March 11th, 2010
11:04 AM ET

Mechanic Mourinho needed to fix Real after wheels come off

Imagine you have just bought the car of your dreams. A convertible, for example. It’s fast, stylish, classy. It has all the extras, all the bells and whistles if you will. You have spent your savings on this car because you want to take it on the road trip of a lifetime.

Kaka looks glum after French side Lyon dump Real Madrid out of the European Champions League.
Kaka looks glum after French side Lyon dump Real Madrid out of the European Champions League.

That one road trip you always wanted to go on. Now imagine that halfway through the trip, the car breaks down. Not only does it break down, but the engine blows and the wheels fall off. Your road trip is over; the headache of crushed dreams and major repairs lie ahead.

This may give you a small idea of how Florentino Perez feels now. The Real Madrid president spent over $340 million on new players in the summer and he did it to win the Champions League this season. He wanted to win the European Cup for the 10th time in the club's history, and he wanted to do it at home, at the Santiago Bernabeu - the venue for the final. That was his dream.

Well, as you know, that’s not going to happen, and Mr. Perez may be feeling a little silly. For this road trip, he may have been better equipped with a rugged 4×4 SUV, not a convertible. Yes, Real Madrid is flashy, fast and classy. However, it is not robust and it is certainly not reliable.

History may indeed repeat itself. Once again, Perez’s obsession with signing star names threatens to end in failure. The first time he was president, he invested hundreds of millions of dollars and only managed to win the Champions League once. That’s it. Despite bringing in Ronaldo, David Beckham, Michael Owen and many others, the only title he captured was in 2002. Yes, that team had a couple of "Galacticos" in Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, but it also had a solid back line and a work horse called Claude Makelele.

Right now the Real Madrid team is unbalanced. The forward line is phenomenal. Cristiano Ronaldo is having a fantastic season and Gonzalo Higuain is in stellar form. But that’s it. Kaka has been forced to play out of position, on the left and has been ineffective. Xabi Alonso has become uncertain about his role, torn between being a playmaker or a ball winner… and the defence is not strong enough. Pepe may be injured right now, but even if he were fit, there is not enough quality and depth, and there is not a leader who can boss the line. Real desperately need someone in the mould of Nemanja Vidic, John Terry or Carles Puyol.

So what now? Time to panic? Not really. What could happen is that although Real will still fight for the league title, Florentino Perez could start planning for next season already, initiating a search for a manager to replace Manuel Pellegrini. Who is he going to call? Certainly Jose Mourinho will be at the top of his list.

Surely if your car has broken down, you want the best mechanic in town.

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Mikael

    So what you're suggesting is that to bring success to the underachieving Galacticos they need to add to their superstar line-up by signing another multi-million dollar defender and replacing the current coach with a managerial Galacticos with an ego that's bigger than any player under his charge and a volatile nature to match? That's like trying to put out a fire with a blow torch. What's needed now is no change, or at least minimal change in personnel, and a more realistic appraisal of what constitutes success and how long it will take to achieve it. Should Real win La liga this seaso it will be a massive achievement given that ths is a new team. Winning the Champions League at the first attempt with a new side was always a pipe dream, and the fact that Perez believed it could happen was testament to the fact that he's a businessman not a football man. Just because you buy a Mercedes doesn't mean you're instantly Michael Schumacher does it?

    March 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  2. Karl Lusbec

    Great article Pedro!
    I love the car analogy because it is so accurate. The Galacticos Part I was half a failure I would say as they won the Champions League and Makelele played a key role here. Half a failure because they were close to win the league, and somehow the team was well balanced with Salgado and R. Carlos.
    Galacticos Part II was meant to fail. Kaka, Xabi Alonso are not playing their true position, and the defense, apart from Casillas is poor. There is also no true leader in the team.
    To go back to the car analogy, the best choice is to bring it to the mechanic, but what if you bring a broken Ferrari to a Lamborghini mechanic, will he be qualified (and willing) to repair it? That is the question...

    March 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  3. Temene

    I agree, 100%

    March 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  4. Cristian

    DEFENSE wins championships!
    They need a much better defense.

    Defense is cheaper too!🙂

    March 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  5. Fernando

    I think Pellegrini is the right person for the job, I think Real's loss was a combination of complacency (by various players), missed opportunities and I suppose a lack of time.
    What I mean by a lack of time is that for every team to achieve their goals they must blend together and find the right balance. which in turn takes longer then six months, take Barcelona for example Thierry Henry took at least the whole season to adjust to Barcelona's style of play and to La Liga , and yes I'm well aware that these are paid to perform but in reality it actually does take time and the right balance to this, the team must know how to play with each other in order for this to happen.

    March 12, 2010 at 1:25 am | Reply
  6. mesfen

    i agree with pinto...not only that Mourinho is the wright man but i say he is also late he should have been a real manger long time ago...let say 4 years ago....other choice for Madrid is just stretching the hard time...

    March 12, 2010 at 2:30 am | Reply
  7. INYANG AKPAN

    Jose Mourinho is certainly the man to return real madrid to their past glory. Big ups pedro!!!

