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Can Mourinho make a difference to Real Madrid?

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Phil Minshull | 18:36 UK time, Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Last week's arrival of Germany's World Cup revelation Mesut Ozil from Werder Bremen took Real Madrid's spending this summer to 74m euros (£60.8m), a not inconsiderable amount even by the extravagant standards of fellow European high rollers Manchester City.

Clearly, Real president Florentino Perez is once again hoping that success can be bought.

In addition to Ozil, Perez has lavished his money far and wide, purchasing Argentine winger Angel di Maria from Benfica, Ozil's compatriot Sami Khedira from Stuttgart, Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho from Chelsea as well as, and making a rather shorter journey than his fellow newcomers, Pedro Leon from Getafe.

Waving a chequebook around wasn't a tactic that worked for Perez and Real last season, though.

Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and all the other expensive signings were embarrassingly unable to lift any silverware as they were outshone by Barcelona domestically and out-thought in Europe by Lyon.

However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him.

Pellegrini was predictably jettisoned as soon as last season came to an end and Perez brought in Jose Mourinho to steer his team, adding to his outlay by making him the most expensive coach in the world on a salary believed to be about 13m euros (£10.6m).

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho
Mourinho will hope to work his magic with Real Madrid

So, ahead of the start of La Liga this weekend, the big question is: can Mourinho justify the staggering amount of cash that has been spent on himself and his squad and turn Real Madrid into title contenders again?

"To not win La Liga or the Champions League this season will be a disaster," said Mourinho, his usual bullish self upon his arrival in the Spanish capital at the end of May.

Perhaps his words will come back to haunt him, and personally I have a feeling they will, but then Mourinho has also shown time and time again that he is capable of producing title-winning performances from his players.

Some of the Spanish media, particularly those based in Madrid with a certain loyalty to the club, have predictably hailed Mourinho as the second messiah, especially in the wake of his success with Inter Milan.

Other pundits feel that, with a nod from me to Monty Python, he's more of a naughty boy: a cheeky Portuguese chappy with a mischievous sense of humour and an inflated opinion of himself who will be inevitably brought down to earth by Barcelona and their coach Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola has shown no signs of being intimidated by Mourinho, although the anticipated mind games between the two men have yet to start in earnest.

"The good thing is that this (Barca) team has not just started to play well but has done so for a long time," said Guardiola, at a news conference on Tuesday which effectively acted as a prologue for the new season.

"However, not making the final of last season's Champions League also served as a useful lesson. We still need the humility, even after all these years, of knowing that we must work hard. We must work harder than the previous year and we know we can do things better."

Inevitably, Guardiola was also asked about his opposite number and, because of his Champions League triumph two years ago, he is one of the few men that Mourinho has to accept as an equal.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola
Guardiola has shown no signs of being intimidated by Mourinho

"We must keep our eyes wide open, this Real Madrid is very strong," he said. "They are always scary whoever is there and we're not so superior. I might feel differently if we had won the La Liga by 20 points (in the end it was five) or reached the final of the Champions League.

"It's a pleasure to have Mourinho here [in Spain]. The best players make the league better and great coaches do that too," added the Barca coach respectfully.

Looking for hints that Mourinho is able to work the same kind of magic that he did at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, the newspapers have focused on the fact that Madrid have gone undefeated through the pre-season.

However, what virtue there is to have beaten the likes of the LA Galaxy (not to mention newly-promoted Hercules) and then fought out two unimpressive draws against Bayern Munich and Standard Liege remains to be seen.

At least in these friendly matches there were a few early hints about the changes that Mourinho is likely make when things get serious.

One of them appears to be that Ronaldo will work more behind the two strikers, a role that could allow him a lot more freedom, just as Mourinho utilised Wesley Sneijder at Inter and Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

Sadly, from a neutral's point of view, it looks like no other La Liga team will still be able to challenge the two Spanish giants.

Worryingly for many, including myself, who would dearly love to see some uninvited guests to the annual 10-month long Real and Barca party, the gulf may get even larger. There was a yawning 25-point gap between Real and third-place Valencia last season.

In the last six years, Barca and Real Madrid have occupied the top two spots every season, apart from the hugely surprising second place achieved by Villarreal three seasons ago, but the days when Valencia and Deportivo La Coruna were able to challenge for the title in the early years of the 21st century are rapidly becoming a distant memory.

Barcelona and Real Madrid start with away games at Racing Santander and Real Mallorca on Sunday, outings which should theoretically generate three points.

It probably will not be this weekend when the relative merits of Spain's perennial two top teams can be compared closely, but there is not too long to wait until 'El Clasico', with the Camp Nou playing host to the first one of the season on 18 November. Put it in your diary.

Comments on this blog in the space below. Other questions on European football to: europeanfootball@hotmail.co.uk. I don't need your full address but please put the town/city and country where you come from.

Q) Mesut Ozil has become instantly popular after the World Cup. What would you say about the move of young player, of Turkish origin, to a Spanish giant?

Malik Sajid Qayyum, Lahore, Pakistan

A) I don't think his origin is important, although he is a practising Muslim and so it will be interesting to see what he does during Ramadan. Real's Mahamadou Diarra fasts during this period and previous Real Madrid coaches have said they believe his performance has been impaired by this, while other Muslim players tend to be less strict.

It seems that once Real Madrid started courting Ozil, he demanded a transfer and apparently told Werder Bremen to sell him or he would refuse to play. The Spanish media are getting very excited about his arrival, referring to him as the 'German Zidane' and he was impressive in his debut during last weekend's friendly against Hercules but his late arrival, only two weeks before start of the season, may count against him at the outset as he bids to adapt to the different demands of Spanish football.

Q) I'm a long time Valencia fan, having been born over there. What are your thoughts on the club's health in general?

Richard Denton, Bromley, England.

A) I'm not a doctor so I can't think of a suitable medical description about Valencia's health, however the prospects have to be mixed, to say the least. The sale of the two Davids, Villa and Silva can't have anything but a negative effect on the club. I can't see them repeating their third place of last year, which was astonishingly achieved against the backdrop of their huge debts which are currently estimated to be around 500m euros.

The new stadium which has caused all these problems is still only half-built and its construction is hardly progressing owing to the cash flow problems. The arrival of Roberto Soldado, once of Real Madrid, from Getafe and Artiz Aduriz from Mallorca should ensure that Valencia can still score goals but players' morale will inevitably slump if wages are not paid, as was the case some months last season.

Coach Unai Emery did a fantastic job last season but I can't help wondering whether he will be able to achieve another miracle, having lost his two best players, along with Nikola Zigic and Carlos Marchena, and with the financial issues no closer to being resolved.

Comments

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  • 1. At 7:30pm on 24 Aug 2010, bina islam ul haq wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 8:44pm on 24 Aug 2010, Jack wrote:

    Phil, who do you think will be the other two clubs to finish in the top 4?

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  • 3. At 9:40pm on 24 Aug 2010, Ghost of Highbury_The Hair Stylist of Alex Song wrote:

    hell hath no fury upon Mourinho's scorn.

    He will rip through La Liga & will bag a Champions League title as well !

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  • 4. At 9:45pm on 24 Aug 2010, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    I seriously think that Mourinho has reached his limit. He will be fired from the Madrid job, just like Del Bosque, Capello, Hiddink etc.
    Mourinho can win trophies, but he cannot get a team to play like Guardiola or Ancelloti can. Mourinho is best suited for England where 1-0 wins week in week out from terribly boring football is all that matters. Madrid wants it all, 3-0, 4-0, 5-0, and playing prittier football than Barca.
    The other reason Mourinho will get fired is the Madrid board. These guys have no time for an ego around the team. An off comment from Morinho about his bosses and he is shown the door. If he is to stay there he will have to know his place, and that does not look like Mourinho to me.

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  • 5. At 9:48pm on 24 Aug 2010, George Oriuwah wrote:

    Mou is my best football icon and i have great believe in him.He's gonna be a pain in the neck for barca this season.I luv him cos he's afraid of nobody.All i need is for him to do the grand slam(EPL,Serie A and La liga).All hail the special one

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  • 6. At 9:51pm on 24 Aug 2010, pekster11-save 606 wrote:

    phil you say, "However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him"

    this is not true !!!
    pellegrini did very well last season..in his first year in charge of a newly constructed team with players who were bought in many cases without his consultation, madrid pushed barca all the way in the league, improved their play as the team gelled during the season, and coped with one of the main signings,kaka, being injured/off form most of the time.
    As for the champions league, well how did mourinho do in his first season in charge at inter in that competition ??
    Madrid should have given pellegrini a 2nd season in charge, and most madrid fans wanted him to continue, well aware of the good work he was doing..
    Also pellegrini reacted throughout the season with great dignity in the face of Marca and their editor's Eduardo Inda constant attacks on him..
    Your assessment of pellegrini is just wrong Phil. Why have you said this ?

    Madrid need stability and a consisitent playing style. Capello, Schuster, ramos, pellegrini, mourinho..all have different mentalities on how to play the game.
    Changing the style of play every season, is no way to win titles !
    I'm not a Mourinho fan, and I think if Madrid play like Chelsea or Inter, Madrid fans in the Bernabeu will not be too happy. After all wasn't capello sacked twice from madrid despite winning la liga in his 2 seasons in charge at the club for his pragmatic, "boring" playing style ??

    I feel,however, that Florentino will give Mourinho, a 2nd season, even if madrid win nothing this season

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  • 7. At 9:51pm on 24 Aug 2010, Amanda Cerasale wrote:

    Come on Real Madrid CAHMPIONS;

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  • 8. At 9:59pm on 24 Aug 2010, njc874 wrote:

    I was at the Hercules - Madrid game, I can't agree with your statement that Ozil's performance was impressive. For the first 45 minutes Madrid gave a thoroughly disjointed performance, never seriously threatening the Hercules goal, and I don't think Ozil escapes blame for that. Second half there was an improvement, but I still wouldn't could them impressive, particularly given the quality of opposition that you refer to in your blog.

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  • 9. At 10:00pm on 24 Aug 2010, McEwanwhosarmy wrote:

    No other Spanish team will get a look in when Barcelona and Real Madrid are negotiating their own television deals leaving the rest at a major disadvantage financially. How does the rest of Spain view this as I view it as minimising the competition and in any other business it would not be allowed to happen. It should be an interesting season regardless with domestic and european success a must and if anyone can topple Barcelona's dominance on the title it is Mourinho. Barcelona do have the advantage of having a settled team with adriano and villa being the only new additions, I do think that Ibrahimovic should stay and could play a vital role within the team being able to hold up the ball and bring players like Iniesta, Messi and Villa into the game that type of player i think is needed in a team where the players have similar build and stature a plan b is needed.

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  • 10. At 10:01pm on 24 Aug 2010, Robinarabia wrote:

    @ Bina Islam- This is a football forum

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  • 11. At 10:10pm on 24 Aug 2010, charco wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 10:21pm on 24 Aug 2010, George Oriuwah wrote:

    Mou is my best football icon and i have great believe in him.He's gonna be a pain in the neck for barca this season.I luv him cos he's afraid of nobody.All i need is for him to do the grand slam(EPL,Serie A and La liga).All hail the special one!

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  • 13. At 10:24pm on 24 Aug 2010, Iain wrote:

    This seems to me to be the biggest challenge that Mourinho has faced to date, even if both Chelsea and Inter were extremely impressive achievements. I think he feels the need to put Guardiola and Barcelona in their place so that the lustre doesn't fade from his "Special One" branding. If he doesn't succeed at Real then he'll be remembered as the "Second Best One".

    But there's so much that could go wrong at Real; his abrasive demeanour could alienate the Madrid bosses, his style of play could quickly alienate the fans who wouldn't normally be content with 1-0 victories, and of course the opposition that he faces in Barcelona is truly formidable. As a socio of FCB I'm looking forward to an exciting season but I agree with you that it's a pity that La Liga looks so much like a 2 horse race from the outset. As a Scot, I don't think it's unreasonable to make the comparison with the SPL as far as the implications for the dominance of just 2 teams. Hopefully, the Spanish can find a way to address this sooner rather than later.

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  • 14. At 10:30pm on 24 Aug 2010, Luis Nunes wrote:

    Barcelona football is not defeat prove.
    Hiddink and Mourinho did prove it.(2nd Chelsea game was a robbery)
    To say that Mourinho is not able to make Real to play like Barcelona, it is premature to say.
    First,we need to ask Mourinho if he wants to.
    What I don't think so.
    The line between win and lose is to thin that Mourinho will not risk his way of playing and winning.
    The beauty of the football is 3 and more 3 and more 3 etc., etc., all the
    rest are fantasies.


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  • 15. At 10:38pm on 24 Aug 2010, pitroddieloon wrote:

    I'd hardly say Real Madrid were embarrassed last season. They racked up a record number of points in the league. They were just unlucky that their particular record was broken by Barca that same season.

    Unlucky.

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  • 16. At 11:04pm on 24 Aug 2010, sameoldcabbage wrote:

    Pellegrini did a good job for Madrid last year, but he was constantly undermined by a vicious press campaign, led by Spanish sports daily Marca, which celebrated all the team's victories as wins for the players and all their losses as defeats caused by the coach.

    I wonder how long the honeymoon between Eduardo Inda, editor of the above-mentioned paper, and Jose Mourinho will last. Until Madrid are 6, 7, 8 points behind Barça? After Barça have won again in the Bernabéu? When Madrid lose to Alicante in the cup or Bayern Munich in the first knock out stage of the Champions?

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  • 17. At 11:16pm on 24 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    bina islam ul haq

    your post is innappropriate

    you can put it elsewhere

    as already stated - this is a footy forum

    it is unbelievable that the bbc has left it up there for 5 hours when they remove far less inappropriate content within minutes

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  • 18. At 11:19pm on 24 Aug 2010, Magnetdave wrote:

    Pellegrini rudderless and overawed by the task? Are you kidding? Under Pellegrini, Madrid accrued more La Liga points than any otherteam ever before. Only an incredible Barca side in the same season amassed more. Jose will have done incredibly well to match that tally, let alone beat it. Pellegrini is an exceptional manager and fully deserved another season to reassert Madrid's dominance in La Liga. Even the CL progress was exceptional given the extensive personnel changes. Imagine that team with twelve months' experience together!

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  • 19. At 11:36pm on 24 Aug 2010, AllanB wrote:

    A nice article.

    I believe Mourinho was the missing link last season; Pellegrini was brought in before the re-coming of Perez and just wasn't the right man for the job. Yes a good coach and he did OK but not good enough..

    Mourinho, along with a couple of good new signings, and of course the mega signings from last season hopefully settled and gelling together it could be enough to topple Barcelona.

    I personally like Mourinho and Real Madrid so i hope they do succeed!

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  • 20. At 11:50pm on 24 Aug 2010, h4rd1k wrote:

    ozil is class

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  • 21. At 11:53pm on 24 Aug 2010, ramorrison1 wrote:

    If Mourinho is deploying Ronaldo behind the front two, where does this leave Kaka and Ozil?

    They must be playing either up front, on the wing, deeper in midfield or on the bench. None of these options, I presume, will suit either of them.

