Mourinho is not. He may be succesful. He may be a winner. He may even be a ‘real character’. But he is not Barca. In fact, he is perfectly and unashamedly Madrid: arrogant, self-satisfied, more obsessed with press coverage and headlines than beautiful football or home-grown talent.
He sums up what Real Madrid want (and, if rumours are to be believed, will get this summer) – success at any cost. An ‘all eyes on me’ approach to football that is not only unhealthy, it is also irredeemably dull. Football should be poetry in motion. It should be thought and deed aligning to create something bigger than ourselves. Something that brings joy to millions, inspires and excites. This is not something Jose understands.
Imagine if you will a pock-marked, desert scene. On it stand two sets of swaying goal-posts, seperated by a crudely outlined football pitch. Upon that pitch play a number of children, kicking an old ball from one end to another. One set of children play with smiles on their faces, with freedom and enjoyment. They try tricks and audacious passes, over-head kicks and mazey runs. They dream of Messi, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, even Gerard Pique.
The other set of kids just want to win, at any cost. They line up as if going into battle, setting up ranks within their own half. They feel no affection for the ball, only affection for the end result. They hack the ‘happy’ kids to the ground and celebrate when their inspired moments don’t quite come off. They waste time and play-act, forever rolling on the floor. They dream of someday playing for Mourinho.
Of course their dream may well come true. Jose loves a good signing or two, doesn’t he. In fact, Mourinho likes to sign players so much that on Wednesday night, not one Italian appeared on the pitch whatsoever for Inter. A proud moment indeed for all Italians.
He did the same at Chelsea, where a blank cheque from Mr. Abramovic enabled bodies to arrive in such great numbers, that only John Terry and Frank Lampard were truly able to hold down permanent places within the team. Even the most creative and under-valued of English talents, Joe Cole, struggled to find a constant place within Jose’s system.
Now of course there is a need for signing fresh blood and looking abroad for great talent, but that need becomes a neccesity where Mourinho is involved. He doesn’t care for heritage or culture. He cares about himself and the legend he will be when he leaves the club. All of this is fine. Football has always had an element of egotism running through its very weak moral core, but Mourinho takes it to the extreme.
Only at Porto, where funds were not so forthcoming, did the ‘special one’ play with anything like a homegrown squad. But even then, the tactics were so stilted and nulifying that anyone who truly appreciates the art of football, and the magic it can create, was bored senseless by the approach. Yes they had some great players (most notably Deco,Helder Postiga and Ricardo Carvalho), but what they were asked to do was demeaning and dull. Surely only psychologists and politicians can truly love a Jose Mourinho team.
Perhaps this is where Real Madrid come into the equation. They have seen what Mourinho can do, and any doubts they may have once had have surely now vanished. Sure, he may take some of the limelight away from the players, and maybe even worse, Florentino Perez, but if he can stop all the talk about this great generation that’s flowering up in Catalunya, then job done. Madrid will be the talk of the town once again.
They know Mourinho will attract the world’s eye even more than the signing CR9, Kaka, or the re-animated corpse of George Best. They know he will bring results and trophies. He will bring glory, and outrage, and constant constant discussion, but he will not bring pure football. He will not ‘give the kids a chance’ or resurect the youth system the way Wenger or Ferguson have done at their respective clubs.
Now it must be said Mourinho is not all bad. He does have a keen eye for a great player: Cech, Robben, Sneijder, Eto’o,Diego Milito. He also has a way of protecting and supporting his players that creates an ‘us against them’ mentality that proves priceless throughout the course of a season. He is charismatic and, at moments, even charming and funny. But this persona and obsession with playing the publicity game hides a very simple fact that Jose doesn’t want us to notice; the style of football he brings with him is totally graceless and devoid of all charm.
We accept this may sound angry and bitter, and that’s because it is. Some of us still believe in beauty Jose! Some of us still believe in magic, and creativity, and inspiration. Some of us still believe in, and care about, football, and that is why the hearts of those who love Barca hope you never darken the door of our manager’s office.
In Catalunya, the ‘Special One’ goes by the name of FC Barcelona. The FC stands for Football Club, not anti-football club, and as such we will continue in our quest to win trophies with flair and creativity on the pitch, grace and honour off of it. Yes it takes courage and belief to do so, and yes we may stumble sometimes, we may even occasionally be beaten, but with a team full of young, home-grown, talented and intelligent footballers such as we have today, then anything is possible, as the sextet just serves to prove.
We are Barca! We are Football!