    March 12, 2010 at 6:54 am | Reply
  8. duke ngare

    florentine perez should know that his dirty money cannot buy success.

    March 12, 2010 at 9:07 am | Reply
  9. oriaku

    I guess you are right. Real need a good mechanic, they have all the tools and spare parts but lack the mechanic to fix it for them. I also think the right mechanics are Mourinho choice 1, Guus Hidink Choice 2 and R. Benitez choice 3.

    Unless they do that which is right they will always be breaking down on the high way. they should forget about winning any title this season and start planning for next season.

    Thanks.

    March 12, 2010 at 10:13 am | Reply
  10. jabbious zunurain njundu

    All the comments i read is fact and right but let higuain knows that football need reality and business the boy is not serious and he does not care that is his problem no one should be blame but him ,

    March 12, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  11. Riquinho

    First of all, ban Higuain. Second, invest in better medical staff. Third, give the captainship to Cristiano.

    March 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  12. Khalid Khan

    I don't support knee-jerk reactions in search of a quick fix. Pellegrini will need time to get things right. He should be given time beyond current season to give him opportunity to do his thing with Real Madrid and also to ensure continutuity.

    Mourinho is good at man management and handling big egos (but maybe smaller than his own). He will also definitely make it Real Madrid against the rest of La Liga by bringing his siege mentality.

    I would have liked Van der Vaart to play instead of Kaka against Lyon. VDV is performing and is hungry to a place in the team. Kaka is maybe complacent. So play a play who wants to perform and puts in hard work.

    Pinto, you are right that there is no leader in Real Madrid defense at the moment. I would have liked Nemanja Vidic to come to Real Madrid very much before the season started.

    March 13, 2010 at 9:24 am | Reply
  13. yaya

    mourinho is the man!full stop!

    March 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  14. Gladys Atieno

    Perez should have learnt from Abramovich [hope I got the name right].Chelsea spent alot of money on players and after five years since the new era they are yet to win champions league.Dont forget they even had to fire the special one.So perez should find away of making the team compact.
    Look at Man United many said that they would not make it without Ronaldo what about Arsenal, a team of young boys.Madrid should start nurtering there on talent coz a team will understand each other best especilly if they have been palying together for quite sometime.Madrid also need to be patient, they may win it ,probably once, and that if the team click.

    March 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  15. bosco

    it just makes me laugh... anytime arrogance gets it stuffed up theirs... is just pleasurable to watch their disspair...

    March 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  16. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Thought provoking stuff from Pedro. Real Madrid has some of the finest footballers both young and not so young. But as a team Real did not come across as invincible. The boys will need some more time to settle before they can start delivering as a team. So far it has been more individual brilliance alone. Let's wish the team good times in the domestic competitions. They will be fine for the next season.

    March 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  17. Ahmed

    True Statment

    March 14, 2010 at 4:58 am | Reply
  18. Roney

    Just because Real was unable to defeat Lyon on the day does not constitute failure, and this is not doing justice to Lyon who played a fantastic second half. Football is a game of taking your chances, and some days it just doesnt happen, like Higuain's shot bouncing off the goalpost. Real could have an off-day like this under Mourinho, Ferguson, Wenger, and even Pep Guardiola. I dont agree with the car analogy – football players are humans not machines, and they will have mixed fortunes on different days.

    March 14, 2010 at 6:23 am | Reply
  19. jorgen friis

    whether the Chosen One (Jose Mourinho) is the right man for the job n one can tell. You can only judge his ability to get the best out of people
    from his track record which is very good indeed. But i think its a fallacy to
    believe that a good coach will solve all problems. It goes much deeper i.e. here we have a team put together at the cost of zillion of dollars
    and what has been the return? Money does not necessarily bring you success if the players dont gel and play as a team without proper cohesion. I am sure the Chosen One can see all that but in the final
    analysis it is the players who win or lose their matches not the coach.
    Oftentimes the coach is made the scapegoat when in actual fact
    some of the players are overrated, overpaid, overaged and should be
    laid off and replaced with players who are eager and hungry for success. I personally like the Chosen One and would dearly like him
    to return to the EPL. Has anyone given some thoughts to a life for Manchester United after Alex Ferguson steps down. You cannot argue with success but mind you Fergie has been long enugh with MU to warrant a consideration what will happen when – if ever – he steps down. I for one would like to see this happen sooner rather than later. He is getting too long in his tooth and I have this feeling that MU needs fresh blood.

    March 14, 2010 at 11:41 am | Reply
  20. sergio

    real madrid have evrythng bt thy jst cnt make use it, mourinho mght be da rght nw bt thy wnt be a sucess... pinto ur ideas rock

    March 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  21. Benjamin

    You don't buy the Champions League trophy, you play for it. Real Madrid and its players have to understand it. And in that match agains Lyon, Bosnian Miralem Pjanic worthed more then Kaka and Ronaldo together.

    March 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  22. Mayokun

    If Pedro believes it will take a Mourinho to turn the fortunes of Real Madrid around, I may not dispute much. Certainly a team of sheep led by a lion will always gain an upper hand against lions led by a sheep. Beyond the money being pumped on acquiring players, strategy and the bench will be most critical. And Real should stop putting square pegs in round holes.

