After beating Pep Guardiola’s legendary Barcelona side to the 2011-12 La Liga title – and in some style, too – things should have been all rosy for Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid the following campaign.
But the season was anything but rosy for Los Blancos.
Mourinho, not for the first time during his managerial career, suffered from a particularly bad case of third-season syndrome at the Bernabeu and ended up leaving the Spanish giants for Chelsea at the end of the campaign.
The Portuguese coach fell out with various first-team stars, including Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo.
His treatment of club legend Iker Casillas, meanwhile, saw the fans turn against him.
The warning signs were there for Mourinho from reasonably early on during the 2012-13 season.
On September 30, 2012, Mourinho upset two influential members of the Real Madrid dressing room with his actions at half-time during a La Liga clash against Deportivo.
Real Madrid were 3-1 up at the Bernabeu thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo (2) and Angel Di Maria, but Riki had put the visitors ahead in the 16th minute – and Mourinho was extremely unhappy with Mesut Ozil’s performance.
Mourinho decided to substitute Ozil for Kaka but not before giving the German playmaker both barrels.
“‘Do you think that giving two good passes is enough? Do you think that you are so good that you only need to complete 50 per cent of your passes?’,” Ozil, in his 2017 autobiography ’The Magic of the Game’, wrote of Mourinho’s outburst, per Marca.
“He stopped and looked at me with his dark brown eyes. I leaned back. It was like the look of two boxers before the first round. I hated him even though I actually adored him.
“‘I want you to play as you know, to go for the ball like a man, do you know how to go for the ball when we lose it?’.”
Needless to say, these comments went down badly with Ozil, who replied: “If you are so great then why don’t you play. There you go, do that.”
Mourinho fired back: “‘Are you giving up?’
”’You’re a coward. What do you want? Do you want a nice hot shower, wash your hair and be alone?
“Or would you prefer to show your teammates, the fans and me what you can do? Remember, I don’t need you.’”
Ozil then threw his shirt on the floor before going off for a shower without saying a word to Mourinho.
Having witnessed this altercation, Ramos bravely sided with his teammate rather than his manager.
And the Spanish defender showed solidarity with Ozil by wearing the midfielder’s shirt underneath his own during the second half.
Ozil’s shirt was clearly visible, as the front pages of various Spanish newspapers showed at the time.
A separate report from Marca in October 2012 claimed that Ramos was desperate to score in the second half in order to dedicate a goal to Ozil.
Just imagine how that would have gone down with Mourinho.
Marca added that Ramos was dropped for the following game against Manchester City in the Champions League as punishment for his behaviour.
Following his return to the team against Rayo Vallecano, Ramos told journalists: “I don’t know if I was dropped as a punishment or for tactical reasons. That question is not for me to answer. I usually resolve these things behind closed doors.”
The relationship between Ramos and Mourinho never recovered.
In January 2013, Marca – per Goal – claimed that Ramos and Casillas told club president Florentino Perez: “Presi, in June, either Mourinho leaves, or we will…”
Having alienated more than half of us own squad, and the club’s fans, Mourinho parted company with Real Madrid by mutual consent at the end of the season.
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