From the outside looking in, it seems like Real Madrid are imploding. Their disappointing results under two different managers have tilted their campaign onto the verge of crisis. Top stars are under-performing, there is uncertainty in the dugout and the remaining spectators at the Santiago Bernabeu are beyond restless.
Florentino Perez, the man who has guided Los Blancos out of Barcelona’s shadow and into an era of European dominance, has spoken recently of the values and qualities of the club. He’s called for unity and stability, constantly referring to Madrid’s three consecutive Champions League triumphs as an example of the club’s standards. The boos and whistles heard inside the Bernabeu on Sunday from those that actually turned up reflected the fractious relationship between team and fans. Santiago Solari’s team lacked cohesion, organisation and determination as they virtually surrendered to Imanol Alguacil and his Real Sociedad side.
Marcelo celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his arrival at Real Madrid this week but wasn’t shown any love by the Madridstas on Sunday, quite the opposite. He’s not the only one to have been given a hostile reception this season. Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema – all of which have netted in Champions League finals for the club – are among other names to be jeered by the home faithful while the rumours of Luka Modric’s potential move to Inter have been met with animosity. One man who made the reverse trip a decade ago is currently sitting without a job and, as the weeks and below-par results go by, there seems to be a sense of inevitability about his next destination.
Perez has never hidden his admiration for Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager earned the respect of the Bernabeu board by dethroning the juggernaut of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and winning the league title in 2012.
However, whatever recognition Mourinho gained from those at the club, he lost during the following season as the dressing room was torn apart by a clash between Mourinho and Madrid’s senior players. There’s no secret that the likes of Sergio Ramos would be opposed to a possible return for his former boss, in the same way that he was against Antonio Conte’s appointment earlier in the campaign.
On the other hand, Mourinho’s soured reputation is doing him and his job prospects no favours. His failings at Chelsea and Manchester United outweigh the successes and his tendency to sway towards negative football would be met with disdain by Madridstas and new signings alike. However, Florentino Perez’s opinion is valued higher than any other at the Bernabeu and he almost always gets what he wants.