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  • 22. At 11:55pm on 24 Aug 2010, Hassan wrote:

    Two preseason games with Real Ozil and Khedira may be as compatible with Real as Kaka was.

    Two groups of players may be pulling Real into two different directions. You have the new Midfield comers Khedira and Ozil who are used to playing deliberate methodical passing game and patient inteligent off the ball movement. Then you have the old Real, Ramos, Alonso and Mercelo’s impatient, fast long balls bypassing the midfeild striaght into the strikers. In Alonso and Mercelo’s impatient distribution Real lacks a figure in the mold of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xavi Hernández. The patient distribution and calmness influence of the two is in stark contrast with Real’s tornado like build up.

    It is understatement to say the two cannot work together. I wonder how long it will take for Mourinho to put his trust in one group.

    Jose Mourinho has his work cut out for him.

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  • 23. At 00:07am on 25 Aug 2010, anandmann wrote:

    I guess Jose is no fool. He knew before coming to Madrid about the task in front of him.

    Everyone who believe that Madrid fans can't be satisfied with 1-0 wins then I believe that is utter nonsense. I talked to number of Madrid fans and all they want right now is to beat Barcelona fair and square. I don't think they will give a dime as long as Madrid stays ahead of Barcelona.

    Jose teams are built as tanks and he makes them difficult to score against so the two El Classico will be like the home and away leg of knockout tie and to my mind title will be decided on who have better record against each other.

    Anyhow goal difference amounts to nothing in Spain and Jose knows this.

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  • 24. At 00:19am on 25 Aug 2010, TrUeFaN wrote:

    I think the Madrid-Barca monopoly is completely unfair and is stopping La Liga from pushing forward. They claim it's the best league in the world with shouts of Ronaldo, Kaka and Messi but take out Madrid and Barca and the best player is probably Forlan. That's what I think is stopping La Liga from being a really, really exciting league. It's not exciting if there's only real title-competing games twice a year.

    That's why I for one am loving the Premier League at the moment. There's about 6 teams (ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City, Spurs) vying for 4 Champions League spots, 4 teams (ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City) mounting serious title bids, 4 teams (2 of the 6 that didn't make the Champions League plus Aston Villa and Everton) who will have to fight it out for Europa League places. And it looks like there will be more shock results than ever, with Newcastle already thrashing top-half team Aston Villa 6-0.

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  • 25. At 00:28am on 25 Aug 2010, OutsideLookingIn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 26. At 00:34am on 25 Aug 2010, emceeme wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 00:44am on 25 Aug 2010, Kanchelskis14 wrote:

    "last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him."

    Yes, that massive points total and goals scored showed just how useless Pellegrini was. Mourinho will finish second to Guardiola and go out of champs league in 2nd round or quarters. Barca are just a better team.

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  • 28. At 00:45am on 25 Aug 2010, nick wrote:

    I can't believe anyone has the guts, or a big enough wallet to bet against Mourinho.

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  • 29. At 00:47am on 25 Aug 2010, Kanchelskis14 wrote:

    Hassan, you do know they signed Xabi Alonso last summer, right? You know, the one that plays next to xavi in the national team. The one who EVERYTHING went through for Real last season.

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  • 30. At 01:01am on 25 Aug 2010, kevo_of_united wrote:

    Alonso an impatient passer? Have you ever seen him? He plays well enough in the Spain team, who have a slower build up than Barcelona! In fact, if they are going to play that way I can see Alonso being the main player behind this style. The only reason there will be two groups of players is that they have brought so many in, so quite a few will have to leave i.e. Lass, Diarra, Granero, Gago and Van Der Vaart.

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  • 31. At 01:07am on 25 Aug 2010, Marcus_B wrote:

    Don't underestimate 'The Special One' I'd say Real Madrid will be there or there abouts, and Inter did them (under Mourinhio) last season in Europe. Unfortunately only 2 teams in it in La Liga, but Champions league should be interesting. Time for Ronaldo, Alonso etc to step up to the plate.

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  • 32. At 03:44am on 25 Aug 2010, Gooner wrote:

    Not sure what you have to do to be regarded as a brilliant coach/manager but Mourinho is right up there and still his credentials get questioned. Not sure why. He has won all the big ones and is looking to be the first manager ever to win the CL with 3 clubs. Who would bet against him doing that at Real? Not me, that's for sure.

    I'd love to see him back in the Prem. His post match comments are worth the licence fee alone!

    Arrogant? Maybe. Entertaining? Definitely. Talented? Without question.

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  • 33. At 07:43am on 25 Aug 2010, five-star-reds wrote:

    Rudderless for the start? outshone by barcelona? they scored more goals than barca and won the same amount of games, if a team wins 31 from 38 games an doesnt win the league they can count themselves extremely unluck, pellegrini had them playing attacking football and it showed, unfortunatley they happen to be in the same league as the best team in the world right now, there is no shame losing the league to them.
    Bad article

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  • 34. At 07:44am on 25 Aug 2010, five-star-reds wrote:

    Rudderless for the start? outshone by barcelona? they scored more goals than barca and won the same amount of games, if a team wins 31 from 38 games an doesnt win the league they can count themselves extremely unluck, pellegrini had them playing attacking football and it showed, unfortunatley they happen to be in the same league as the best team in the world right now, there is no shame losing the league to them.

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  • 35. At 07:58am on 25 Aug 2010, cjewelz wrote:

    Here we go again... The fawning begins even before a ball is kicked.

    Hey Minshull, if you like his cheekbones just say so. There's no need to make it out as if it's football article. You guys should be writing for the human interest or entertainment (celebrity-watch) section.

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  • 36. At 08:14am on 25 Aug 2010, weezer316 wrote:

    Mourinho's boring style of play will do for him. Real fans demand they attack no matter who they play, and so do the board. The result when playing Barce is you lose 6-2 on your own ground. He ant park the bus with that team either. Ronaldo wont do what eto'o or panmdev will do, curb their attacking t chase opposing fullbacks back......will be interesting.

    Anyway, barca fo the title again

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  • 37. At 08:20am on 25 Aug 2010, Jaythegooner wrote:

    Phil, good blog, however i think you need to change your introduction, which says there is more to La Liga than Barca and Real M, I think this blog says it all?

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  • 38. At 08:44am on 25 Aug 2010, cjewelz wrote:

    Minshull,

    how can you criticise Pellegrini? It's hacks like you who cost him his job and you continue to attack him even after you achieved your aims. You should be ashamed. This is not journalism. It's rubbish.

    Pellegrini did a good job under the curumstances. He was put immediate under pressure by hacks like yourself. There was nothing wrong with his work. This is the same man who took Villareal from being nobodies to Champions League semi-finalists within a few years. Remember that.

    He always conducted himself in a dignified manner. Just because he did not respond in an abrasive manner as the actress does, it does not mean he was overawed.

    Now let's get deep. What kind of professional would negotiate a job while someone else is still doing it? The actress has no respect for his peers. I know it is a competitive world but what kind of human being would do that?

    As for you, your writing is predictable. You set up the (lame) narrative. The actress is the hero and Pellegrini is the bad guy (sort of). You should find a different job because you certainly cannot write well. You could always become the actress's driver or something.

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  • 39. At 09:22am on 25 Aug 2010, TheSkins wrote:

    As others have pointed out, Real pushed the current Barcelona side (probably one of the all-time great club teams) all the way to the last game of the season, and finished with a points total that would have won them the league in any other year, yet this article is wondering if Mourinho can turn them into contenders?

    Lazy and inaccurate, and always looking for an excuse to overhype Mourinho. Pretty predictable stuff.

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  • 40. At 09:31am on 25 Aug 2010, jonahmona wrote:

    cjewelz............are you seriously suggesting someone is less than human for negotiating a job while someone else is still doing it? you answer your own question - a PROFFESSIONAL

    Pellegrini was under pressure cos pressure comes with that job, the blog writer didn't cost him his job, the lack of success did, Real were pants last year and with the money involved, that's unacceptable.

    The 'actress' is pure theatre. however, if his Madrid team plays with the same style as at Inter, but without winning one of the 2 majors, he will be out too, I'm sure he knows this

    Mucha Barca, Mucha Barca VOL!

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  • 41. At 09:32am on 25 Aug 2010, Radar wrote:

    21. At 11:53pm on 24 Aug 2010, rash jus wun us da leeg sho rit his wrote:

    If Mourinho is deploying Ronaldo behind the front two, where does this leave Kaka and Ozil?

    They must be playing either up front, on the wing, deeper in midfield or on the bench. None of these options, I presume, will suit either of them.

    ---

    I was thinking the same thing. It will be interesting how he fits all of these high profile players into his starting #11. I was confused by the signing of Ozil, simply because I didn't think they needed him.

    Hopefully he'll win everything with Madrid in the next 2/3 years and then we'll see him back in the Premiership (though hopefully not with City!) He is a good personality and adds a lot of interest to the league.

    I also wish to chip in with defence of Pellegrini, he may not be Jose but I think he did well with Madrid last year, or at least as could be expected, as he had to try and make a team out of players that I don't think he wanted to sign. He was only unlucky in the fact that Barca did better.

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  • 42. At 09:37am on 25 Aug 2010, Sevenseaman wrote:

    Real were already stacked with stars before Mourinho joined. Kaka, Ronaldo, Higuain, Benzema, Xavi Alonso, all own big reputations. Jose has tried to build a winning combination, using some nuts and bolts of his own choosing. His imports of Carvalho, Angel di Maria, Khedira and now Ozil lend pragmatism to his plan and a lot of weight to the hard business of executing ambitions & winning on the pitch. Unlike Kaka who came over last season and has looked jaded and has lacked his customary AC Milan verve, Mourinho's new acquisitions have stars in their eyes for the manager and are full of enthusiasm and commitment, rearing to fulfill expectations.

    And the vaunted coach brings not only an outstanding record of a variety of success as well as footballing nous, his commitment/input to a declared objective is also hard to be matched in the ilk. IMO he will take it away from the younger, less experienced Pep Guardiola, even if the latter’s squad is no less glittery.

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  • 43. At 09:48am on 25 Aug 2010, 1950 wrote:

    Mourinho doesn't need to play 'pretty' football, he has players who will do just that... by just playing. Anyone saw Di Maria's cracking goal last night? He is probably their most flamboyant now, Real fans will warm to his magic as he did with Benfica.

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  • 44. At 09:49am on 25 Aug 2010, 1950 wrote:

    Mourinho doesn't need to play 'pretty' football, he has players who will do just that... by just playing. Anyone saw Di Maria's cracking goal last night? He is probably their most flamboyant now, Real fans will warm to his magic as he did with Benfica.

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  • 45. At 09:53am on 25 Aug 2010, Ronaldo07 wrote:

    Phil the first El Classico match is on the 28th of Novemeber, not the 18th.

    Come on Barcelona

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  • 46. At 09:53am on 25 Aug 2010, Ronaldo07 wrote:

    Phil the first El Classico match is on the 28th of Novemeber, not the 18th.

    Come on Barcelona

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  • 47. At 09:53am on 25 Aug 2010, Ronaldo07 wrote:

    Phil the first El Classico match is on the 28th of Novemeber, not the 18th.

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  • 48. At 09:55am on 25 Aug 2010, Ronaldo07 wrote:

    Alright everyone

    Phil the first El Classico match is on the 28th of Novemeber, not the 18th.

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  • 49. At 09:57am on 25 Aug 2010, Fed_Borg wrote:

    Ozil and Khadiera did not impress me much during the WC and now Real have just saddled themselves with two players who, in my opinion are not the real (pardon the pun).
    At least they have gone to Real and not Barca, who should stay away from Javier Mascherano, who is another overrated player!!

    OLE BARCA!!!

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  • 50. At 09:57am on 25 Aug 2010, MrT wrote:

    How on earth are they going to line up in midfield and up front?

    Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Gago, Diarra, Diarra, Leon, Kaka, Ozil, Van Der Vaart, Ronaldo, Di Maria, Benzema, Higuain

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  • 51. At 10:00am on 25 Aug 2010, Hassan wrote:

    Alonso is no Schweinsteiger or Xavi. He lacks their patient distribution of the ball.

    My prediction: Real will not win Champions League this year. They will also lose La Liga race unless Schweinsteiger joins them on the winter transfer window.

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  • 52. At 10:01am on 25 Aug 2010, jcb211 wrote:

    Real Madrid can offer the millions, can offer the prestige, and can allow a manager to work with some of the best players about ---- but it is all short term. I don't think Mourinho will win the league this season; Barca just look so strong. But if he was given time he'd build a team to rival them. However, he won't be given time because that's not how Real operate. And we can ony hope that his ego is battered in the process. I took immense satisfaction in the way he wasn't adored in Italy and couldn't handle it, so had to leave. Bullied out of Italy, I think Spain won't be much different. Give it two years, I think he'll be at United. Which will be a shame!

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  • 53. At 10:11am on 25 Aug 2010, JoC wrote:

    Guardiola and Mourinho act like Good Cop/Bad Cop of La Liga, but both have the same drive and both have similarly inflated egos. Mourinho is just more open about it, whilst Guardiola tempers his comments with statements regarding 'working harder' to remain the best. Saying Madrid is 'very strong, scary..but we are not 'so superior'' still implies his own side are superior! Both feel not reaching the final of the CL is a disaster.

    Given the money they both spend, the fact that they literally have the choice of all the worlds' best talent, constantly destabilising all other competitors they SHOULD always win the CL. Mourinho will make a difference to Real but it is no suprise both teams will again be way out ahead of most others and not so much because of coaching ability but cash. Thirty top players in each squad mean like Man City just means we're shorn of seeing talented players at other clubs...it's not good for football.

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  • 54. At 10:15am on 25 Aug 2010, Ammar wrote:

    I think Mourinho can beat barcelona, he is clever manager and knows how to get the best out of his players, he shown in the past and will show it again

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  • 55. At 10:17am on 25 Aug 2010, nanaloa2001 wrote:

    Am I the only one who actually remembers that Barca won La Liga with only 3 points.Phil please do better.

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  • 56. At 10:24am on 25 Aug 2010, BeautifulGame wrote:

    Defnitely JM will Succeed if the fans and the board do not question his tactics.

    Remember that the "Special one" was brought into Inter bcoz they wanted success in the UEFA CL. It took him some time but he did it eventually bcoz Massimo Moratti did not interfere in his coaching tactics and gave him the money to sign the players he wanted.

    Now only if Mr Abromovich had also done the same thing, it would have been chelsea and not Inter winning the UEFA CL.

    The point is JM may win the liga this season but i think UEFA CL is out of his reach this year as he needs to build the squad that can defeat teams of the calibre of Barca,Inter,ManchesterUnited etc.One must remember that the "Special one" did not win the UEFA CL in Porto and Inter in his first season.

    Coming to Pellagrini, every coach wants to be the manager of a club like Real and he got his chance. If he was given time and space, he would have brought them silverware this season but ppl like Perez,Abromovich,Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan do not spend money and give u time and space.They only give money and expect immediate results.

    So the "Special one" may win the liga or Copa Del Ray this season and go on to win something much bigger next season.Whatever happens, he has already cemented his place in history (manager winning UEFA CL with 2 clubs and this may become 3).

