No way Jose

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at Jose Mourinho throughout his illustrious managerial career has been that success he brings, comes at a very heavy price. The silverware may sit proudly in the trophy cabinet but his successor will inherit a mess largely of Mourinho’s making.

Huge sums will have been spent, no continuity will exist, fault lines between team-mates will exist, so too between the club and local media. In short, the incumbent will have little time to assert his own vision, so busy will he be undoing Mourinho’s handiwork.

The one positive for the next coach of Real Madrid is that while the customary mess exists, the new man is not going to be dazzled by the glare of recently-won silverware.

Mourinho left not with a bang, but with a muted whimper courtesy of a statement from Madrid president Florentino Perez.

“We’ve decided to bring our relationship to an end at the end of the current season,” Perez said. “The club and manager agree the timing is right to bring our relationship to an end. On behalf of the board of directors I would like to thank Jose Mourinho for all his hard work. The team have improved in his three years, and we wish him all the best. It was the right moment.”

It was indeed timely, with the mutual agreement sparing both parties a costly termination settlement.

Thought there was a scintilla of of regret in Perez’s parting shot, not everyone was unhappy to see Mourinho go. In fact, it’s difficult to find anyone in Spanish football who was genuinely sorry to see the back of him.

Barcelona vice-president Carles Vilarrubi spoke for many in Spain when he described the Portuguese as a ‘scourge’.

“Now I can speak out, Mourinho has been a scourge,” Vilarrubi said on hearing of Mourinho’s departure. “Seeing him leave is positive for Spanish football because he had created a negative atmosphere.”

As for Mourinho one wonders whether he has lost his touch. Much of the trademark melodrama persists, but the charisma is fading and his uncanny ability to foster unity among his players appears to have deserted him at Madrid, where the simmering tensions were rarely far from the surface.

Ultimately, though, for all his failings off the pitch, all would have been forgiven had Mourinho enjoyed more success on it.

As a rueful Pérez said last night: “If we had won a European Cup then we would not be talking about this.”

Man on a mission

For all his faults, there was a time when Jose Mourinho was regarded as a breath of fresh air: the man who reinvigorated English football and who brought to Inter their holy grail of another European Cup. For a while he could do no wrong, and his success and man management inspired and continues to inspire fierce loyalty among his former players.

If reports are to be believed Mourinho is set to reprise his role at Stamford Bridge, but there must be some nagging concerns among the club’s hierarchy that they are hiring yesterday’s man. Seeing the youthful Mourinho sent to the stands appeared understandable – a sign of hunger and vitality in an up-and-coming coach. But, the sight of the mid-life Mourinho get sent off in last Friday’s Spanish Cup final, just seemed a little embarrassing.

As we look ahead to this weekend’s Champions League final there is a man who appears to embody many of the traits which made Mourinho such a refreshing presence in the first place. Step forward Jurgen Klopp. The energetic Borussia Dortmund coach has given a fascinating interviewing to the Guardian in which he discusses his football philosophy, his unorthodox training methods, his heartbreak at the imminent sale of Mario Gotze to fellow German finalists Bayern Munich, and much more.

For instance, asked which side the neutrals should support, Klopp says: “We are a club, not a company, but it depends on which kind of story the neutral fan wants to hear. If he respects the story of Bayern, and how much they have won since the 1970s, he can support them. But if he wants the new story, the special story, it must be Dortmund. I think, in this moment in the football world, you have to be on our side.”

It’s hard to disagree.

Behind bars

Controversial Steaua Bucharest boss Gigi Becali has been sentenced to 2 years in prison on corruption charges in a case involving the sale of state-owned land.

The court sentenced Gigi Becali, Steaua’s owner and also a former MEP, on Monday for abetting public officials to abuse their position in a real estate swap with the Army between 1996 and-1999.

Gen. Dumitru Cioflina, the former chief of staff, was sentenced for abusing his position and former defence minister Victor Babiuc was sentenced for abuse of his position and receiving bribes. The ruling is final.

Becali will serve three years due to a prior conviction in a football bribery case.

Police stopped Becali on Sunday night as he tried to fly out of an airport near the capital. Becali claimed he had planned a brief visit to Israel to pray for a favourable court ruling.

The flamboyant former shepherd, who has angered rights groups with his outspoken opposition to greater gay and minority rights, possesses a painting based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in which he occupies the place of Jesus.

Quote of the day

“He’s not raped or killed any1 (sic) so certain people need to stop being psycho drama queens.”  

Phil Bardsley’s girlfriend Tanya Robinson took to Twitter to criticise Paolo Di Canio after the Sunderland boss said the defender would would never play for the club again. One suspects the term ‘psycho drama queen’ might stick.

Stat of the day

Following Tony Pulis departure as Stoke City boss, only one of the 91 league clubs in England has not changed manager since Arsenal last won a trophy. That club? Arsenal of course.

On the move

Rennes have appointed Philippe Montanier as their coach for next season after the Frenchman turned down a contract extension with Real Sociedad.

The 48-year-old Montanier will replace Frederic Antonetti, who said he was stepping down after four seasons in Rennes.

“He will join the first team for the return to training scheduled on July 1,” Rennes said on their website (, without disclosing any detail about the deal.

Rennes, who lost the League Cup final to St Etienne last month, are 11th in the Ligue 1 table.

Sociedad had earlier announced the Frenchman’s departure following his refusal to extend his contract at the club he joined two years ago from French side Valenciennes.

Sociedad are fourth in La Liga and close to securing a place in Champions League qualifying for next season.

Wins in their remaining two games, at home to Real Madrid on Sunday and at Deportivo La Coruna the following weekend, would guarantee them a place in next season’s Champions League.

“The first-team coach Philippe Montanier has informed Real Sociedad of his decision to reject the offer of a contract extension,” Real said in a statement .

“Therefore he will leave the club at the end of the 2012-13 season when his contract ends.

“For that reason, Real Sociedad will make an announcement on this issue after the two remaining games,” the club said on their website (


A game between Argentinos Juniors and Belgrano at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium ended in a 3-1 defeat for Argentinos Juniors. It was a fifth straight defeat for the side and it persuaded one fan to adopt a novel form of protest.

Just after Belgrano scored their one irate supporter through a set of false teeth at coach third Ricardo Caruso Lombardi

Halfway there

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff defended her country’s preparations for the forthcoming Confederations Cup when she officially inaugurated the last of six stadiums being used for the World Cup warm-up event.

“The pessimists said the stadiums would not be ready in time, but we are showing them today that we can deliver high-quality stadiums,” Rousseff said in a speech in Recife before opening the 46,000-seat Arena Pernambuco.

Well, if anything is going to silence those pessimists, then completing the stadium three weeks before the Confederation Cup kicks off, should do it.

On Saturday, Rousseff kicked the first symbolic ball on the newly-laid pitch at the new Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia, where Brazil take on Japan in the first game of the eight-nation Confederations Cup on June 15. The stadium is costing 1.2 billion reais ($590 million), the most expensive of all new grounds being built, in a city where there is no major club.

According to reports, some of the venue’s 309 toilets flooded during a test game between two local teams.

Most observers will just be relieved to hear that they have managed to get running water installed.

Striker switch

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed that the Serie A side is in negotiations with Manchester City over Edin Dzeko and Edinson Cavani.

The Premier League runners-up are keen to lure Cavani away from his current club, but have yet to table a concrete offer for the Uruguay international – much to the evident frustration of the Napoli chief.

“I was in London to prepare for the European release of the movie on Steve Jobs. And then I told [sporting director Riccardo] Bigon to get in touch with Manchester City to open talks about Dzeko and see what their plans are with Cavani,” the Napoli president told reporters.

“There’s a lot of talk, but less action when it comes to actually spending money. Unlike me, others seem to be taking a lot of time to use their bank account.”

De Laurentiis then went on to discuss the possibility of appointing Rafa Benitez as the club’s new coach following Walter Mazzarri’s announcement that he will leave.

“I did not go to London for Benitez, but for my film commitments,” he said. “I have heard a lot of names in the past six months as I knew Mazzarri would leave. The new coach will definitely be someone of Napoli’s standard.

“I will have to make a decision on who will accompany me at this club in the years to come.”

Neymar no more?

Brazil technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira has recommended Neymar leave Santos and move to play his football in Europe.

The 21-year-old has repeatedly been linked with some of the biggest names in Europe, with Barcelona and Real Madrid still the favorites to sign him.

The former national team boss believes the time has come for the forward to leave his homeland and continue his football education.

“Neymar must leave Brazil. It’s good for his career and his personal life,” he told Esports COPE. “Neymar has a big future, very large. I am very confident he will do verywell.

“Neymar himself has told friends he is tired and wants out of Brazil.”

No doubt that admission go down well with a Brazilian public, which booed him the last time he represented the national team.