When Jose Mourinho joined Real Madrid from Inter Milan in 2010 he was on a high after lifting The UEFA Champions League trophy. He took on a difficult task because, under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona were at the apex of their powers – rolling over every opponent that they faced.
In Mourinho’s first season, Real started their campaign well until they met a road block at Camp Nou, where they were battered 5-0. Mou brushed himself down and attempted to at least gain parity with Real Madrid’s fierce and brilliant rivals. Youngsters like Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira were showing promise and Ronaldo was starting to shine – he went on to score 40 league goals that season.
But Barcelona just refused to lie down. They beat Real over 2 legs in the Champions League semifinals and went on to lift the top trophy in club football. The following season, Mourinho changed his tactics and Real Madrid came on strong. Concurrently, Barcelona appeared to be losing some of their cutting edge as Guardiola and his men showed signs of fatigue. Real came over to Camp Nou and beat The Blaugrana on their own patch in a scintillating 2-1 victory, in a match where they adopted a counter-attacking style of play.
Madrid went on to wrap up their first La Liga title in 3 years to break Barcelona’s domestic stranglehold. Barcelona were beaten by Chelsea in The Champions League and most believed that Real Madrid would roll over Bayern Munich in the other semi, on their way to lifting the cup. But a certain Manuel Neuer had different plans and Bayern upstaged a Madrid side, which had been heralded as a vintage, but looked anything but during the game.
This season Barcelona started a new life under Tito Vilanova but Madrid were successful in clinching the Spanish Super Copa with a victory on the away goals rule last autumn. Alas, that was the only silverware for Mourinho as Barcelona shifted gears and went on a ruthless run in the league. Real looked impressive in The Champions League and again they reached the semi finals – but this time they were humbled by a sensational Borussia Dortmund.
So Mou was left to rue missed opportunities again. In three years at helm, he won 3 trophies and reached 3 successive CL semis but his reign was seen, by many, as an undignified failure. With speculation intensifying about a move back to Chelsea, this will be Mourinho’s last few weeks at Real Madrid.
So what now for Real Madrid? The club seems in low spirits and there are doubts about the team peaking again in the near future. With Barca winning the battle to secure the services of the sensational Neymar, Los Blancos are left to ponder the future with some apprehension.
Real Madrid fans, are you optimistic or anxious about next season?
Written by Ajeesh J.
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