    Now one more point is in all leagues there are only two genuine contenders.
    England: MANU,Chelsea
    Scotland: Rangers,Celtics
    Spain: Barca,Real
    Italy: Inter,Milan (although competation is high for 2nd place as last season it was won by Roma as Milan are under a transition period)
    Germany: Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg (although 2nd place competion is very high with Leverkusen,Werder Bremen etc coming in)
    Greece:Olympiakos,Panathanoikas
    Holland:Ajax,PSV
    Turkey:Besiktas,Galatasary.

    So as long as the football is good, it must not make much of a difference.

    BPL will get more and more interesting bcoz all the clubs are starting to get the finances they need.This season i see 5 clubs challenging MANU,CFC,Arsenal,MANC along with Tottenham.

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  • 57. At 10:24am on 25 Aug 2010, BeautifulGame wrote:

    Definitely JM will Succeed if the fans and the board do not question his tactics.

    Remember that the "Special one" was brought into Inter bcoz they wanted success in the UEFA CL. It took him some time but he did it eventually bcoz Massimo Moratti did not interfere in his coaching tactics and gave him the money to sign the players he wanted.

    Now only if Mr Abromovich had also done the same thing, it would have been chelsea and not Inter winning the UEFA CL.

    The point is JM may win the liga this season but i think UEFA CL is out of his reach this year as he needs to build the squad that can defeat teams of the calibre of Barca,Inter,ManchesterUnited etc.One must remember that the "Special one" did not win the UEFA CL in Porto and Inter in his first season.

    Coming to Pellagrini, every coach wants to be the manager of a club like Real and he got his chance. If he was given time and space, he would have brought them silverware this season but ppl like Perez,Abromovich,Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan do not spend money and give u time and space.They only give money and expect immediate results.

    So the "Special one" may win the liga or Copa Del Ray this season and go on to win something much bigger next season.Whatever happens, he has already cemented his place in history (manager winning UEFA CL with 2 clubs and this may become 3).

    Now one more point is in all leagues there are only two genuine contenders.
    England: MANU,Chelsea
    Scotland: Rangers,Celtics
    Spain: Barca,Real
    Italy: Inter,Milan (although competation is high for 2nd place as last season it was won by Roma as Milan are under a transition period)
    Germany: Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg (although 2nd place competion is very high with Leverkusen,Werder Bremen etc coming in)
    Greece:Olympiakos,Panathanoikas
    Holland:Ajax,PSV
    Turkey:Besiktas,Galatasary.

    So as long as the football is good, it must not make much of a difference.

    BPL will get more and more interesting bcoz all the clubs are starting to get the finances they need.This season i see 5 clubs challenging MANU,CFC,Arsenal,MANC along with Tottenham.

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  • 58. At 10:27am on 25 Aug 2010, Psychoarsenalysis wrote:

    An arsenal fan here, I will be backing Barcelona in the La Liga, as the lesser of 2 'evil' spanish clubs. Mourinho should focus on his Madrid career rather than continue with this unhealthy personal obsession with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Going by his recent comments in the media about Arsene's competence as manager and Arsenal's title challenge in this year's premiership (Rafa Benitez was also attacked…for daring to outwit him in the CL, hahaha). The bitter upstart clearly has no class. Some people call it confidence, I see it as arrogance. The match-up of Madrid and Mourinho is good, at least we all know the outcome…he will be sacked pretty soon.

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  • 59. At 10:28am on 25 Aug 2010, Psychoarsenalysis wrote:

    An arsenal fan here, I will be backing Barcelona in the La Liga, as the lesser of 2 'evil' spanish clubs. Mourinho should focus on his Madrid career rather than continue with this unhealthy personal obsession with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Going by his recent comments in the media about Arsene's competence as manager and Arsenal's title challenge in this year's premiership (Rafa Benitez was also attacked…for daring to outwit him in the CL, hahaha). The bitter upstart clearly has no class. Some people call it confidence, I see it as arrogance. The match-up of Madrid and Mourinho is good, at least we all know the outcome…he will be sacked pretty soon.

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  • 60. At 10:28am on 25 Aug 2010, Psychoarsenalysis wrote:

    An arsenal fan here, I will be backing Barcelona in the La Liga, as the lesser of 2 'evil' spanish clubs. Mourinho should focus on his Madrid career rather than continue with this unhealthy personal obsession with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Going by his recent comments in the media about Arsene's competence as manager and Arsenal's title challenge in this year's premiership (Rafa Benitez was also attacked…for daring to outwit him in the CL, hahaha). The bitter upstart clearly has no class. Some people call it confidence, I see it as arrogance.

    The match-up of Madrid and Mourinho is good, at least we all know the outcome…he will be sacked pretty soon.

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  • 61. At 10:28am on 25 Aug 2010, Psychoarsenalysis wrote:

    An arsenal fan here, I will be backing Barcelona in the La Liga, as the lesser of 2 'evil' spanish clubs. Mourinho should focus on his Madrid career rather than continue with this unhealthy personal obsession with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Going by his recent comments in the media about Arsene's competence as manager and Arsenal's title challenge in this year's premiership (Rafa Benitez was also attacked…for daring to outwit him in the CL, hahaha). The bitter upstart clearly has no class. Some people call it confidence, I see it as arrogance.
    The match-up of Madrid and Mourinho is good, at least we all know the outcome…he will be sacked pretty soon.

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  • 62. At 10:35am on 25 Aug 2010, Psychoarsenalysis wrote:

    Sorry about the multiple posts, unclarified error messages on initial posts.

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  • 63. At 10:35am on 25 Aug 2010, lorus59 wrote:

    I came to this blog late and now i am curious why Bina Islam's post was removed. I am all for free speech as I have had posts removed for a few lame jokes in the past (PC means no room for a sense of humour).

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  • 64. At 10:37am on 25 Aug 2010, Mr Waternoose wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 65. At 10:37am on 25 Aug 2010, 1950 wrote:

    @BeautifulGame

    You forgot to add Fener in Turkey, so that's at least three. Excluding Bursaspor who just won it.

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  • 66. At 10:39am on 25 Aug 2010, Mr Waternoose wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 67. At 10:40am on 25 Aug 2010, kudaam wrote:

    This issue of 2 horse race is nonsense. Tell me which sport and league is not like that? Tennis - Nadal/Federer, Golf Woods, F1 Hamilton/Alonso, Lond distance running Haile Gebrselassie to name but a few. Even in EPL has been like that for years ManU/Chelsea/Arsenal/Liverpool until just but the top end of the triangle is pretty much predicatble.

    Guys lets just enjoy the game as it is.

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  • 68. At 10:41am on 25 Aug 2010, kudaam wrote:

    This issue of 2 horse race is nonsense. Tell me which sport and league is not like that? Tennis - Nadal/Federer, Golf Woods, F1 Hamilton/Alonso, Lond distance running Haile Gebrselassie to name but a few. Even in EPL has been like that for years ManU/Chelsea/Arsenal/Liverpool until just about now ,but the top end of the triangle is pretty much predicatble.

    Guys lets just enjoy the game as it is.

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  • 69. At 10:44am on 25 Aug 2010, Becchio-lookalike wrote:

    Madrid cabron, Barca campion!

    I cant see mourinho winning champs league but the league will be even closer than last year. i can see madrid snatching it.

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  • 70. At 10:44am on 25 Aug 2010, Psychoarsenalysis wrote:

    The match-up of Madrid and Mourinho is good, at least we all know the outcome…he will be sacked pretty soon…then what? He will come back to the premiership for more love from his media buddies, aaww, how sweet.

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  • 71. At 10:45am on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    The only way is down (or most probably man city)

    Success or failure, where can Jose go next? Back to Chavski, back to Inter when Benitez mucks them up?

    The guy is apparently earning 10mil a year (who apart from citeh can afford to match that?)

    Jose has never been at a club that isn't top 2 or 3. Could he make Liverpool champions?

    Mourinho has spent €75m at real this summer, liverpool haven't got £75 to spare.

    So when will Jose join Man city? 2011,2012,2013? It's as inevitable as Mankini getting sacked!! I think Citeh will have at least 1 other manager before Jose, even if real putrid get rid of him in 2012.

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  • 72. At 10:50am on 25 Aug 2010, Aarfy_Aardvark - bring back 606 wrote:

    However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him.

    ----------------------------

    He won the first seven matches though. If that's rudderless, I don't know what is. 4 defeats all season, 102 goals, 96 points - and yet he was rudderless and overawed at the shiny stadium and multi-million pound egos.

    Absolute nonsense. Considering it was his first season, he did an amazing job. All Real have added to their outlay is a bit more charisma and media-cajoling from the sycophants at Marca.

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  • 73. At 10:57am on 25 Aug 2010, Mr Waternoose wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 74. At 10:59am on 25 Aug 2010, exiledspur wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 75. At 10:59am on 25 Aug 2010, Mr Waternoose wrote:

    James P Sullivan was twice the scarer youll ever be
    fear for I am now in joint forces with master ballsio are wrath is most prestigious.

    mr waternoose is backing the company.

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  • 76. At 11:00am on 25 Aug 2010, exiledspur wrote:

    As a Muslim myself - I have to ask - why are all the other Muslims getting riled up about the Ramadan comments - totally innocuous.

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  • 77. At 11:04am on 25 Aug 2010, mtm_4 wrote:

    well real had a good la liga season last time under pellgrini and a host of new signing but i think the coach was sacked because he failed to deliver on a bigger stage. his side lost to barca and in the CL. had he won against barca he may have retained his job even if he had lost the ligue.

    i like JM and Real and i'm glad to see him at real. i think this is the final test of his cradentials. gelling a team with so many big names and new signings and at the same time competing with a side that has great chemistry and talent and a very fine coach.

    but it takes a brave man to take that challenge he may have remain at inter forever after achieving what he did before moving to ManU but he likes big chanllages and nothing gets bigger than real not even ManU. alex has won only two CL trophies in 25 years and for RM that is a faliure may be a sucess at Manu but not for RM

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  • 78. At 11:06am on 25 Aug 2010, mtm_4 wrote:

    well real had a good la liga season last time under pellgrini and a host of new signing but i think the coach was sacked because he failed to deliver on a bigger stage. his side lost to barca and in the CL. had he won against barca he may have retained his job even if he had lost the ligue.

    i like JM and Real and i'm glad to see him at real. i think this is the final test of his cradentials. gelling a team with so many big names and new signings and at the same time competing with a side that has great chemistry and talent and a very fine coach.

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  • 79. At 11:09am on 25 Aug 2010, jonahmona wrote:

    I like JM a lot but Pep will have him licked in the battle of the coaches i reckon. Unlike Arsen, Benitez, Taggart etc Pep has the stature of a great player, JM's nonsense will not be entertained by Pep and so one of JM's weapons is redundant. Plus Pep has the better team. Italians will put up with JM's cautious approach but the Madrid public won't unless Real win la Liga or the CL and beat barca at home, even with this many will get the hump if the team is unnattractive

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  • 80. At 11:10am on 25 Aug 2010, RidRed wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 81. At 11:13am on 25 Aug 2010, Mr Waternoose wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 82. At 11:18am on 25 Aug 2010, 1950 wrote:

    Can someone block this mr waternose? Can't understand what it has to do with football whatsoever.

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  • 83. At 11:27am on 25 Aug 2010, exiledspur wrote:

    The BBC have gone nuts I said absolutely nothing offensive in my comment and they've moderated me.

    Let me try again - I hope this is more to their liking.


    @ 53, would you sir, kindly cite any evidence which might suggest that Guadiola has an 'inflated ego' as you so eloquently put it.

    Mr Phil Minshul I would like to express my chagrin at your wikipedia brand of journalism for it is not at all to my tastes. Your comments about Pellegrini were a tad unfortunate. He is after a very highly regarded coach in the footballing world (when He was at Villereal a number of up and coming young coaches were clambering to gain experience with him) - the job he did at the aforementioned club was nothing short of sensational. His task at Madrid was absurdly difficult - with the new squad and the Madrid media - yet the dignity he showed cannot be praised enough. Mark my words the man will one day become a great of the game - as far as I am concerned his performance over the last few years have ensured that I will always look at him with awe and respect.

    I hope neither you nor those wonderful ladies and chaps at the Beeb have found anything remotely offensive about this post and will kindly allow it remain posted up.

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  • 84. At 11:30am on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    Thing is, had Real beaten Barcelona in one of their games last season then they would have been champions. Two games decided La Liga effectively, and if you take those two games out and look at their games against the rest of the league, Real had the better record. Seems unlikely when you read the hyperbole surrounding their poor performances last season - the press seems all too willing to jump on Pellegrini despite his fantastic track record of success.

    The Valencia thing is sad in a way, but they have done the right thing. They needed to cash in on Villa before his age would hamper a large fee, and the money on offer for Silva was too good to turn down. Hopefully the money won't just be wasted on the team and spent wisely on the completion of Nou Mestalla, once they have that done and can sell their old ground, and start filling out an 80,000 all seater stadium, they'll recoup the money soon enough. Soldado is quality too, and in Mata, Vicente, Banega, Joaquin and Aduriz they have a lot more going forward than a lot of people will give them credit for. Watch out for Feghouli and Tino Costa too, both looked quality in France last season.

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  • 85. At 11:34am on 25 Aug 2010, thefrogstar wrote:

    "[Mourinho]....will be inevitably brought down to earth by Barcelona and their coach Pep Guardiola."

    Umm....Phil,
    I thought Barcelona (the Spanish champions) were the favourites knocked out of the UEFA Champions League last season by the champions of Italy, Internazionale of Milan: a team coached by Jose Mourinho.
    Inter also defeated the German champions Bayern Munich in the final, and also beat Chelsea (who became English champions again last season) in the knockout stages.

    Even a stopped-clock is right twice a day, so your prediction of Mourinho being "brought down to earth" by Pep Guardiola could easily come true.
    ....But Mourinho might counter that he buried Pep Guardiola last season.

    While we're on the subject of (apparent) factual ignorance, I don't know if you correspond with other BBC sports-journalists who don't have a regular BBC blog. But if you do, could you do me a favour and direct Pranav Soneji to the Wikipedia page about John Lukic?

    If Pranav reads the details about the career of Lukic it is just possible that he might become embarrassed by the facts about John that he omitted from his article yesterday.
    I suspect, but cannot prove, that another Leeds United supporter has amended the entry about Lukic for Pranev's benefit.

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  • 86. At 11:53am on 25 Aug 2010, thefrogstar wrote:

    Exiledspur (#83),
    I got "moderated" during the world cup for describing, or writing the name of, that volcano which exploded recently in Iceland. Nothing rude or offensive to anyone whose first language is English.

    It wasn't even "off-topic", because I was responding to an article by a BBC journalist comparing Fabio Cappello's outburst (against prying journalists) to the eruption of the Italian volcano Vesuvius.
    I nearly tried to post it again on the BBC forum for "Science and the Environment" just to see if it was rejected again!

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  • 87. At 11:58am on 25 Aug 2010, CorbyWheelchairs wrote:

    Unless I (and the fixture list on the BBC) am mistaken. The first 'El Clasico' is actually on 28th November, so best save that date instead.

