Mourinho's Press Conference
José Mourinho addressed the press this morning in anticipation of tomorrow's match and answered a few questions on Luka Modric. He also had a piece of happy news for Pepe's family.
There would appear to be no specific tactical changes planned from the last match. Mourinho noted that both teams are "top" and that when "two top teams meet, anything can happen." He also said: "When the team has the ball they will try to score, when Barcelona has the ball they will defend."
It's unclear, of course, if this is true. Mourinho could be holding his cards close to his chest. He would not reveal the line-up .
There may be an important game tomorrow, but the majority of Mourinho's press conference appears to have been taken up with transfer news.
On Modric's transfer Mourinho stated that the rumours (confirmed by Modric himself, yesterday) that he is slightly out of form are correct. Modric's minutes for Croatia two weeks ago are all the match time he has had since the tournament and he has spent the summer training with Tottenham's reserves and with the fitness coaches. Mourinho expects him to be fit soon.
On Kaká and the seemingly moribund transfer to Milan -
"I can’t go into details about whether I have spoken to each player. We have to wait until 31 August with Kaká. If he goes, he goes, and if he doesn’t, we will try to get the best out of him, like all the other players in our squad. But the market is still open and the squad is not final."
In very happy news it would seem that Pepe and his wife, medical student Ana Sofia , are the proud and happy parents of a new little girl, born yesterday. Mourinho revealed that Pepe, who may be fit to play tomorrow, had to leave training early to make the birth!
We at Managing Madrid wish the best of luck to all three and good health to the mother and child!
More on Modric
Our friends at Cartilage Free Captain (our sister-blog for Tottenham fans on this website) has an interesting piece on what collaboration between the two clubs could mean. The reader comments have a few illuminating (and sometimes funny) comments as well.
Press Headlines & Commentary
Marca has had a series of articles on Modric's arrival. They quote Mourinho's comment that he is unique to the squad, with a very particular skill-set. In other articles the newspaper believes that the signing will put some much needed pressure on Mesut Özil. Although Özil has nominally had competition for his spot in his two years at Madrid in the form of Sergio Canales, Kaká and Esteban Granero, he has never really struggled to keep his starting place since none have been on a level to challenge him.
While usually excellent, he can struggle occasionally, and a good potential replacement for him should a dip in form hit is considered a win by the club, who think the competition between Gonzalo Higuaín and Karim Benzema has made both better players.
And finally, one of their many features today has the paper speculating that Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain offered more money to Tottenham but that Modric was determined to come to Madrid.
As had three articles on Modric today - one of them speculating he might get a spin against Barcelona, and another terming the transfer saga a "soap-opera". As also has more details on the deal, which includes a number of bonuses to be added to the transfer fee based on games won and number of titles won over the next 5 years. They also speculate that Tottenham may be prevailed upon to sign a Castilla player this week.
On the Super Cup they quote Tito Vilanova who said today that Madrid are "dangerous" even when a goal down, and that he was counselling his men not to rest on their laurels.
Meanwhile, my favourite newspaper El Mundo Deportivo hopes that Modric won't become a "victim of the Madrid midfield" in the way Kaká, Sahin, Pedro León, and Lass did. Their sincerity and concern is quite palpable!
Finally, Sid Lowe of The Guardian had the following to say -
Modric was presented as a Real Madrid player on Monday after a long wait and the debate in Spain has centred on where he will play and whether his signing was really a priority, considering the strength of the starting XI at the Santiago Bernabéu. Modric was surprisingly clear in expressing his preference to play as a central midfielder on Monday and the following day Mourinho was adamant that the Croat was not bought on a whim.
"Modric was our very first option, a long way ahead of anyone else," he said. "When we buy a player we know where he feels comfortable. We know why we waited so long and why he was our first choice. He will play in a position that is his. I'm sure he won't play at left-back or centre forward."
Modric's papers have been cleared in time for Wednesday night's Super Copa second leg against Barcelona. But Mourinho, like Modric, appeared to rule out his involvement – at least from the start. "He has only played a few minutes in a friendly in Croatia," Mourinho said. "He will be ready in a short time. Because of his characteristics he is not the kind of player that takes a long time to be fit."