Pérez and Pellegrini: Perfect Strangers
One of the many theories being bandied about by Madridista Mulder types is that Florentino PÃÂ©rez will be standing behind JosÃÂ© Mourinho as he writes his team sheets next season, clearing his throat in a very aggressive manner indeed should he see the words Ã¢ÂÂKarim BenzemaÃ¢ÂÂ under the heading Ã¢ÂÂsubstitutesÃ¢ÂÂ.
That theory was poo-pooed most forcefully by Manuel Pellegrini on Wednesday. In a farewell interview with radio station Cadena Ser, the chilled-out Chilean revealed that rather than having constant interference from the Madrid president, the pair had not actually had a conversation since August. Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt know him, either as an individual or as a president,Ã¢ÂÂ confessed the unemployed coach.
WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, it seems Pellegrini was free to go about his managerial business fairly unmolested during his year at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ã¢ÂÂI played who I felt I had to play and wasnÃ¢ÂÂt under pressure to pick who [the board] wanted.Ã¢ÂÂ
Of course, not having any kind of relationship with the boss and constantly choosing Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn over Benzema probably didnÃ¢ÂÂt help PellegriniÃ¢ÂÂs case when the decision was made on Wednesday to dispense with his services halfway through the coachÃ¢ÂÂs two-year contract with the club.
Ã¢ÂÂMadrid bets on stability, but stability comes from winning titles and being leaders in the world,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed PÃÂ©rez in announcing the firing of Pellegrini, the seventh coach under the club presidentÃ¢ÂÂs two tenures.
Manager No.8 is expected to arrive in the Spanish capital towards the end of the week once a compensation deal has been agreed with Inter Milan. But with a bit of time to kill before making his move to Madrid, Mourinho spoke to AS in a rather swanky Milan cafÃÂ© and whetted local appetites by confessing that he loves signing players who are 33 or 34 and is looking to pick up three or four defensive footballers over the summer.
Mourinho also gave Guti the very bad news that he is most unimpressed by the maverick midfielderÃ¢ÂÂs reported U-turn over his decision to leave the club: Ã¢ÂÂFor me Guti has gone. I read what he has been saying and thatÃ¢ÂÂs what counts. He said goodbye to the fans, did a lap around the pitch..."
"Enjoy yourself: it's later than you think"
Over in the Catalan capital, Joan Laporta reacted to the news of MadridÃ¢ÂÂs latest movements by giving a graceful and most generous speech outlining Mourinho's managerial merits and detailing how he would be looking forward to the battles to come between the two great clubs in the years ahead.
Actually, thatÃ¢ÂÂs complete gubbins. Possessing the maturity of a eight-year-old, the King of Catalunya put his fingers to his nose, wiggled them around and claimed that one of MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs children was a Barcelona fan, as if that was somehow relevant.
The outgoing BarÃÂ§a president then proceeded to throw huge lumps of mud in the direction of the favourite in the clubÃ¢ÂÂs upcoming elections. But more on that another day.
One of la LigaÃ¢ÂÂs other big beasts - and AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid - have both announced that they will be sticking with their managerial guns next season by extending the contracts of their current coaches.
Sevilla have gone for the very cheap option by making Antonio Alvarez their full-time coach after a report from sporting director Monchi told JosÃÂ© Maria del Nido that the man who took over from Manolo JimÃÂ©nez in March wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt cost very much at all.
However, a mere couple of minutes before the announcement of the managerÃ¢ÂÂs renewal was made on Tuesday night, Del Nido had claimed that Alvarez was Ã¢ÂÂone of 1,328 candidates that we have, many of whom donÃ¢ÂÂt have a clubÃ¢ÂÂ¦ we have a lot of holidays ahead of us. We will make the decision calmly. We're not in a hurry.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂIf IÃ¢ÂÂve been chosen from 1,328 candidates then my worth has gone up,Ã¢ÂÂ joked Alvarez.
Atleti also confirmed that Quique SÃÂ¡nchez Flores will start the season at Vicente CalderÃÂ³n. Of course, as most readers know by now, finishing it there is a very different kettle of kittens, indeed.
More from La Liga Loca