    Will make for an interesting season, Mourinho certainly has the ego to deal with all the other ego's of the players. I just hope with all the talent Real have on the books Mourinho doesn't adopt for functionality over flare.

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  • 88. At 11:59am on 25 Aug 2010, CorbyWheelchairs wrote:

    Unless I (and the fixture list on the BBC) am mistaken. The first 'El Clasico' is actually on 28th November, so best save that date instead.
    Will make for an interesting season, Mourinho certainly has the ego to deal with all the other ego's of the players. I just hope with all the talent Real have on the books Mourinho doesn't adopt for functionality over flare.

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  • 89. At 11:59am on 25 Aug 2010, CorbyWheelchairs wrote:

    Unless I (and the fixture list on the BBC) am mistaken. The first 'El Clasico' is actually on 28th November, so best save that date instead.

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  • 90. At 12:02pm on 25 Aug 2010, Rooneys Header wrote:

    Porto, EC/CL, plus League and other domestic cups, - Chelsea numerous amount of League titles, FA cups and the final of the CL - Milan two title in 2 years all domestic titles plus CL Winner, never lost a home game in nearly 8 years and now Manager of probably the most successful club ever and he`s now he`s been questioned as to whether he`s the real deal or not?

    What else does the man have to do??

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  • 91. At 12:04pm on 25 Aug 2010, panchopuskas wrote:

    Barcelona aren't as good as people think. Great against poor opposition: i.e. the rest of the Spanish league, Madrid excluded, and not so good against well organised teams like Mournho's Inter.

    Spain, like Scotland, is a race between 2 giants and the title is often decided in the 2 big "classic" games.

    Gardiola's strength is his forceful personality and his ability to get more out of his players and . He's also intelligent, though not as "sharp" as Mourinho. Mourinho is an expert at playing on the weaknesses of opposing teams and is meticulous in his preparations.

    In terms of players, Barcelona will be tremendously reinforced by the incorporation of Macherano although some of his star players, like Messi, blow hot and cold. On a bad day, Barsa can look vulnerable.

    It's going to be interesting. You can't discount the Mourinho effect and I'm tipping Madrid to take the title this year.

    But it's going to be close. And interesting.

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  • 92. At 12:28pm on 25 Aug 2010, billy wrote:

    i have to agree with 6 .

    phil you say, "However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him"

    completely untrue , people keep saying real madrid were poor last year , yet they got 90+ points , thats not poor. I even read the odd delusional poster saying ronaldo didnt do it in spain . Barcelona were a great team and they won the league but that doesnt automatically mean real madrid were rubbish.

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  • 93. At 12:29pm on 25 Aug 2010, billy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 94. At 12:29pm on 25 Aug 2010, billy wrote:

    phil you say, "However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him"

    completely untrue , people keep saying real madrid were poor last year , yet they got 90+ points , thats not poor. I even read the odd delusional poster saying ronaldo didnt do it in spain . Barcelona were a great team and they won the league but that doesnt automatically mean real madrid were rubbish.

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  • 95. At 12:30pm on 25 Aug 2010, billy wrote:

    "However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him"

    completely untrue , people keep saying real madrid were poor last year , yet they got 90+ points , thats not poor. I even read the odd delusional poster saying ronaldo didnt do it in spain . Barcelona were a great team and they won the league but that doesnt automatically mean real madrid were rubbish.

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  • 96. At 1:19pm on 25 Aug 2010, raulmeier wrote:

    To all of the Mourinho non-believers:

    I heard all this fluff against our Special One before, at Chelsea then Inter and now Madrid!
    When, at the end of the season, Mou will win both La Liga and Champions League you will all shut up and hide or cowardly change your version!
    See you all in May as usual...
    ChelseaFan

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  • 97. At 1:30pm on 25 Aug 2010, 2banksof4 wrote:

    Beautiful Game.

    Whilst I can accept your point about two genuine title contenders in Scotland, Spain, Greece and, over recent years, England, your comments on the Italain, German, Dutch and Turkish leagues are rubbish.

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  • 98. At 1:35pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    90. At 12:02pm on 25 Aug 2010, RooneysHeader wrote:
    Chelsea numerous amount of League titles, FA cups

    sine when is 2 numerous and the s at the end of FA cups is superfluous


    Porto won the league 11 times and came 2nd 8 times in the 19 years before jose took over

    Even Benitez will win the Italian league this year - despite himself


    I'm not saying JM isn't a great manager - just adding perspective

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  • 99. At 1:43pm on 25 Aug 2010, Samuka Keita wrote:

    Although Mourinho is a great coach looking at what he did at Porto, Chelsea and Inter but FCB Coach(Guardiola) deserve some Respects bcus since he took over from Frank Rikaard he has been doing extremely well and i must commend him 4 the job well done. But let's understand that Mourinho is in a different league and we have 2 wait and see what he'll do at R.Madrid. I think Mourinho is a good Coach who every he goes always leave his Mark(signatures). I'm a Fan of Chelsea and his departure from Chelsea Hurts me a lot but i can't do otherwise and i still remain a BLUE. With Mourinho in charge of Madrid we should now expects competition in La Liga but i hope 8 will not be 2 Horses Race like what we have been seeing in the past,i.e Barca and Madrid dominating constantly. We want want 2 see the likes of Mallorca,Atlectico Madrid, Sevilla, Villareal Etc also in the race like what happening in the Barclays Premier League. From SAMUKA KEITA from ZWEDRU-GRAND GEDEH COUNTY-LIBERIA- A DIE HEART CHELSEA FAN.

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  • 100. At 2:14pm on 25 Aug 2010, SportsFan wrote:

    I expect Mourinho to bring success to Real Madrid this season. Mourinho is a very top class manager and Real Madrid have got very good players. Real Madrid was very close to winning the La Liga title last season. Should be very close tight race for La Liga title this season!

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  • 101. At 2:28pm on 25 Aug 2010, Jibbers wrote:

    "However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him"

    completely untrue , people keep saying real madrid were poor last year , yet they got 90+ points , thats not poor. I even read the odd delusional poster saying ronaldo didnt do it in spain . Barcelona were a great team and they won the league but that doesnt automatically mean real madrid were rubbish."

    Why the moderator feels the need to remove this, I don't know. He clearly doesn'tlike people making valid counter arguements against him. You got the date wrong of el classico as well phil. What a jokeer. real madrid WERE successful last season and lost out by a point to arguably the greatest club side ever. This is probably going to get deleted as we are obviously in a blog where freedom of opinions are froned upon.

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  • 102. At 2:39pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #98, I think Mourinho is superb, and you can't argue against his track record. Largely though, I think he is so revered across Europe because he was been successful, charming, photogenic and at times brutally frank throughout most of the continent. The fact that to the press he guarantees column inches and sensationalism make him such a draw to those that write the news for us mere mortals to read. Happily though, I am capable of making my own decisions, unlike many who just seem to agree with the press no matter what, but on this occasion you have to say that even among all the hyperbole and outrageous journalism, he has lived up to it every time.

    Fair play to him, how many other managers can lay claim to have achieved what he has? I can't think of a single one. Truly a modern great, and future legend of the game.

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  • 103. At 2:39pm on 25 Aug 2010, Zidanepirouette wrote:

    Sorry but totally disagree with comment no 4, Mourinho is exactly the sort of manager that Real need, somebody who won't care about what the 'purists' think about his style of football, because he'll just point to results. And i have no doubt he'll get them this season with the players at his disposal.

    Phil, very good blog. The title race between the big 2 will be as fascinating as it's ever been simply because of the fact that Barca are a great team with a great coach, and because Real are currently NOT a great team but DO have a great coach. I notice there was no mention Mourinho's truly STUNNING 8 and a half year unbeaten domestic home record. I fancy he may well add another season to that record. The guy hardly ever loses games and that's something no other manager can claim.

    Yes his sides don't play particularly attractive football but at the same time it is also not long ball, he just emphasises his tactics on solidity, and not conceding. Then using quality attackers to grab the odd goal at the other end. Essentially it is the same style as Rafa Benitez (but implemented more effictively), and i think Rafa will actually find success at Inter due to inheriting a team of champions who he'll get to play the way they were used to playing under Mourinho. It will certainly be great to see Inter come up against Real in the CL this season, what with the history between both managers.

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  • 104. At 3:07pm on 25 Aug 2010, collie21 wrote:

    " Other pundits feel that, with a nod from me to Monty Python, he's more of a naughty boy: a cheeky Portuguese chappy with a mischievous sense of humour and an inflated opinion of himself who will be inevitably brought down to earth by Barcelona and their coach Pep Guardiola"

    Well lets see I think Murhino is already winning that battle given last years Champions league result. I can't believe you are stating that coach who has won titles in Portugal England Italy, and the Champions league with two different clubs is just an over inflated ego. I think you need to readjust your set!

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  • 105. At 3:19pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #104, Collie, you're spot on, he's in my opinion the greatest club manager of all time. Ferguson would be right up there, but to win in 3 countries, all speaking different languages takes some beating. Perhaps he should have moved and tried his hand abroad? You should read Phil's comments again though, he doesn't state that he agrees with the assertions of 'Other pundits' but instead sits happily atop the fence.

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  • 106. At 3:47pm on 25 Aug 2010, U14357625 wrote:

    It would be a huge surprise if Real Madrid didn't make a serious challenge considering how close they went last year. Having said that, Barca will still have too much over the course of the season.

    The big issues with Mourinho are off the field. How long is he going to stay in Madrid?

    http://footballfutbolfitba.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/jose-wont-last/

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  • 107. At 3:49pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    Stevat

    Fair play to him, how many other managers can lay claim to have achieved what he has? I can't think of a single one. Truly a modern great, and future legend of the game.


    --------

    agreed - i can't think of a single manager that has ever had it so EASY

    Porto - portugals best team by miles
    chelsea - top 4 team with millions and millions spent

    inter - no challenger in the italian league at all
    real - €75m spent with alonso, kaka, ronaldo etc already there


    it takes luck to win the champions league

    porto, chelsea, inter, real - where next man city mourinho has a long way to go yet EVEN if he's successful at real putrid

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  • 108. At 4:13pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #107, there are things that I don't like about Mourinho, most notably his playing style - which to me is very much like Man Utd's under Ferguson, a tad too defensive for my liking looking for counter attacks all the time. However, you can't argue with what he's achieved with his pragmatic brand of football. Luck doesn't win the Champions League twice with different clubs in different countries, speaking in a different tongue.

    I'd be interested to know who you think is a better manager?

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  • 109. At 4:27pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    the obvious is alex ferguson

    broke the glasgow dominance in the league and won in europe with ABERDEEN

    then took utd from perennial bridesmaid to utter dominance and champs league success

    **over 35 trophies won

    forthe record I think wenger is better too

    then there's clough and paisley

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  • 110. At 4:30pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    I do rate mourinho - the fact is he has only had top jobs and, as you say, his brand of football is ugly

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  • 111. At 4:34pm on 25 Aug 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #107

    I'm not sure it is that EASY to achieve all he has done so far, otherwise there would be a host of managers who did it.

    I must admit I never liked the guy at first. I'm a Celtic fan so felt a little dented after Porto beat us in the UEFA final; and the tactics and style of play they used that night were not that pretty to watch - apart from Deco who was a wee gem. But to then take Porto to the CL was immense. I think that they are the only team from outwith the Big 5 countries (Italy, Germany, England, France and Spain) to have won the CL. No mean achievement however lucky you think they were.

    But I do like the 'show' around JM. His teams may not play entertaining attacking football but the duel between Inter and Barca in the CL showed (again) that his sides can produce and beat the best (arguably) footballing team in Europe at the moment. Really looking forward to the duel with Barca this year.

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  • 112. At 4:35pm on 25 Aug 2010, 1950 wrote:

    Mourinho did exceptionally well at União de Leiria, took them to their highest finish, but didn't stay long enough of course to win anything with them.

    And he will also win at International level whenever he chooses to manage Portugal.

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  • 113. At 4:43pm on 25 Aug 2010, Zeemo wrote:

    mtm_4 wrote -

    'alex has won only two CL trophies in 25 years and for RM that is a faliure may be a sucess at Manu but not for RM'

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lies, damn lies and statistics!

    Sir Alex took over at OT in Nov 1986. Man U didnt win the league for the first time under his management until 1992/93. Since 1993 there has only been 1 season where he hasnt competed in the champs league - 1995/96 - having finished runners up to Blackburn in 1995.(only the champs competed back then)

    AND from 93 to 96 Europe had the 3 foreigner rule where a team could only field 3 foreign players and 8 had to be English. A huge problem for english clubs because Welsh, Scottish and Irish players were classed as 'foreign'.

    I remember Barca beating Man U 4-0 in the nou camp with the likes of Stoickov and Romario when man u had Cantona and Schmicheal sat in the stands watching, unable to play!

    For 3 seasons he had to pick 3 players from Cantona, Schmicheal, Irwin, McClair, Hughes, Giggs, Keane, Kanchelskis, etc. This rule was relaxed in 1997 when the European courts got involved.

    So I think 2 wins in 14 seasons would be a bit more accurate. And 1 runners up.
    Madrid, in that same amount of time? 3 wins. No big difference there my friend.

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  • 114. At 4:44pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    111

    I didn't say his achievements were easy

    I said noboby has had such an easy ride as a manager

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  • 115. At 4:48pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    111


    I think that they are the only team from outwith the Big 5 countries (Italy, Germany, England, France and Spain) to have won the CL. No mean achievement however lucky you think they were.

    ** they won it before mourinho too

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  • 116. At 4:54pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    111

    I think that they are the only team from outwith the Big 5 countries (Italy, Germany, England, France and Spain) to have won the CL.

    porto, benfica, celtic LOL, red star, steaua, ajax, psv, feyenoord

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  • 117. At 4:54pm on 25 Aug 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #115

    Yes they did in the mid to late 80's I think..before the big money really took over and the Big 5 countries (with multiple entrants) came to dominate it..completely..

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  • 118. At 4:56pm on 25 Aug 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #116

    All the examples you cite won the European Cup!

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  • 119. At 4:57pm on 25 Aug 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #109

    And you forgot Jock Stein!!! :)

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  • 120. At 4:59pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #109, Ferguson is the only competitor in current times I agree, but he still falls behind Mourinho in many ways, for instance ask him to win the league whilst speaking to his players in Portuguese or Italian and see how he fares.

    Aberdeen were still a big team in Scottish football, to win in Europe with them is granted a huge achievement, akin to winning in Europe with Porto you might say. Man Utd have always been one of the better teams in English football, you could hardly call it a step into footballing wilderness.

    Ferguson is an impressive football manager but often comes across as a little out of his depth when encountered by more intellectual interviewers. Mourinho, omelettes aside, never seems to be found lacking in any debate. I would say that had Ferguson achieved what he has across the continent, then he would be comparable, but the only thing he has in his favour for me is his longevity, would you bet against Mourinho to surpassing that though?

    Oddly there are massive similarities between the two, neither suffer fools gladly, both have an extremely arrogant swagger and both play a similar brand of counter attacking football - which as I said is a little too dull and defensive for my liking.

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  • 121. At 5:00pm on 25 Aug 2010, Zeemo wrote:

    Porto won the old european cup in 1988 i think it was.

