What has made Mourinho so mad at Madrid?

The first question put to Aitor Karanka by journalists on Tuesday was one of an existential bent: “why are you here?”

All José Mourinho’s assistant could do was dodge the honest answer that the Bernabeu big wigs don’t trust his boss and have come over all ‘buck, buck’ chicken by stitching up poor Aitor by hurling him in front of the press before the Levante match rather than the main man of Madrid.

Unsurprisingly, few of the questions related to Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash, but instead Karanka was forced to straight bat a series of gonad-endangering googlies concerning the club’s campaign against referees and the failed relationship between Jorge Valdano, Madrid’s Sporting Director, and his rebellious underling, José Mourinho.

Karanka had been handed this thankless task after a virtuoso press conference display by Mourinho after Sunday’s Sevilla match where every fluid ounce of his spleen was vented in a very public place.

The Portuguese coach complained that he wanted a direct meeting with his president and hinted that he was feeling exposed by his bosses after a series of little spats during the year which included the tiff with Manuel Preciado, being sent off against Murcia and then suspended by UEFA for the Ajax yellow card affair.

And then there’s the referees in Spain who are apparently running a campaign against his players with only Mourinho being man enough to mention it.

However, The Special One’s real ball-busting issue is being told by Valdano that there will be no purchase of a new striker in the winter window - something that has been demanded since the summer - despite Gonzalo Higuaín’s back injury and Karim Benzema proving perhaps once and for all to be utterly unreliable.

This was a club-tearing clash that was bound to come at some point or another despite Mourinho’s claim at the beginning of his tenure that he has no problems working with Sporting Directors - aside from those who publicly insult him perhaps as Valdano did when writing an opinion piece in Marca in a few years before suggesting that Mourinho’s footballing style was not exactly easy on the eye.

Although the football media in Spain like nothing more than making much ado about nothing, the rift between Mourinho and Valdano appears to be a serious one with Tuesday’s Marca claiming that there is a “total divorce” and that the two football figures “couldn’t even look at each other” during the club’s Christmas lunch on Monday.

The situation has worsened, claims Marca on Wednesday, which is like a child in a messy divorce torn between its big man-love for Mourinho and its masters at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The open support from Florentino Pérez that “Jorge Valdano best represents the image of the club” cannot have “made Mourinho any happier” notes Wednesday’s panic-stricken editorial entitled “unity, unity, unity; football, football, football; calm, calm, calm.”

Curiously, Marca’s rivals, AS, appear to be enjoying the whole affair enormously and are even speculating that Inter may try and bring Madrid’s misbehaving manager back to Milan with Rafa Benítez now jettisoned.

All week, the paper’s editor, Alfredo Relaño has been hand-wringing over the affair claiming that Mourinho’s paper waving antics after the Sevilla win meant “goodbye to the image granted by a hard-fought victory won with blood, sweat and tears. Instead its arguments, disunity and an ugly message.”

On Tuesday, Relaño wrote an editorial stern enough to see him poked repeatedly with sick sticks by Madridista security guards with his confession that, “I admire Barça, their labour of love for an idea, cultivated with care for years. Madrid used to be like that.”

Speaking of Barça and their press is positively wetting its pants over the whole messy business at the Bernabeu with Sport’s Josep María Casanovas chuckling that  “Mourinho is a bad loser, so he turns against his own club.”

The Catalan columnist’s colleague, Joan Batlle, says that there is a single root cause of the club’s turf war.  “The problem is called Barça,” claims Batlle, “wanting to play like Barça, wanting to buy the style of Barça without realising that it’s impossible.”

Miguel Rico over at Mundo Deportivo agrees completely writing that “the internal crisis of the old Galactico empire is exaggerated by Barça, not referees.”

A big win over Levante on Wednesday night and a Christmas break where all the pugilistic parties can return to their corners should see some sort of calm returning to the club by the new year and the first league game against Getafe on 3rd January. But that peace and goodwill to all men will only last until Mourinho opens his mouth again. If he is ever allowed to, that is.

Clearly, not all is well within the Madridista world, with the coach unhappy at the way he is being treated by his bosses and bringing the club’s players onto his side of the turf war. “The club is the president’s, the team is Mourinho’s,” announced Iker Casillas on Tuesday.

This brewing civil war certainly isn’t good news for Real Madrid and their dream stated by Marca for the Treble in 2011. However the ongoing rift and rumble is going to be a treat to be enjoyed by everyone else  in the new year to come.