24 Dec 2012

Mourinho under fire from all sides

5:37 am on 24 December 2012

While football manager Jose Mourinho insists he won't resign from Real Madrid, his future at the Spanish giants looks virtually untenable.

Press and players alike took aim at Mourinho following the self-anointed 'Special One' side's 3-2 loss at Malaga, which saw Real fall 16 points behind Spanish leaders Barcelona.

Mourinho's dropping of iconic goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas drew special criticism.

It's the first time Casillas, also the Spain captain, has been dropped in 10 years, and it backfired spectacularly at Malaga.

Two major newspapers slated Casillas's replacement Antonio Adan for Malaga's third goal, with the Madrid sports daily Marca claiming Mourinho is making a laughing stock of himself while another sports daily As, says Mourinho has become an unsupportable problem.

Another of the club's discontented stars, Sergio Ramos - like Casillas part of the Spain side that has collected two European Championships and the World Cup in the past four years - weighed in on Canal Plus Spain, saying the team were all taken aback by the dropping of Casillas.

While bitter rivals Barcelona have taken a firm grip on the championship, almost worse for some is that Real are seven points adrift of city rivals Atletico.

The Barcelona daily Mundo Deportivo agreed that Casillas's poor form this season had been a cause for concern, but added that Mourinho's decision is not solely based on sporting reasons.

The paper says it's also a political decision as Mourinho was not just relegating to the bench one of the best goalkeepers in the world or the team captain, but also the ringleader of the malcontents in the dressing room.

However, Real may find sacking Mourinho prohibitive as he extended his contract last May to 2016 after adding the Liga crown to the Spanish Cup he won in his first season.

Mundo Deportivo says if he's sacked now, Real will have to pay him compensation of 20 million euros and only five million euros if he does it next June.

However, in a poll conducted by the Marca website of Real fans, it was crystal clear what they wanted the outcome to be with 80% of the 80,000 respondents saying yes to the question 'Should Real sack Mourinho?'.