    Jose is that new breed of manager. Hes got 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 hacked.

    Knows how to play that formation, what type of player is needed for each position. What to say to that player to get the maximum out of him.

    Every manager need some luck along the way to win trophies. Doesnt matter if your're Jose, Sir Alex or whoever.

    90-RooneysHeader - for the record, Jose wasnt incharge of Chelsea in Moscow 2008 final. That was Avram Grant.

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  • 122. At 5:02pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    2/3's of real purids success was before the champs league too

    similar stats for liverpool 3/5s, ac milan4/7s , ajax3/4s and bayern 3/4s

    barca didn't even win it until the format changed

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  • 123. At 5:06pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    like I say stevat mourinho is a great manager

    btw - what makes you think morinho spoke to the inter players in italian?

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  • 124. At 5:08pm on 25 Aug 2010, Zeemo wrote:

    120 - Stevat

    Sir Alex - defensive? You serious?
    Comparing him to Jose and his tactics?

    Give over.

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  • 125. At 5:10pm on 25 Aug 2010, 1950 wrote:

    Mourinho is a master of languages too.

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  • 126. At 5:14pm on 25 Aug 2010, Zeemo wrote:

    Its unfair to try and compare Jose and Sir Alexs achievements because Sir Alex has been managing for about 20 odd years longer than Jose.

    So of course Sir Alex has won more trophies. Sir Alex has re-built Man U after 25 years of not winning the league.

    But give Jose some money to play with and he will win you trophies.

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  • 127. At 5:17pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    125

    yes

    he did start as an interpreter under the great bobby robbo at Sporting Clube de Portugal and FC Porto in Portugal, before following him to Spanish club FC Barcelona

    so I should think so

    pay me that sort of cash and i'll learn a language in 6 months

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  • 128. At 5:17pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #124, there's nothing wrong with playing defensively then hitting teams on the break. Something Man U have been fantastic at for decades, always have so much pace breaking forward and is generally when they are at their most dangerous - much like Chelsea under Mourinho, Forest under Clough, and Germany under Loew. I just prefer a more controlled and attack focussed approach, each to their own and all that.

    #123, he conducted his press conferences in Italian, after a month or two. While I wasn't often selected, it seems a fair assumption that he delivered his team talks in the same language.

    Is it actually Mourinho you don't like? Or Real Madrid? Why would you call them putrid? The biggest and most successful football team in the history of the game, every success they have and every penny they spend has been earned through decades of achievement. Much like Man U have ridden roughshod over the Premier League for years in terms of riches (generated through success) Madrid have done the same in La Liga.

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  • 129. At 5:22pm on 25 Aug 2010, Ahad Shaukat wrote:

    This coming season will be the biggest test of Barca and Guardiola. No matter how his teams play, mourinho knows how to win .

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  • 130. At 5:25pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    #128, he conducted his press conferences in Italian, after a month or two. While I wasn't often selected, it seems a fair assumption that he delivered his team talks in the same language

    _______

    what with about 12 different nationalities in the squad - far more portugese and spanish speaking players than italian

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  • 131. At 5:29pm on 25 Aug 2010, Mushroom_Stamp_22 wrote:

    I must say I am a little dissapointed that Özil decided to go to Real Madrid. He was absolutely fantastic at the WC, second best of the German players, but I honestly do not see him getting many starts. You'd have to think Ronaldo & Kaka woul'd be the preferred options.

    ps. Wonder what the combined worth of the Madrid & Man City benches will tally this season....

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  • 132. At 5:30pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #130, the players in the squad didn't ask questions at the press conferences oddly. In team talks though it's fair to assume that the one common language between them all was Italian, given that they were all living and working in Italy. Does Ferguson or any other Premier league manager conduct their team talks in the native tongue of their players as if they were making announcements at an airport? Seems unlikely.

    The second part of that was aimed at you so will re-iterate it in this, why don't you like Real Madrid? Are you from Barcelona?

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  • 133. At 5:34pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    he started as an interpreter

    thus, aside from his native language could speak englis and spanish before he took the chelsea job

    and italian has it's routes in latin - like spanish

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  • 134. At 5:37pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #133 - So what you're saying is that the best football managers should start as interpreters? What difference does his background make? How he learned Italian seems irrelevant to me. In fact it now seems like you're arguing against yourself?

    Still haven't said why you dislike Real Madrid so much?

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  • 135. At 5:49pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    he learnt his trade under BOBBY ROBSON

    i'm not arguing, i'm saying people overate mourinho (slightly)

    i've said repeatedly that he's a great manager (just not as good as many think - he has never had a TOUGH managerial job)

    I dislike real putrid because of the way they recruit players, they play in a (all but) 2 team league and are funded by the king of spain and have their own tv agreements to the further detriment of the spanish league

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  • 136. At 6:09pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    royal is real in spanish - el madrid has a long association with spanish royalty

    generate funds through success? how about selling their training ground and then being 'given' it back when they were skint

    and they are currently in massive debts like barca

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  • 137. At 7:06pm on 25 Aug 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #129

    Aberdeen were still a big team in Scottish football, to win in Europe with them is granted a huge achievement, akin to winning in Europe with Porto you might say
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not sure they were big at all really in any sense.

    Pre-Fergie they were behind the Old Firm but also behind the likes of Hearts, Hibs and even Dundee. Pre-Fergie they had done precious little in Scottish football (1 Championship in the 50's + 2 Scottish Cups wins + 2 Leasgue cup wins). Most of their success was associated with Fergie who brought them 2 European trophies (ECWC + Super Cup). After beating BMunich they beat Madrid in the ECWC final - a stunning achievement!

    Porto had won the EC prior to JM! They were already big in Portugal and had made their mark in Europe.

    People also forget his record with St Mirren prior to Aberdeen when he won them promotion to the Scottish top division before heading North. All of his teams in Scotland were built on the back of young players, a principle he applied so successfully in England wth ManU.

    Not at all sure the 'who is the best' comparisons are meaningful at this stage of JM career: both a product of very different footballing environments and times.

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  • 138. At 7:11pm on 25 Aug 2010, Macca wrote:

    I think Ozil and Khedira together is a good buy. I disagree that they were not impressive during the WC. Germany were good because of these two players plus Schweinsteiger and Muller. If Ronaldo and Kaka are on form and capable of linking up effectively with the other players then great but there is no problem with the Ozil/Khedira combination and that could prove fruitful. Still, football being what it is I may be proved wrong by the end of the season or even by Christmas!

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  • 139. At 7:19pm on 25 Aug 2010, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    Madrid have made a big mistake hiring Mourinho. He is not going to do their image any good at all. Real worked hard on their image last time around when Perez was in charge - they brought in Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo etc, all very likable and great players. Now, Real will be turned into a bunker, where Mourinho and his boys take shelter from the contempt of the whole world. It is a no brainer who the neutrals in Spain and around the world will be supporting in la liga this season. Barca, the club with the connection with the fans, a club which prides itself in sharing the joy of football, both in how it is played and in its humility and attitude to its supporters, vs. Madrid, a group lead by an arrogant manager with all the regard in the world for himself. You can see Madrid winning the league on the last day of the season when they come out of their bunker and say to the spectators "we have proved you wrong, we won - look at our in-your-face celebrations.."

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  • 140. At 9:43pm on 25 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    Some of the games involving Real Madrid (Ive watched Madrid v Seville several times) last season were the most entertaining games played in Europe, this is because Madrid let the opposition play unlike Barcelona who monopolies possesion.

    At the end of the day its about entertainment and Real Madrid have always supplied this and Pelligrini was an excellent coach. Mourinho may win more but I fear some of his tactics will dampen the image of Real Madrid. As for television rights Real Madrid were the only team I would pay to watch.

    For those who tell us the EPL is superior to La Liga explain to me how, Athletico Madrid a team regularly hammered in La Liga not just by the big two, managed to look a class above Liverpool and Fulham.

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  • 141. At 9:47pm on 25 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

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  • 142. At 10:28pm on 25 Aug 2010, Hassan wrote:

    "Tonight's match was a realistic test because many teams in La Liga will play against us like Peñarol did tonight. They will focus on defending and will showcase positive aggressiveness. It wasn't important to win tonight, but winning is always positive and to stand undefeated at the end of the preseason is very good indeed. We have to be more patient, move the ball better and pressurise more in attack."

    Mourinho after the game last night.

    Look at the last sentence, It is clearly directed against Alonso and Mercelo. "We have to be more patient, move the ball better and pressurise more in attack"

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  • 143. At 10:53pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    At 9:43pm on 25 Aug 2010, Stev wrote:

    For those who tell us the EPL is superior to La Liga explain to me how, Athletico Madrid a team regularly hammered in La Liga not just by the big two, managed to look a class above Liverpool and Fulham.

    ______________

    never heard of the cup upset (random - there are many to choose from)

    Barnsley 1 Chelsea 0 2008 FA CUP
    United 0 Leeds 1 2010 FA CUP
    italy 0 New Zealand 0 2010 WC
    switzerland 1 spain 0 2010 WC
    lanzerote 2 Athletico Bilbao 1 Copa Del Rey 2008
    recreativo 3 - Athletico 0 Copa del Rey 2010


    top flight winners
    spain 9
    england 20

    spanish titles - 51 out of 81 go to real & barca
    english titles - 36 out of 122 go to utd & liverpool

    Copa del Rey - 48 real & barca
    FA Cup - 21 Utd & Arsenal

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  • 144. At 11:11pm on 25 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    correction

    Copa del Rey - 42 real & barca
    FA Cup - 21 Utd & Arsenal


    to make up for error

    copa del ray winners 15
    fa cup winners (england) 42

    ** point - england has more strength in depth = more competitive league

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  • 145. At 06:10am on 26 Aug 2010, Chip it like Vela wrote:

    Mourinho can definitely bring success to the Bernabeu but I dont think it will be in his first season. Unless Ronaldo has a brilliant season, Mourinho will probably be satisfed with a Cup triumph, a QF/SF place in CL and pushing Barca in the league all the way like Pellegrini did last season.

    The squad looks very imbalanced and I'd be really curious to see what formation Mourinho adopts considering he has so many midfielders and not enough centre forwards. Unless he can bring in one more solid CB and probably a striker, I can see Real struggling to impose themselves against quality opposition...unless Mourinho sacrifices style and settles for 1-0 wins like he did at Chelsea...which will not go down well with the Bernabeu faithful and the hacks at Marca.

    Either way, its bound to be a very interesting season !!

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  • 146. At 09:26am on 26 Aug 2010, knowurfooty wrote:

    I am a born and bred life long Man Utd fan but I love football. I think everybody has to agree that Mourinho has the ability to turn good teams into great, unbeatable teams. He's winner and knows how to win. I think he'll need 2 seasons to do it at Real though. However, I'm surprised nobody has noted his best attribute, one that Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger don't have. Yes, you guessed it, he is a coward. It's one thing to get a team to win things, it's another to then stay and try to keep them winning things. He jumps ship as soon as he achieves something in case he cannot repeat it. Kenny Dalglish did the same with Liverpool and Blackburn. I'm willing to bet he leaves if he manages the title and CL by end of season 2.

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  • 147. At 09:36am on 26 Aug 2010, Diab0309 wrote:

    mourinho will be burried in madrid. i like him as a manager but the luck has to finish at some point. the problem with real madrid is similar to man city that money can not buy success.

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  • 148. At 09:39am on 26 Aug 2010, Diab0309 wrote:

    mourinho will be burried in madrid. i like him as a manager but the luck has to finish at some point.

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  • 149. At 10:59am on 26 Aug 2010, itsonlyagame - R9 The Number of the Beast wrote:

    Hi Phil,
    Am I one of the only people who think there's actually life in La Liga beyond Barça and Madrid?
    For a start, I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing what Villarreal are capable of this season.
    They had a very difficult time last season, what with the dismal start under Valverde and the recurrent injuries to Senna and Cazorla. However, the team gradually got its act together under Garrido, who'd taken the B side to staggering heights for such a small club in Spain's Segunda Division, and although Cazorla returned too late to make the World Cup squad, he managed to put some great performances in the last few games.
    As regards the squad this year, their full back positions could be stronger - but they might just be able to focus more on defending given the 5-man midfield of Senna, Soriano, Cazorla, Valero and Cani, which looks incredibly strong - a match in my opinion for any Liga team providing they are relatively free of the injury trouble that hampered them last year.
    They still have the highly reliable Diego López between the sticks; despite the departure of Godin, they've strengthened the centre of the defence with the signing of Marchena and the promotion of the promising Musacchio from the B side.
    Add Rossi, Neymar and the exciting young Jefferson Montero in the attack, and they have a very interesting package indeed, and I certainly expect them to be in the thick of the battle for the CL slots.
    Atlético Madrid have put together an interesting squad with plenty of promising youngsters. As well as holding onto Agüero and Forlán, they've bolstered their squad considerably with the arrivals of Fran Mérida (Arsenal), Mario Suárez (Mallorca), Filipe Luis (Deportivo), Godín (Villarreal) and Diego Costa (Valladolid), as well as securing Tiago Mendes - who was crucial for them last season - on loan again from Juve. It's hard to say what role the Atlético B kids might play, but there's promise there too in players like Keko or Ibrahima.
    Any of Atlético, Sevilla (it will be interesting to see how they react to their CL elimination) & Villarreal, plus Valencia if they can regroup after losing Villa and Silva, could make the CL - and there is almost always an upstart underdog in the mix for it too.
    Elsewhere, Athletic last season played some promising football at times, Zaragoza might just be able to put a good season together after weathering the storm last year, and Hercules look like they might play some good football, though they'll need to tighten at the back if they want to avoid mirroring Tenerife's fate last season.
    It's great to see Real Sociedad back too, after what has seemed a far too lengthy absence, and they will surely be geared up for the fight.
    The relegation battle will have a number of contestants too - though it will be impossible to match last season's final day 5-way battle to avoid the 3 spots that remained undecided until then.
    In short - there's plenty to look out for this season in Spain, and I for one am looking forward to it much, much more than last year.

    On Barça and Madrid, well, Madrid will have to undergo yet another season of 'gelling' and it remains to be seen whether iconic players such as Xavi or Puyol retain their appetite for success now that they have won all there is to win in football. Let's see too how the Ibrahimovic saga unfurls, as it could well be another source of unrest at the Camp Nou. They hardly look as if they're about to implode, but stranger things have happened at C'an Barça.
    In any case, I'm not expecting anything like the 25-point gap from last season.

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  • 150. At 11:23am on 26 Aug 2010, happy4henry wrote:

    @147 Diab0309
    "mourinho will be burried in madrid. i like him as a manager but the luck has to finish at some point. the problem with real madrid is similar to man city that money can not buy success."

