Mourinho who manages the team, the players, internal politics ????? more like the first two.
Real Madrid would weather storms, and continue to write successful chapters in it's history. The club as ever shall keep the worthy players, and rid itself of the unproductive ones. If Real Madrid fail to get past Manchester United in the 2012 / 2013 champions league last 16 tie, Jose Mourinho, their combustible coach would no doubt be the poster boy for their failure. A man who plays high stakes always in his quest for success and trophies, or in confrontation of any sort. A man whose coaching fame was born after his swagger out of Old Traffford in 2004, when his Porto team downed United 3-2 on aggregate. He went on to win the champions league that year, and that triumph defined Jose Mourinho's standards. He taunted his rivals about his levels of success. He brought a new definition to success..... it was personalized. Here we are, on the eve of Real Madrid's second round tie with the premiership leaders Man Utd, and Jose Mourinho's reign as Real Madrid's trainer hangs by a thread.... in the most vulnerable and precarious of situations he has ever been professionally. This tie holds the key to the next chapter in Mourinho's coaching career. Another flawed genius ? all those lofty words he said " am the special one"......." i am the only one "....... shall unravel before him with the out come of this tie. Truth or dare ? Only the coveted champions league trophy can save Mourinho's job, or at least insulate him after the impending sack as manager at the Bernabeu. Isn't it ironic he needs the Champions League for redemption ? After winning La Liga last year, Real have gone into a tail spin, with their volatile coach feuding with his players, the spanish media, club officials, referees, and all. High stakes or siege syndrome ? motivation or implosion ? Mourinho has used these ploys as a means to an end, but diminishing returns have set-in. He is going to taste his own medicine. Decline, or the beginning of it is imminent.
No doubt this tie shall be a fascinating contest. The winner of it would need to master certain elements better. ADAPTABILITY : winning will depend on which team settles best to the change in style from the regimen of playing domestically over the last two months. DEFENDING : two teams with lethal marksmen in Ronaldo and Robin van persie. FIRST LEG ADVANTAGE : the team to come out of the first leg with an advantage of any sort would go on to win the tie. I am backing United on all three indices . It started out as a strange season for them with a spate of injuries, musical chairs in the keeper's department, a suspect defense, and questions about van Persie being able to replicate his Arsenal goal scoring feat. Fergie and his team have consistently found solutions to these issues, and the team have performed to a consistent level in quality, and starting to gain the right sort of momentum for february - April. I believe United have the players to generate the sort of flexibility crucial to this tie. Robin van persie and Wayne Rooney hold the key for them. Rooney can do everything on the pitch, and is playing right now with sublime imagination. van Persie has that menacing look at the moment - a devil in the box, with an instinct to conjure a goal from an improbable situation
if United have consistently found solutions, Real Madrid are wallowing in the lack of them. One doubts their manager's psychological and motivational skills being able to get through to the players. Madrid's strongest point is not about style, but substance, and in particular scoring goals. They have lost too many times this season to be able to raise their game past United. Jose Mourinho is a great tactician, but United are not as predictable as Barcelona ; at this point, he is like an artist without a canvass to paint on. Having said that, with Ronaldo the scoring sensation, and the duo of Mezut Ozil and Angel Di Maria, Real have the sort of players to squeeze you in the tender areas. These three are key to Real taking this tie.
I repeat : I fancy United all the way. They have the nuances that are vital to clinching this this two legged contest. It would be the end of Real's grand ambition of a tenth champions league success, and an end to Morinho's contentious reign in Madrid. Who would have thought the champions league would prove to be his hamstring. What a crazy game !