Real fans still in love with controversial Mourinho
Jose Mourinho was given a rapturous reception by the Real Madrid faithful when his side entertained Galatasaray in a friendly on Wednesday.
It was a show of unity likely to leave club president Florentino Perez in no doubt that whatever reservations he might have over his stubbornly controversial coach the majority of Madrid supporters love him.
Mourinho may have shocked even the most loyal of Madrid fans when he calmly jabbed a finger in the eye of Barca assistant coach Tito Vilanova during the mass confrontation between the sides at the end of last week’s Spanish Super Cup match.
Bizarrely, Mourinho denied any knowledge of the incident and the war of words was taken up by the local media along the battle lines already drawn up from last season’s increasingly acrimonious run of ‘clasicos’.
One of the many banners on display in the Bernabeu on Wednesday was one reading: “Mou, your finger shows us the way.”
Some commentators have been saying that it is time Florentino Perez reigned in his coach to prevent him damaging the club’s reputation but the silence from the club president has been deafening.
A story started circulating on Tuesday the Portuguese was thinking of quitting.
Mourinho’s spokesman Eladio Parames was reported to have told Canal Plus television in a text message: “Jose doesn’t feel supported by the directors and is thinking of leaving the club.”
The Spanish television channel sought confirmation and received it via text, they said.
Parames was quickly back in the media, with a bizarre explanation of what had happened. “When I arrived in Spain I bought a pre-pay mobile and used it for a couple of months but then stopped using it. I haven’t used it for almost a year,” he said.
“Someone else has been using this number. It seems that a reporter from Canal Plus has exchanged messages with the person on this phone and they have been led along.”
Mourinho then followed up with a battling statement on the Real website, where he said he was staying and apologised to Madrid fans “and only to them, for my attitude in our last game.”
In the midst of all this the Spanish football federation said they were opening disciplinary proceedings over the eye-poking incident – Mourinho was punished by the federation and UEFA in separate incidents last season – which could result in another hefty punishment.
Real Madrid finally broke their silence over the Super Cup and expressed their surprise at the federation’s decision while explaining that what had happened at the Nou Camp came as a result of the ‘provocations’ from Barcelona.
Mourinho may have made new enemies with his conduct but when his name was read out at the Bernabeu on Wednesday he was given a bigger cheer than any of the players on the team sheet.
Perez will take note.
PHOTO: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi shoots and scores against Napoli during their Joan Gamper friendly soccer match at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona August 22, 2011 REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino.