Friday, November 26, 2010

Jose steels himself for frosty reception

Jose Mourinho’s outspoken and often controversial style means he isn’t always universally popular among players, managers and fans.

This is especially evident in Spain at present where his former club, Barcelona, prepare to host his present employers and bitter rivals Real Madrid on Monday. To say it is worth keeping up to date with the latest scores on Monday is an understatement.

Mourinho began his career as a translator at the Catalan club for Bobby Robson and Louis Van Gaal in the mid 90s but quickly developed into a fine coach in his own right.

After winning the Champions League with Porto he went on to enjoy domestic success with Chelsea before winning the Champions League again with Inter Milan last season.

En route to last year’s European success the Italian club knocked Barcelona out of the competition, denying them the chance to win the Champions League on the ground of their bitter rivals Real.

This only increased Mourinho’s unpopularity among the Barca support, who still mockingly refer to him as Tradutor – ‘the translator’ – despite his success as a manager.

Now Mourinho is preparing to heap more misery on his old club by guiding Real to victory in his first Clasico as coach.

The build up to the game – Mourinho aside – is bound to be dominated by the club’s two star players - Cristano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Those studying the Spanish football live scores regularly will tell you that former Man United star Ronaldo is in superb from, hitting 18 goals in as many games to justify his £80million price tag. Messi meanwhile is in even better form, hitting 15 goals in his last nine appearances, with a strike against Panathanaikos in midweek his 150th for the club.

It seems likely one of those star players will be key in deciding whether ‘El Tradutor’s’ return to the Camp Nou is a happy one or frustrating one.

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