    Dont be so Naive Money always buys success! Barcalona have spent a fortune in the last couple of years, not to mention Chelsea and Man United have had to pay record fee's to win things too

    Spend the money and success will come


    Madrid and Mourniho are a perfect match

    And to the MANY MANY posters on here who seem to be using the same line

    "The Madrid Fans will become tired of Mourinho's boring tactics"

    If you believe that then you clearly no nothing about the man, Jose simply uses what he has at his disposal, when he had Robbin and Duff at Chelsea they were one of the best looking side in Europe, and the attacking flair his Porto team showed Domestically and in the Champions League made him the player he is today

    He's no fool, if you have Kaka, Ronaldo, Hugian, and Ozil in your side you don't play defensive, he simply doesn't have the tools to do that


    FACT. Madrid have been crying out for stability and a manager who is instantly popular to change the perception people have of them, they see Mourniho as a long term option, and his track record of creating an "All Against Us" attitude in the dressing room will go down well at Madrid were genuinely speaking they are disliked because of the wealth etc...

    Real Madrid want to be liked again, Mourinho is very likelable.

    FACT. La Liga is still competitive but more so in Europe, most of the top 6 in La Liga could give ANY SIDE in Europe a run for their money, just because "The Sun" readers dont see the likes of Pedro Leon, Kuna Agurio, Jesus Vevas, on Nike and Pepsi adverts doesn't mean they aren't World Class, its a top league and I'm looking forward to it.

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  • 151. At 11:24am on 26 Aug 2010, happy4henry wrote:

    "mourinho will be burried in madrid. i like him as a manager but the luck has to finish at some point. the problem with real madrid is similar to man city that money can not buy success."

    Dont be so Naive Money always buys success! Barcalona have spent a fortune in the last couple of years, not to mention Chelsea and Man United have had to pay record fee's to win things too

    Spend the money and success will come


    Madrid and Mourniho are a perfect match

    And to the MANY MANY posters on here who seem to be using the same line

    "The Madrid Fans will become tired of Mourinho's boring tactics"

    If you believe that then you clearly no nothing about the man, Jose simply uses what he has at his disposal, when he had Robbin and Duff at Chelsea they were one of the best looking side in Europe, and the attacking flair his Porto team showed Domestically and in the Champions League made him the player he is today

    He's no fool, if you have Kaka, Ronaldo, Hugian, and Ozil in your side you don't play defensive, he simply doesn't have the tools to do that


    FACT. Madrid have been crying out for stability and a manager who is instantly popular to change the perception people have of them, they see Mourniho as a long term option, and his track record of creating an "All Against Us" attitude in the dressing room will go down well at Madrid were genuinely speaking they are disliked because of the wealth etc...

    Real Madrid want to be liked again, Mourinho is very likelable.

    FACT. La Liga is still competitive but more so in Europe, most of the top 6 in La Liga could give ANY SIDE in Europe a run for their money, just because "The Sun" readers dont see the likes of Pedro Leon, Kuna Agurio, Jesus Vevas, on Nike and Pepsi adverts doesn't mean they aren't World Class, its a top league and I'm looking forward to it.

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  • 152. At 11:25am on 26 Aug 2010, happy4henry wrote:

    "mourinho will be burried in madrid. i like him as a manager but the luck has to finish at some point. the problem with real madrid is similar to man city that money can not buy success."
    Dont be so Naive Money always buys success! Barcalona have spent a fortune in the last couple of years, not to mention Chelsea and Man United have had to pay record fee's to win things too
    Spend the money and success will come

    Madrid and Mourniho are a perfect match

    And to the MANY MANY posters on here who seem to be using the same line
    "The Madrid Fans will become tired of Mourinho's boring tactics"
    If you believe that then you clearly no nothing about the man, Jose simply uses what he has at his disposal, when he had Robbin and Duff at Chelsea they were one of the best looking side in Europe, and the attacking flair his Porto team showed Domestically and in the Champions League made him the player he is today
    He's no fool, if you have Kaka, Ronaldo, Hugian, and Ozil in your side you don't play defensive, he simply doesn't have the tools to do that

    FACT. Madrid have been crying out for stability and a manager who is instantly popular to change the perception people have of them, they see Mourniho as a long term option, and his track record of creating an "All Against Us" attitude in the dressing room will go down well at Madrid were genuinely speaking they are disliked because of the wealth etc...

    Real Madrid want to be liked again, Mourinho is very likelable.

    FACT. La Liga is still competitive but more so in Europe, most of the top 6 in La Liga could give ANY SIDE in Europe a run for their money, just because "The Sun" readers dont see the likes of Pedro Leon, Kuna Agurio, Jesus Vevas, on Nike and Pepsi adverts doesn't mean they aren't World Class, its a top league and I'm looking forward to it.

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  • 153. At 11:25am on 26 Aug 2010, itsonlyagame - R9 The Number of the Beast wrote:

    On other comments:
    6. At 9:51pm on 24 Aug 2010, pekster11 wrote:
    Madrid should have given pellegrini a 2nd season in charge, and most madrid fans wanted him to continue, well aware of the good work he was doing..
    Also pellegrini reacted throughout the season with great dignity in the face of Marca and their editor's Eduardo Inda constant attacks on him..
    ---
    Hear, hear. Couldn't have put it better.
    ---

    136. At 6:09pm on 25 Aug 2010, fedupruingelridiculousireland wrote:
    royal is real in spanish - el madrid has a long association with spanish royalty
    ---
    Does that mean Blackburn have a long-standing association with pirates?
    FYG, Madrid CF were 'awarded' the 'royal' title by King Alfonso XIII, who was a big football fan and bestowed similar titles on Real Betis, Real Unión, Real Sociedad, Real Mallorca, Real Zaragoza, Real Club Deportivo de la Coruña, Real Club Deportivo Espanyol etc. etc. It's no more depictive of the club's link to royalty than the suffix 'United' is to the Trade Unions.
    Just for a little bit of background information that is rarely mentioned about Madrid (which, to date, is still most often referred to by its fans as "El Madrid" and not as "El Real"), you may have noticed the purple stripe on the club emblem and which has traditionally lined its kit. Well, that stripe was introduced in the days of Spain's left-wing Second Republic, emulating the characteristic purple stripe that replaced one of the red stripes to distinguish the Spanish republican flag for the monarchist version.
    Madrid's chairman at the time was republican Rafael Sanchez-Guerra, who after the Civil War was convicted to 30 years imprisonment, of which he served 2 before escaping to France and joining the republican government-in-exile.

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  • 154. At 11:27am on 26 Aug 2010, happy4henry wrote:

    Opps sorry about spamming that!!! lol

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  • 155. At 11:47am on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    LOL

    it's hillarious when people write things like 'FACT'

    it's like the americanism 'Period'

    any of the top 6 in la lige.... Yeah whatever

    in the last hundred or so years spaid has won about the same amout of european trophies as england - PHACKT

    any of englands top six could also give anybody a game

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  • 156. At 11:54am on 26 Aug 2010, harmonyformsmastery wrote:

    A lot of footballfans think when choosing for Mourinho will make themselves a better football specialist.
    Unfortunately that makes you a follower of M. and not a Mourinho himself!

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  • 157. At 11:54am on 26 Aug 2010, harmonyformsmastery wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 158. At 11:57am on 26 Aug 2010, harmonyformsmastery wrote:

    ?

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  • 159. At 11:57am on 26 Aug 2010, Mark wrote:

    I think we may see a different type of Mourinho at Real Madrid. He knows that he will have to break from his usual defensive style of football to adapt to the expectations and reputation of Real Madrid. It's his biggest challenge yet, a challenge which may prompt, for the first time, an attacking, attractive philosophy from the "Special One".

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  • 160. At 11:57am on 26 Aug 2010, harmonyformsmastery wrote:

    harmonyformsmastery

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  • 161. At 12:04pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #153, I would also add that Real Madrid did not get given back their ground after selling it. The training ground they sold in the centre of Madrid was sold to construction companies and has been developed thoroughly. Their new(ish) training ground is based on the very outskirts of the city and so was considerably cheaper land, and more of it. Ciudad de Real I think it's called, very nice too.

    Also to the fedup chap, how is the way they recruit players any different to the way Man U or Chelsea recruits players? That was the thing that got me about the whole Cristiano Ronaldo affair, loads of Man U fans now hate Madrid for that apparently, would love to know what they did wrong exactly?

    England's top six is good, La Liga's is probably just better, 2-4 in the Premier League are stronger though. However, I think that the rest of La Liga are far superior to the teams in England. You might see some heavy defeats, but that is because even in the face of adversity (namely Real and Barca) the smaller clubs still try and play nice attacking football, opening themselves up to teams that have the capacity to destroy anyone. Were you to play Almeria say against a lower table Premier League team like my club Newcastle or Blackburn say, I would expect them to dominate possession and more than likely win convincingly, despite having probably never come across anyone who plays the Allardyce way before.

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  • 162. At 12:10pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    in the last hundred or so years spaid has won about the same amout of european trophies as england - PHACKT (european cup, CWC, Uefa and champs league)


    forgot to mention

    (obviously) real & barca have won the lions share of european trophies in spain *approx 3/4* and in england there is slightly more distribution (although liverpool are the dominant euro trophy winner and together with utd have won *approx 1/2* englands euro trophies)


    if england weren't banned from the europe who knows how many more they would be in front of spain

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  • 163. At 12:16pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    stevat

    England's top six is good, La Liga's is probably just better, 2-4 in the Premier League are stronger though. However, I think that the rest of La Liga are far superior to the teams in England. You might see some heavy defeats, but that is because even in the face of adversity (namely Real and Barca) the smaller clubs still try and play nice attacking football, opening themselves up to teams that have the capacity to destroy anyone. Were you to play Almeria say against a lower table Premier League team like my club Newcastle or Blackburn say, I would expect them to dominate possession and more than likely win convincingly, despite having probably never come across anyone who plays the Allardyce way before

    _______________

    hearsay, conjecture, guess, assumption ... etc

    meaningless and unproven dribble

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  • 164. At 12:17pm on 26 Aug 2010, georgiesthebest7 wrote:

    Phil,
    I expect Mourhino will win the CL's League with Madrid, possibly not this year, but next year, it would be a good bet anyway?
    Jose will then leave Madrid to take up the top job at OT, that will have just been vacated by SAF on reaching his 70th year!
    Now thats what I call a 'good double' -anyone fancy the bet? Whats the odds do you think?

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  • 165. At 12:19pm on 26 Aug 2010, itsonlyagame - R9 The Number of the Beast wrote:

    You might see some heavy defeats, but that is because even in the face of adversity (namely Real and Barca) the smaller clubs still try and play nice attacking football, opening themselves up to teams that have the capacity to destroy anyone.
    ----
    Strangely though, the most Madrid or Barça scored in any one game last season was 6. Chelsea alone knocked in 7 or more 4 times. The defending in La Liga is supposed to be worse, but the goal differences and goals conceded by Spain's lower clubs vs England's paints a completely different picture.
    I really don't think there's that much in it. They're two completely different approaches to football and which you prefer is pretty much a matter of taste.
    What I don't quite get is why people bother reading or commenting on a type of football they have no interest in whatsoever, who's knowledge of it seems restricted to tabloid blurb and old wives' tales and who reckon that the Old Etonians' FA Cup victories in the 1880s have any bearing whatsoever on how competitive the modern-day game is.

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  • 166. At 12:22pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    fedup, so you agree with me then?

    Think you'll find as well that if you look at the last 18 years or so, since the Premier League started, there's been more teams won La Liga than the Premier League.

    Also, you haven't mentioned how their recruitment policy differs from teams over here? Or if you think they did anything wrong in the whole Cristiano Ronaldo thing? That should be interesting.

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  • 167. At 12:26pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    itsonlyagame, you're spot on chap. I prefer the Spanish style of football, but also believe it to be the stronger league at the moment. It's a cyclical thing, and that more than likely won't always be the case, but as of right now, I find La Liga to have a lot more talented players and a higher standard. Just my opinion and personal preferences though, some will prefer pace and power over guile and craft, each to their own.

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  • 168. At 12:33pm on 26 Aug 2010, Krzysztof Wasilewski wrote:

    Mourinho is a completed leader who knows the ropes, can unite players in a tactical unit, motivate them as the best footballers, keep friendly but steady psychological pressure on them to fight and win. He's a master tactician and strategist who think big and ahead, who analyses his opponents' football with acute shrewdness.

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  • 169. At 12:36pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    I don't agree stevat

    you may be right but nobody actually knows

    you prefer spanish football - fair enough

    I am, like you?, english and I'm biased towards england (unlike you, who is biased towards spain)

    la liga is more like the SPL in terms of 2 dominant teams throughout history

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  • 170. At 12:43pm on 26 Aug 2010, happy4henry wrote:

    @164

    Generally speak Mourinho only takes over teams with a decent finanical backing

    I'd say by the time he wins the Champions League with Real Madrid, Manchester United would be Bankrupt by then anyway and he wouldn't want to go anywhere near that train wreck!

    I'd say you'd get better odds of him joining Man City!

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  • 171. At 12:52pm on 26 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    la liga is more like the SPL in terms of 2 dominant teams throughout history

    What a ridiclous comparison Real Madrid, Barcelona, Villareal, Seville,
    Athletico Madrid have all got further in European Competetions than any Scottish team in the last decade. I also remember some other Spanish team sticking five past AC Milan in 2003 not sure which one. I think I am also correct in stating that Getafe a team which basically Real Madrid seem to use to test their Youth team players (on loan) beating Spurs.

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  • 172. At 12:52pm on 26 Aug 2010, Phil Minshull wrote:

    Jack “Phil, who do you think will be the other two clubs to finish in the top 4?” I think that the perennially frustrating Atletico Madrid could have a good season and I think it will be between Villarreal and Sevilla for fourth. I also have the sneaking feeling that Athletic Bilbao might surprise. They have got some good young players, including Javi Martinez. There you go, that’s my top six.

    FabulousRedsReds: “An off-comment from Mourinho about his bosses and he is shown the door. If he is to stay there he will have to know his place, and that does not look like Mourinho to me.” I have the same sensation, I will be happy to be proved wrong but my gut feeling is that he will not be at Real this time next year and it will not be a reflection of his ability as a coach but because of a clash of personalities.

    Radar: “If Mourinho is deploying Ronaldo behind the front two, where does this leave Kaka and Ozil? They must be playing either up front, on the wing, deeper in midfield or on the bench. None of these options, I presume, will suit either of them.” This is a very good point but Kaka is injured and that takes him out of the equation for several months. By the time he is fit again he may have to settle for a place on the bench, whether he likes it or not. Ozil is a different matter but he can easily play much wider on the left and potentially could displace the highly-touted Canales. We will have to see what Mourinho does on Sunday.

    Nanaloa3: “Am I the only one who actually remembers that Barca won La Liga with only 3 points.” Yes, you are right, my mistake.

    Itsonlyagame “Hi Phil. Am I one of the only people who think there's actually life in La Liga beyond Barca and Madrid?” It all depends on your interpretation of life or, to very slightly misquote a line from Star Trek, “There's life but not as we know it.” Will any team beyond Barca and Madrid win this year’s title? I don’t think so. Will there be entertaining and interesting games played by other teams? Absolutely. The key issue, in my opinion, is that none of the other teams have the strength in depth to match Barcelona and Real over the course of the season, especially when injuries and suspensions start to have an impact. Other teams might occasionally nick a point off one of the two big guns, just as Espanyol did at the end of last season when they drew with Barca, but neither side is going to lose points regularly enough to let anyone else have a sniff of getting in the top two.

