EVERYONE is at fault. EVERYONE involved can shoulder a portion of the blame.
To me, that is the only way to preface any conversation you have before delving into the ongoing non-footballing saga surrounding Real Madrid this season. I'm looking at you Jose Mourinho, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, the at-times despicable Madrid press and now Pepe. All to blame. After all, defending only one at the expense of another gets you labeled something like a Mourinhoista or whatever catchy phrase one could come up with to insinuate you are anything less than a fan of the club as a whole. It's a tricky, spiraling drama that captures even the fans into a mad finger-pointing exchange.
Here are the latest splintering words at our beloved club:
Immediately following the failed remontada attempt against Borussia Dortmund, Jose Mourinho took to the mic to speak his now-famous words about wishing to be somewhere where he is loved. To some, this meant he was surely headed back to Stamford Bridge and retake the Chelsea job. To others, this meant he wanted to continue at Madrid if the love and support were there.
His words on Friday, provided here by AS, seemed like provoked ones. Mourinho reverted to himself as he often does by defending his time at Real Madrid. In doing so he, perhaps a bit distastefully, compared the prior coaching tenures of Di Stéfano, Fabio Capello, Jupp Heynckes, Guus Hiddink, Vicente del Bosque and Manuel Pellegrini (just to name a few) to his own stint in which he's reached three UCL semi-finals in three years. Mourinho clearly felt the need to defend himself and his work, but in doing so he provided more ammunition to his detesters.
Mourinho also stated he would have brought Diego Lopez into the team in his first season if the powers that be had allowed it. His relationship with Iker Casillas has never been good, an untimely fact revealed by Casillas following the 1-2 victory at the Vicente Calderon. In hindsight, Casillas's injury that made Lopez's signing possible salvaged the season in a way. An underperforming Casillas and a less-than-convincing Antonio Adan surely could not have extended Real Madrid's Champions League run in the manner in which it was required of Diego Lopez.
Pepe Joins the Drama
Following the seven goal thriller at the Bernabéu on Saturday, Pepe voiced his opinions on the saga. He appears to be siding with Casillas against Mourinho for the upcoming severing of ways. To me, Pepe is posturing himself. With Mourinho likely gone, Pepe is aligning himself opposite Mourinho on the line drawn in the sand. His words are foolish, to me, as they won't really endear him to the fans or management any. He likely sees himself as third choice and the odd man out of a preferred center-back pairing of Sergio Ramos and Varane, as he should. The other two are head-and-shoulders above him at the position, for me. His words also seem a tad ungrateful, since Mourinho's defense of Pepe when he did things like THIS and THIS kept him around at the Bernabéu when most were calling for him to be replaced.
But Pepe's words are indicative of the larger issue at Real Madrid. Manager and players go into matches and press conferences with an agenda. Sides are taken. You expect there to be disagreements and perhaps even fallouts in the working conditions of employees at a place like Real Madrid. But all of the dirty laundry is aired out for the world to see, as the saying goes.
I come back to my opening statement: everyone involved in the saga is guilty of not keeping Madrid's problems in-house. The Madrid press is influential and divisive enough without the manager and players spoon-feeding them the tabloid headlines. Sadly, it's an all-too-familiar occurrence at the club. Our German duo of Özil and Khedira have absolutely no issue with such things, but they are unfortunately in the minority. To this point, there has been no accountability for taking to the press and airing out the dirty laundry. For me, that is something that has to change in the future for this illustrious club to only be talked about in the terms it should be: football and not a circus sideshow.
If anyone reading this could get into any of the players' or manager's ears, please pass this message along for me. Let your top lip meet your bottom one. Keep it in-house. The cycle can only stop in one place. Yourselves.