    Cheers.

    March 15, 2010 at 7:55 am | Reply
  23. Jason

    There are a few points I would like to share. Firstly, the La Liga is very different to the Champions League competition. I believe the 2 competitions require a different preparation altogether. Physically, I believe the players are going to be ready. Tactical and mental preparation is the coach's responsibility. There have been many coaches since Del Bosque's 2002 Galacticos, but truthfully the only coach that could have given Real the Champions League was Fabio Capello.

    There is a lot of speculation regarding the movement of top coaches during the off-season. In my opinion, Real need to go with the best coach available. My choices would be either Jose Mourinho or Guus Hiddink. Also, they will need to buy a true top class Centre Back. Mourinho and Hiddink are great tacticians and will come up with the right formation and squad to bring back the Champions League to Real Madrid

    March 15, 2010 at 8:30 am | Reply
  24. Ekene-finally

    I definitely agree with you that madrid need a world-class fortune( perhaps misfortune) changer like mourihno. But problem is, since liverpool would undisputedly crave his service at anfield, then the so called president should spend even more as liverpool wouldn't mind borrowing (maybe from me this time around) to land the 'special one'. But this decision could spring revolt from madrid executives. Note: madrid is not a family businness!

    March 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  25. Abhinandan Katkuri

    Mourinho at Rea would be fantastic. It would be a treat to watch him there giving some stick to the under-performing Galactecos. I dont see any other coach who could deal with superstars the way Mourinho does.

    Not even Sir Aex sometimes, because his mantra seems to be to either bench or sell off a superstar who acts smart.

    Mourinho to Real would mean he would have to work with the same Ronado whom he refers to as the diver.

    But I dont see Mourinho wanting to go there. He is someone who loves the English press and he wants to take over from Sir Alex when he retires at Manchester U.

    March 17, 2010 at 2:10 am | Reply
  26. Gerald

    I never thought for one moment that Florentino Perez was spending all that money to win trophies; for surely that is not how to win trophies.

    He spent that money to grab the headlines away from the Camp Nou, to have people talking about Real Madrid. He "refurbished " Real for refurbishments' sake.This was the primary objective.

    He HOPED, that trophies wouldcome with the refurbishment.

    People that want to win trophies adopt a 3-4 seasons view; and Mr Perez simply does not have that amount of time at the helm.

    March 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  27. Chami

    i think perez should be left until the end of the season so that hiw performance could be properly assesed, there is La Liga still anyway..... i think that next season they would do much better than this and im not speakin just beacuse of bline optimism but i think it gives them time to build better team chemistry.... thats the biggest difference between Real and Barca.... they have complete understanding of how they are going to handle the situation Messi, Xavi, Puyol.... the 3 alone navigates the issue beautifully.....they have their own little issues, yes but i think its important to let the team grow together.... and all these players perform well so it shouldnt be a huge problem.. i think a long term manager is also a must.... so we need to look at someone whose going to be with them in the long haul.... a Ferguson, a Benitez.

    March 19, 2010 at 3:02 am | Reply
  28. Varun

    Won't last. Mourinho is defensive in the League overall always has been.
    Madrid supports won't tolerate that for long,even when they win.

    March 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  29. zizou

    I agree they do require a very solid back line especially two very good central defenders. But still I am not sure if they would win against the big teams. They struggle so much against some of the star teams especially their defence. They spent so much money on their attack while they bought just simple defenders into the team. It's time they look into their defence. Yes Mourinho is the guy Madrid fans might get a little angry when they see defensive matches by Real Madrid but i doubt it will get that boring for them when they have entertainers like Ronaldo.

    March 27, 2010 at 6:24 am | Reply
  30. Cosmas Daniel

    To get mourinho is to be sustained at the top, even if u were relegation bound. He is truly the special one to any club he steps his feet

    April 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  31. Mbah Kasie

    I think jose mouriho is the right coach for Real because he's a motivator and tactical in terms of coaching.

    April 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  32. estse

    dn't 4get he is z "SPECIAL ONE".

    April 10, 2010 at 7:09 am | Reply
  33. sanni,

    using your car analogy,
    halfway through your trip, the mechanic says buy a highgrade brake-pad for better wheel control, but you being an impatient owner dont buy the idea cos you just want more speed even when on a 40kph road. So who do you blame for the likely car crash.
    ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY, NEITHER IS SUCCES BOUGHT BUT EARNED THROUGH CONSISTENT DILIGENCE AND HARDWORK THROUGH OUT THE WHOLE THE PROCESS.

    Two high ego individual never make the best of couples when none ever compromises for anybody no matter who, hence Mourinho surely would never be successful at real madrid.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:38 am | Reply
  34. sanni,

    what real needs is a better defensive midfielder.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:43 am | Reply
  35. javad

    mourinho are ideal for real

    May 5, 2010 at 6:35 am | Reply
  36. abdul mayaki

    what real needs now is to make their players know each other so that they will return their image as best club in the century.

    May 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Reply

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