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  • 173. At 12:53pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    Stevat wrote:
    itsonlyagame, you're spot on chap. I prefer the Spanish style of football, but also believe it to be the stronger league at the moment. It's a cyclical thing, and that more than likely won't always be the case, but as of right now, I find La Liga to have a lot more talented players and a higher standard. Just my opinion and personal preferences though, some will prefer pace and power over guile and craft, each to their own.

    _____________

    maybe that has something to do with the hoards of south americans that frequent the spanish league - I don't know - you correct me

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  • 174. At 12:54pm on 26 Aug 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #152

    "mourinho will be burried in madrid. i like him as a manager but the luck has to finish at some point. the problem with real madrid is similar to man city that money can not buy success."

    Dont be so Naive Money always buys success! Barcalona have spent a fortune in the last couple of years, not to mention Chelsea and Man United have had to pay record fee's to win things too

    Spend the money and success will come
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mixing up your 'absolutes' guys!

    Money only increases your chances of success (however this may be defined!). There is NO certainty that money can GUARANTEE anything! Especially in the EPL where most spend obscene amounts of money; and that may be just to survive! And at the top end you have clubs like Liverpool, huge spenders over the past decade or so with precious little to show for it in domestic success.

    #164

    That is a fair bet! But wouldn't bet against this double!

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  • 175. At 1:03pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    Stev wrote:
    la liga is more like the SPL in terms of 2 dominant teams throughout history

    What a ridiclous comparison Real Madrid, Barcelona, Villareal, Seville,
    Athletico Madrid have all got further in European Competetions than any Scottish team in the last decade.

    _______________

    you misinterpret


    I wrote 'in terms of 2 team dominance throughout history' - nothing to do with europe at all

    go on then, disprove that la liga and the SPL haven't been dominated by just 2 teams - if you can do that I will believe politicians don't lie, that there is a devil and a god and war is a good thing

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  • 176. At 1:10pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #174, everyone loves a generalization don't they?

    fedup, doesn't matter where the players come from does it? South American players will naturally feel more of a draw towards Iberia than the UK as it forms a large part of their heritage and they share similar cultures and language. Not to mention the nicer weather.

    And in response to #169, I am not biased towards Spain, naturally I want England to win things - I just like to be realistic and don't see that there is anything to be gained from burying your head in the sand, and just taking for granted what the British press tells me is right. Anyone who has watched a lot of Spanish football will tell you that the standard is very high. I actually think the Bundesliga is the most exciting league, but that La Liga has the best players and teams at the moment.

    Also, still haven't said what's wrong with Madrid's transfer policy?

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  • 177. At 1:14pm on 26 Aug 2010, itsonlyagame - R9 The Number of the Beast wrote:

    173. At 12:53pm on 26 Aug 2010, fedupruingelridiculousireland wrote:
    Stevat wrote:
    I find La Liga to have a lot more talented players and a higher standard.
    ____________
    maybe that has something to do with the hoards of south americans that frequent the spanish league - I don't know - you correct me
    ____________
    Is there anything particularly wrong with that? It's hardly as if the Premier League only fields English players.
    Also, linking back to the subject of your question regarding how many European competitions English clubs might have won if it hadn't been for the 80s ban, have you ever asked yourself ths question:
    How many would they have won if they were only allowed to field just 2 foreign players just like the other European teams, rather than being able to field any amount of Scottish, Welsh or Irish internationals?
    Have a look at how many English players started for Liverpool in the 1984 and 1985 European Cup finals?
    Actually, no need, I'll tell you: 3 in '84 and 2 in '85!
    Also, moot point maybe, but virtually all of the World Cup winning squad, bar Reina, Torres, Fabregas and now Silva plays in Spain. Arteta, a highly-regarded midfielder in England, has never even had a call-up for Spain.

    P.S. Thanks for your response Phil. True that it's impossible to see beyond RM or FCB for the title - both of the imploding the same year would be unthinkable - but I there's no way, imo, that they'll amass 195 points between them again.

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  • 178. At 1:33pm on 26 Aug 2010, kanulneduche wrote:

    Jose Mourinho is the only manager who can beat Barcelona... He knows what style of play they have BUT one things for sure.. he must tell his players to control XAVI because we all know what happened last year.. he is the one who makes all the play.. I have to admit though, he is probably the best passer in the world along side PAUL SCHOLES!!!

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  • 179. At 1:41pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    I do not read papers at all

    they are a pointless waste of trees and other non-renewable resources



    stevat: fedup, doesn't matter where the players come from does it?

    my point is south americans are by enlarge more technically superior, which in turn ups the skill levels in spain - because the cultural heritage and common language and weather draws them over (like you say)


    transfers
    real (and barca - see masch and fab) won't take no for an answer
    real inflated the market long before the city/chelsea playboys
    real don't produce that many great youth team players and when they do most are shipped out in favour of the scouted option
    marca propaganda
    they have massive debts (not in the same category as utd and liverpool) because they borrow from banks to 'buy' success and further polarise the youth products with more and more signings like ronaldo, kaka, ozil etc...

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  • 180. At 1:46pm on 26 Aug 2010, Kop4life wrote:

    Whilst there were inaccuracies in this blog, such as how many points Barca won la liga buy, I think the comments about Pellegrini are perfectly valid.

    The fact is that any club who spends such an absurd amount of money of players is going to be under immense pressure to deliver trophies.

    Pellegrini was sacked because he failed to win either La Liga or the Champions League, and rightly so in my opinion.

    Real Madrid has a bad habit of sacking managers when shouldnt, Capello was one example, Vicente Del Bosque (yes the sane Vicente Del Bosque who has just won the world cup for spain) was sacked after winning the Champions League for real, because he didnt win La Liga as well in the same season.

    I'm not an expert, just a humble fan (of Liverpool) but it seems obvious to me that whoever takes the managers job of such a massive club, should expect the sack if he doesnt deliver trophies. It's not as if Pellegrini wasn't given the tools to do the job.

    I read someone saying that Pellegrini didnt want to sign all of these players, I think that's rubbish. Which manager on planet Earth wouldnt want the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka in their team?

    I predict that Real Madrid will reclaim the champions league under Jose Mourinho, simply because Mourinho is THAT good.

    Forget winning the champions league with Inter, does anyone recall that he won the champions league with Porto, that team (by comparison) was build on a shoe string.

    For me, anyone who doubts Mourinho is the best manager on the planet, really needs to watch a lot more football. History books only show who won what, and Mourinho has won just about everything.

    As for Barcelona being the only other team capable of winning La Liga, everyone can surely see that is the case. A 25 point gap (if that is a correct figure) is almost insurmountable.

    I'm tired of hearing that Real had a record points haul last season, so what? They still won nothing. That is all that matters.

    Can we also remember that Pellegrini is the coach who authorised the sale of Wesley Sniejder to Inter.

    Trophy allocation will be simple this year.

    Champions League - Real Madrid
    Europa Cup - Manchester City
    La Liga - Real Madrid
    Serie A - Sampdoria
    Premiership - Manchester City

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  • 181. At 1:58pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    kop4life

    your reasoning is clear and concise and I would certainly say you are more knowlegable and less biased tham me


    however,

    Trophy allocation will be simple this year.

    Champions League - Real Madrid - possibly
    Europa Cup - Manchester City - hard to say when in 4 copetitions for a change
    La Liga - Real Madrid - or barca - that's a certainty
    Serie A - Sampdoria - in spite of benetez I say Inter
    Premiership - Manchester City - LOL, do me a favour or are you talking about next year, or the year after......


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  • 182. At 2:00pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    Surely it matters not whether a player is wearing turn-ups or not?

    Taking no for an answer? What are you on about? Ronaldo? I found it amazing that Man U as a club found it reasonable to complain about their constant chasing for Ronaldo, whilst at the same time doing the same with Berbatov from Spurs. Bizarre, but it proves that the same is common place in the UK and Spain.

    If anything the Serie A boom started by Italia 90 propagated the inflated transfer market we see today - something which is now far worse in the UK than it is in Spain in my opinion. Real have debts mortgaged against future ticket sales, same as any other club, including Man U. Clubs as large as those two will always have more debt than smaller clubs as they have more access to credit given their relative ease when it comes to paying it off. Great youth players from Madrid are abundant in La Liga, Casillas, Raul, Guti, Granero, are a few that have stuck around, not much different to Man U or Chelsea really, not many homegrown players there now is there?

    They can hardly help what Marca write, but then you aren't complaining about the multiple ridiculous stories you read in the English press about the big 4 signing all and sundry on a daily basis. Also, love how you have a dig at City and Chelsea. I assume you're a Man U fan then? Have you forgotten the years of your team's expansive transfer policy, riding roughshod over the rest of the league?

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  • 183. At 3:21pm on 26 Aug 2010, Bennyf14 wrote:

    Jose is without doubt one of the best managers ever. However, I think even he is going to be unable to turn Madrid around. Firstly, Madrid had around 95 points last season and still didnt win the league- Barca have gone and bought Villa so you would think that they are going to be as strong; so that shows the task he is in front of him, its going to take nearly 100 points to win the league!
    Secondly, as people have mentioned, the Madrid board are ridiculous- Del Bosque was sacked after winning the champions league, and pellegrini after coming second, commendably, to a superior Barca team. How can a team get any consistency when they change thier manager and the team all the time?
    He has bought well, as he always does, but I feel that Madrid still suffer from the galacticos syndrome- theres too many players that are there for the wrong reasons- mainly bought by the president. If Mourinho can come through a season unscathed, and win the league/champions league then he truly is the special one!

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  • 184. At 3:22pm on 26 Aug 2010, mosub1980 wrote:

    Read Sid Lowe's preview of La Liga at guardian.co.uk/sport if you want a proper preview of La Liga. Miles better than what you can find on the bbc.

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  • 185. At 4:34pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    Stevat

    Have you forgotten the years of your team's expansive transfer policy, riding roughshod over the rest of the league?

    ** what complete nonsense, how do you arrive at this conclusion?
    Show me figures to support the statement


    http://www.transferleague.co.uk/league-tables/1992-to-2011.html


    your next statement will probably be, yes but take away the ronaldo fee.... My retort would be why take it away?

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  • 186. At 4:44pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    I do apologise, perhaps I haven't made clear what I meant by that. I was referring to the buying of players, not the selling of. No doubt when you refer to Madrid's policy you don't consider the money they recoup. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with spending a lot of money over the years like Man U and Real Madrid have, just saying that you can't really claim a moral high ground in transfers - when effectively Man U have a similar policy over the years. For the record, I would probably rate Man U as the third biggest club in the world behind the two Spanish giants, so it's not unreasonable to expect all three to have spent a lot of money.

    Also, my comments don't only refer to big money transfers, but to situations where smaller clubs have been bullied or outbid on transfer or wage offer. It happens everywhere, when Man U were complaining about Madrid, Spurs were complaining about Man U, Palace were complaining about Spurs for Bostock and no doubt this cascades down throughout the leagues of Europe. My point is that it's a little hypocritical to have a go at another club for conducting themselves in the exact same manner.

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  • 187. At 5:36pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    Stevat

    I don't mean to come across as hypocritical

    You ask me to state why I don't like real - so I did - i'm sorry you don't agree with my reasoning, but i'm not asking you to agree

    It was you who said earlier that Real spend because there success has generated the cash. Likewise Utd spend because of becoming a plc, sky and merchandising. Right time and place - alot of luck and some good business. Imagine what liverpool could have done had they capitalised more in the same areas (frightening) The sky money is more evenly distributed over here than the tv revenues in spain.

    Real (regardless of sales) make utd's spending look small - ronaldo, zidane, kaka well over €200million alone

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  • 188. At 6:00pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    Real Madrid 18pts
    AC Milan 12pts
    Ajax 4pts
    Auxerre 1pt

    spurs should win their group easily too

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  • 189. At 6:04pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    Fedup, that's fair enough I suppose - the reasons you dislike Madrid are effectively the same reasons that lots of people dislike Man U. I just find it intriguing that lots of people can't see the frighteningly obvious similarities between the two clubs and their approach to the game on and off the field.

    You must agree though that the way they approach transfers is no different to any other club - if you think Man U were in the right with Berbatov, then you think the same about Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo effectively.

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  • 190. At 7:09pm on 26 Aug 2010, brian-glovers-lovechild wrote:

    yes, I suppose so

    'the reasons you dislike Madrid are effectively the same reasons that lots of people dislike Man U'

    but I don't care about people hating Utd

    I don't understand people who support foreign teams (not you NUFC), but that's their perogative. I cannot stop it. If all of china, s korea and thailand supported Utd (or not) it's up to them

    seeing Brits in Barca/ Real tops is weird if you ask me. Watching the games - fair enough - but saying they are your team and buying their merchandise??

    I never said real/utd aren't similar in some ways and would be suprised if people don't agree that they are

    I just don't like Real. I don't like chelsea. I don't like leeds ;)

    I don't mind Barca, Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool or anybody else - I like to wind up city, arsenal and liverpool fans (but it's mutual)

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  • 191. At 7:30pm on 26 Aug 2010, TaxiForMyself wrote:

    Mourinho is obviously a good coach but is also a coach that spends about £60m a season average. So a clever man. If he doesnt win a big trophy this season it will be as he said a failure. After Barca destabilising Masch and Cesc this summer I will be supporting Real.

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  • 192. At 8:19pm on 26 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    Real Madrid has a bad habit of sacking managers when shouldnt, Capello was one example, Vicente Del Bosque (yes the sane Vicente Del Bosque who has just won the world cup for spain) was sacked after winning the Champions League for real, because he didnt win La Liga as well in the same season.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I was in Madrid May 2002 to June 2003 they won 5 trophies under Del Bousque during that period the last one Del Bosue won was La Liga. I used to drink in a bar close to the ground visited by officials from the club rumour was Del Bosque didn't get on with Perez, didn't want to lose MacKalelee didn't like being told he had to always pick Ronaldo etc etc.
    Never won a single trophy after Del Bosque left for three seasons.

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  • 193. At 9:54pm on 26 Aug 2010, Chris wrote:

    A lot of people on here are predicting that the Real job is too big for Mourinho and he will fail - but the thing is he's won a shed load of titles in three different countries now - more than most coaches win in a lifetime and he's still only 47. His record completely eclipses Alex Ferguson's at the same age. Fergie is a great manager - but could he have done it in Italy or Spain as well as England and Scotland? We'll never know. Mourinho's record says he knows more about European football and how to be successful at it than just about anyone in the world - and certainly more than anyone on this blog. Will his 'luck' run out? You can't achieve what he has by being lucky. He may not always be likeable - but he is the best and has proved it beyond doubt.

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  • 194. At 10:30pm on 26 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    Does that mean Blackburn have a long-standing association with pirates?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cannot make sense of this. Had you said Bristol the birth place of famous (or infamous) pirate Blackbeard and a town represented by footballing giants Bristol Rovers nicknamed the pirates it would have made more sense,

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  • 195. At 04:56am on 27 Aug 2010, SoccerDotTel wrote:

    Mourinho has indicated his team are far from perfect, this is most certainly some mind-games. Fireworks are inevitable this season in La Liga.

