Málaga Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2012: Press Review

David Ramos

The press, worldwide, has only one serious focus after the game: the dropping of Iker Casillas.

To pick a representative example (Die Welt, in Germany): Mourinho Humiliates Iker Casillas.

Iker Casillas himself spoke yesterday at the 'Partido por la Ilusión' charity match that he had organized, stating "I had not been told. The boss doesn't tell me when he is going to play me, so he doesn't have to tell me if he's not going to. I had seen it coming. I look forward to competing with Adán for a starting place."

Our always colourful club legend Guti Haz was rather more blunt: "Casillas knows he's the best."

And the not entirely disinterested Jorge Valdano (also a club legend): "[This was] a raising of the stakes ... an exhibition of power, imposing himself on a legend of the club."

Marca's readers sent their own message: 85% of those polled not only want Mourinho gone for his constant show-boating, they also believe he is deliberately engineering his own sacking in much the same way he is believed to have done at Chelsea FC in September of 2007 when he made transfer requests he knew would not be filled ("no eggs, no omelettes - and it depends on the quality of the eggs") and dropped Andriy Shevchenko - the club's record signing and Roman Abramovich's darling.

As was even more direct. The game had a full 10 minutes to go and the newspaper's Twitter feed was already asking its readers to decide if Antonio Adán might have done better on the third goal.

To expand on the example of Andriy Shevchenko: Casillas is not, of course, Madrid's record signing. He represents something rather different at a more traditional club, as expanded upon by Vincente del Bosque in his interview with Marca this morning:

Q. Does Iker represent the Real Madrid homegrown style?

A. Yes. Iker started at 10 years old. I've always had a very high regard for his parents, who brought him to the Ciudad Deportiva from Móstoles every day, and I don't think they were all that well off, either. Iker is the pride of Real Madrid. If Casillas were the sole representative of the Madrid youth structure, everything they have invested would still be amply rewarded, and that is a lot. He embodies the values of Real Madrid.

Club legend (and spokesman) Emilio Butragueño directly after the match: "We will respect all the coach's decisions."

Mourinho himself refused to assign blame to his players in his post-match press conference. As he had after the draw to Espanyol, he stated he believed they had done well and given the type of effort he wanted to see. His choice of keeper was "not relevant" and he had told his players "to go home calmly" since he was pleased with them.

On the club website, the official post-match recap makes no mention (typically and diplomatically enough) of the line-up change and glosses over it completely. The name, "Iker Casillas" does not even appear in the report.

Asked why he had dropped his keeper in the post-match press conference, Mourinho said it was a "technical decision" and did not expand on it. He said he expects no signings in January. Marca and As disagree. They think he wants a new keeper. But since he said himself "Adán is better [than Casillas]" one wonders how they will be able to find a keeper in that sort of class.

We conclude, as we began, with the German press, because a rumour is circulating that Mourinho wants German Marc-André ter Stegen of Borussia Mönchengladbach or David De Gea of Manchester United. Readers can make up their own minds about the likelihood of Manchester United's #1 returning to Madrid (he was formerly at Atleti) but one may assume that German sports journalists would be better informed about a player from Borussia Mönchengladbach.

A final comment from The Special One (made yesterday): "My conscience is clear."

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