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  • 196. At 09:32am on 27 Aug 2010, itsonlyagame - R9 The Number of the Beast wrote:

    194. At 10:30pm on 26 Aug 2010, Stev wrote:
    Does that mean Blackburn have a long-standing association with pirates?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cannot make sense of this. Had you said Bristol the birth place of famous (or infamous) pirate Blackbeard and a town represented by footballing giants Bristol Rovers nicknamed the pirates it would have made more sense
    -----------
    Real sense, eh? ;)

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  • 197. At 10:00am on 27 Aug 2010, Ronnie wrote:

    Mourinho will win both the Liga and the Champions league..simples.

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  • 198. At 11:19am on 27 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    #190, fedup I agree with you. Football to me is about the 11 men that represent you and your city, about being proud of where you come from and who you are. If you ask pretty much any Newcastle fan they'll say the same thing, and that as we don't expect to actually win anything, we want to be entertained, otherwise why spend all that money on it?

    I know lots of people who have a second team, I have an affinity with Palace, after being invited when I was younger as a guest of Man U to the 1990 Cup Final, I was getting some funny looks off their director when I was up every time Palace scored - you have to root for the underdog. Ever since I look out for Palace to see how they're doing, but is totally different to how I feel about Newcastle.

    People from abroad following the likes of Man U and Chelsea et al doesn't bother me - it's no different to a kid from Cumbria or Yorkshire or London supporting Man U, football is just more accessible to more people than it used to be. In some ways I feel for all those people, there's a lot to be said for the character building that comes from sporting mediocrity. They have chosen teams based on success, and don't really get the endeavour and daydreaming that comes with supporting your local team. They're a part of my family in many ways, and I feel genuine pride when the achieve.

    That's not to say that these chaps are any less of a fan than I am, just that they have missed out on what I consider a key aspect to the true glory of football. It isn't about the money, the contracts, the corporate branding and fancy boots. Actually winning isn't important in the slightest, it's a pure game that should be fun to play and watch.

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  • 199. At 4:29pm on 27 Aug 2010, Mohammed John wrote:

    Brilliant Article Phil, I am intrigued to see how guardiola matches up against Mourinho's tactics. Hope Villareal and A Madrid do well, but roll on FC BArca and lal liga what a superb league

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  • 200. At 4:42pm on 27 Aug 2010, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:


    Nice blog Phil.

    Young and upcoming Pep Guardiola and his dazzling Barcelona will bring out the best from the versatile Mourinho. This could be a great year for Real Madrid's Kaka, Ronaldo, Higuain and their legion of admirers and fans worldwide. Senhor Jose Mourinho is the man to watch. Good luck to him.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

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  • 201. At 09:30am on 28 Aug 2010, itsonlyagame - R9 The Number of the Beast wrote:

    As an afterthought on the depth of competition in La Liga - last night makes it 5 different Spanish clubs to have won the European Super Cup in the last 9 editions. This hardly suggests that there are only two competitive teams in Spain.

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  • 202. At 1:21pm on 28 Aug 2010, Tottyfan wrote:

    Think world cup winners , Think champions league winners
    Think Spain , Think Barcelona as the two are the same !!

    Good Luck Jose .

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  • 203. At 2:38pm on 28 Aug 2010, Louis_004 wrote:

    Phil, what style do you think Mourinho will employ? I can't see Madrid fans settling for Mourinho win at all costs strategy

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  • 204. At 4:41pm on 28 Aug 2010, William Jardim wrote:

    I am really flabbergasted. So much talk about JM and how well he will do. Not a single word how Barca destroyed Sevilla in the play off between the winners of La Liga and the La Copa del Rey. Expect more of this.

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  • 205. At 5:15pm on 28 Aug 2010, bobshoesmith wrote:

    I live in spain and it will definately be a race between Barca and Madrid, Mou should make a difference but Barcelona basically won the world cup I see no reason why they will not dominate again like they did in the season 2008-09 when they won all 6 competitions , i hvae upmost respect for Jose but Pep and his barcelona get my vote

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  • 206. At 6:38pm on 28 Aug 2010, theham25 wrote:

    I think la liga this season will be very intresting with the arrival of mourinho. He's a cocky so and so but you can't deny how good a manager the guy is. Real's signings have been exellent with 2 of germanys most exiting young players in ozil and khedira and will undoubtedly make there team better.But i don't think they'll win the league even with mourinho because i feel it's a team of individuals and not a team.Barca will win the league again this season again because they are a TEAM.They still have the best midfield in world football and the arrival of mascherano will make them even better.They've just signed the best striker in the world in villa and they have messi the best player in the planet.Need i say more...... Althletico madrid for 3rd and seville and valencia fighting for 4th. P.S Barca to win the champions league aswell.

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  • 207. At 7:06pm on 28 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    One way or another Barcelona managed to get the best youngsters in the World playing together at an Young age which means they have grown up together and a having an unique understanding of each other. This enables them play with a cohesion that has not been seen before enabling them to dominate possesion seven of these players won the World Cup on top of that they have the best player in the World to add to that. To suggest that Pelligrini was in anyway a failure is ridiculous, had he been in any other league he would probably have gone through the season unbeaten. This has to be Mourinho biggest challenge.

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  • 208. At 00:44am on 29 Aug 2010, Sebaldo wrote:

    It may look like a 2-horse race but watch out for Atletico. Great to see Reyes score in the Super-Copa when they bet Inter just yesterday. I think the "colchoneros" may spoil the party this year - at least I hope so.

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  • 209. At 01:21am on 29 Aug 2010, youve been vermaelenated thats just fabrelous wrote:

    erm one question, why does everyone keep saying mourinhos teams only win 1-0? did they not stick 3 past guardiolas barca at the san siro last year in the champions league? did they not convincingly beat bayern in the final by 2? how many of you actually watched italian football? because your point of him only winning games by the odd goal doesnt stand up and with the class hes inheriting and brought at real theyll tear the league apart. it will be close but mourinho aint as negative as people seem to naively believe and he gets the results aswell

    personally i hope barca do win the spanish league because messi on his own is better than anyone in the real team by a country mile see his recent hat trick in the super cup final for proof. but real will get close and play good stuff at the same time

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  • 210. At 01:22am on 29 Aug 2010, youve been vermaelenated thats just fabrelous wrote:

    itsonly a game. the finalists in the super cup include the copa del rey winners and barca n real dont care about that usually yet they still go far

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  • 211. At 01:37am on 29 Aug 2010, youve been vermaelenated thats just fabrelous wrote:

    im a gunner, die hard arsenal fan, dont care if they dont win a trophy ever again because i just love them i dont support them for success i support them for entertainment and the fact they are one of few clubs who actually run it properly. they build their teams and their history. id rather my club have success and history that isnt brought because the ones who buy trophies are the ones wholl always be tarnished with the fact they spend millions/eventually billions in man citys case to win something.

    i dont come from london but who cares. ive been to arsenal games. quite a few in fact n i bet more than alot of gunner fans who actually live in london.

    when i was a kid and this is honest and i didnt know better i liked man utd but the day i switched was the day they won the 99 cl final because i realised they werent a club who fitted in with my philosophy and style and although they are a success they have no class especially alot of the fans. the club itself is brilliant but the arrogance is summat i didnt wanna be a part of. im a gunner and i will be till the day i die now i do anything a london based fan would do. i buy the shirts , i go to the games etc.

    as for spain i have a barca shirt but thats only in support messi. hes the greatest player ive see nand hes my idol (im only 20) barca has a club also stink of arrogance and disrespect toward transfers they play amazing football but i dont wanna be a part of their philosophy and i would even if i was spanish.

    all i can say is i hope the best team wins

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  • 212. At 5:06pm on 29 Aug 2010, cyberFC wrote:

    Mourinho does not even need Kaka and Ronaldo to outsmart Pepe and Barcelona. Pepe is still a young, unexperienced STUDENT. He was lucky enough to manage most expensive Galacticos in the world in FC Barcelona. Barcelona can be disassembled by a smaller club headed by a good tactician - a MASTER. Hiddink and multiple other greatest tacticians have proven that. Mourinho is a MASTER, Pepe still light years behind him

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  • 213. At 11:22pm on 29 Aug 2010, William Jardim wrote:

    Well I did say expect more. Well they are off to a flying start with three goals which gives them a win at Santander.

    Lately I note Barca is being considered as being a club full of arrogance. Well I beg to differ. Its only natural for a team to express an interest in signing a player currently playing his football in another team. It is also normal to make the player aware of such interest. The problem lies that Barca today are probably playing the best football in the planet and therefore footballers want to be a part of such excellence. That is why Mascherano and Cesc wanted to move to Barca. One has achieved his aim, the other in due course. Now I do not think they will always win but they sure play a cracking game which spectators love to watch. If on top of that they can triumph by winning the top competitions so much the better.

    Please no further categorization of Barca being arrogant.

    Oh by the way I am a fully paid member of Barca.

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  • 214. At 02:00am on 30 Aug 2010, SirDion wrote:

    "However, last season Real also looked rudderless from the start under coach Manuel Pellegrini, who seemed perpetually overawed and unable to cope with the magnitude of the task that confronted him."

    Rubbish. Real scored 102 goals and 96 points last year. That would've been enough for the title in most seasons, they just happened to have come up against an historically great Barcelona team who only lost once all season (and beat them twice). Real did not consistently play to the level that would justify all the big names that they signed but Pellegrini was by no means overawed. He got close to the best out of Ronaldo and Higuain which resulted in 60+ goals from the duo and never lost control of the team at any point during the season. Something I can see Mourinho struggle to do this year.

    Typical lazy reporting from the BBC on a league that I am doubtful this author tracked with any real commitment. The only blog that is fully immersed in the footballing culture of a foreign country enough to qualify writing with true expertise is Tim Vickery's South American column. The rest looks like they've been written by part-timers.

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  • 215. At 02:26am on 30 Aug 2010, SirDion wrote:

    Also "One of them appears to be that Ronaldo will work more behind the two strikers, a role that could allow him a lot more freedom, just as Mourinho utilised Wesley Sneijder at Inter and Frank Lampard at Chelsea."

    What 2 strikers?? Mourinho will be playing Higuain up the middle with 2 wingers as was his style at Chelsea (and as he did today). He bought Angel Di Maria precisely to provide this balance on the left wing. If anyone is going to play in any hole it will be Kaka (it was Canales today), and Ronaldo will revert to a similar position he played in at Man Utd. This blog is not accurate nor good enough IMO.

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  • 216. At 08:40am on 30 Aug 2010, bacaruda wrote:

    I´ve lived in Madrid for 5 years, like football, support no clubs. Clearly Real Madrid has underachieved because of an attitude problem from the top down. There is no spirit, only expectations.

    Florentino Perez is a massively successful businessman who seems to leave any managerial sense at the gate when he puts on the Real Madrid hat. Hugely extravagant, commited to a failed strategy, disrespectful to his coaches, ruled by the crowd, unable to accept criticism, etc...not the stamp of a great leader. The only success that Real have enjoyed in the last 5 years came after his resignation, when the club was run by weak people forced constantly to watch their backs. Hardly a ringing endorsement, and hard to see why he was hailed as a saviour on his return.

    Real fans are also remarkably fairweather fans, unable/unwilling to support their team in even relative failure, believing that Real´s place at the top table is a right. If this really is a top club, they need to win something very soon.

    Agree with other posters on Pellegrini. The man did an incredibly good job with great dignity and loyalty which reflected badly on Perez, the press and fans. Particularly at the end, Pellegrini had the respect of the players, except Ronaldo, of course...

    Logically, in a 2 horse race, it´s only a matter of time before Real win something, but until the club reasses its place in modern football, stops trying to buy short-term success and re-establishes a credible youth programme (so, until Real Madrid learns from Barcelona!), even Mourinho will find that it´s a poisoned chalice.

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  • 217. At 10:49am on 30 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    Logically, in a 2 horse race, it´s only a matter of time before Real win something, but until the club reasses its place in modern football, stops trying to buy short-term success and re-establishes a credible youth programme (so, until Real Madrid learns from Barcelona!), even Mourinho will find that it´s a poisoned chalice.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you analyse Barcelona,s best Youth team players with the exception of Xavi and a couple of lesser players they came from other clubs Youth teams costing nothing because they were too young to be signed up by there original clubs, Real wouldn't get away with this.

    Commetators like to ridicule Real accusing them of child snatching etc if they even think of trying such a policy. They even use words like steal when desribing Raul's transfer from Athletico at the age of 13 even though Athletico had discarded all their Youth players.

    No matter what Real do the anti madristas will come up with some conspiracy theory like when Real sold their training ground in the centre of Madrid (prime deveopment area and tranfered to a waste land outside of Madrid obviously at a profit) some how this was corrupt.


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  • 218. At 11:00pm on 30 Aug 2010, tugarca wrote:

    Well, Valdano and Butragueno didn't want him and will do everything to see him fail. A lot of supporters don't want him. Some Madrid-related journalists are heating the mix with nasty comments... Why did they sign him in the first place? just to shout they could?-It's Florentino's Real allright. But Mourinho has proved me wrong over and over-quite a ride actually. Go Mourinho cast your magic once more. Thanks Phil.

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  • 219. At 02:29am on 31 Aug 2010, Imagine Reason wrote:

    And now Real draws while Barca wins. Real's already had a worst start than last season.

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  • 220. At 12:35pm on 31 Aug 2010, itsonlyagame - R9 The Number of the Beast wrote:

    210. At 01:22am on 29 Aug 2010, youve been vermaelenated thats just fabrelous wrote:
    itsonly a game. the finalists in the super cup include the copa del rey winners and barca n real dont care about that usually yet they still go far
    -------
    Don't know if you'll be back to check this page, but my comment on 5 different Spanish clubs winning the title in the past 9 years referred to the European Supr Cup, not the Spanish one.

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  • 221. At 1:24pm on 31 Aug 2010, michalom wrote:

    To my mind, Real Madrid always seems to think that simply signing superstars will ensure victory. The problem is that, often, these players fail to mesh as a team, and tend to play selfishly. Barcelona on the other hand, is guided by a "house style" of play, if you will, with the majority of players having been inculcated w/ the Barcelona philosophy, and this is reflected in their team play. This is why Barcelona will win and Real Madrid will come in second. Villa's acquisition makes sense in terms of team integration, as does Mascherano's; can you say the same for Real, with the possible exception of Di Maria?

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  • 222. At 6:06pm on 31 Aug 2010, skillworkshop wrote:

    I am a Barca follower for life. Irrespective of the outcome of the league, Guardiola and Barca have nothing to prove again. Pep has won four El-Classicos back-to-back and I learnt it's a record of some sort between the two clubs. Inter might have eliminated Barca last season in the champions league but most Barca fans just see it as "one of those games". It was always going to be difficult to have two excellent seasons back-to-back. Not many people even remember that Barca and Inter met four times last season and Barca won twice, Inter once and a draw, though Inter won the tie that mattered most. This does not make Mourinho a magician as most people would want to believe.
    Though Mourinho is here with the sole aim of toppling Barca, Barca do not really feel exactly the same way and will quite be contented with playing the normal free flowing football all-season. This is just the beginning.

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