Players beg Pep to sign on as press try to guess Mourinho's next move
Pep Guardiola may have felt a touch...heavier on Wednesday. No, the BarÃÂ§a boss hasnÃ¢ÂÂt been on the Maniche diet - the extra weight was caused by a significant section of the Catalan media grabbing hold of his ankle, wailing hysterically and being dragged about the house as the BarÃÂ§a boss went about his morning ablutions.
The problem is that the middle of March has arrived and the Dream Boys boss still hasnÃ¢ÂÂt decided whether he should stay on for another year of fun at the Camp Nou, and no doubt another year of questions over whether he will be staying on for another year at the Camp Nou.
A procession of players have been before the media pleading with their manager to stay. This week, Leo Messi was claiming modestly that Guardiola was a more important figure than himself at the club. On Tuesday, Xavi HernÃÂ¡ndez admitted that Ã¢ÂÂthe dressing room is not ready for a Ã¢ÂÂnoÃ¢ÂÂ from Guardiola,Ã¢ÂÂ causing images of many a Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker head-and-fist-to-the-heavens style Ã¢ÂÂNooooooooo!Ã¢ÂÂ should Pep be the bearer of bad news. Ã¢ÂÂWe hope he carries on. HeÃ¢ÂÂs the leader and he has given us order and discipline and turned us into a winning team,Ã¢ÂÂ said the mini-midfielder.
Barcelona-based Sport are in quite the tizz about PepÃ¢ÂÂs indecision, with Wednesday's front cover begging Guardiola not to have any more doubts. Ã¢ÂÂCall the president and say youÃ¢ÂÂll carry on,Ã¢ÂÂ begs Joan Vehils. Ã¢ÂÂThe players, fans, directors, the club...everyone wants it.Ã¢ÂÂ
ItÃ¢ÂÂs possible Guardiola is waiting for JosÃÂ© Mourinho to blink first in his decision on whether to stay on for another 12 months in Mordor. After all, a season without the Madrid manager poke-poke-poking away continuously would be a much more attractive prospect than another campaign with 'The Special One' constantly paying Pep special attention.
Mourinho was at it again over the weekend, with a whole new approach to annoying the heck out of his rival. The Portuguese was willing to admit to his faults in regards to openly whining about referees, but suggested other managers - including Pep Guardiola, one assumes - are merely a little more Ã¢ÂÂcleverÃ¢ÂÂ in how they go about their business. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm not the perfect coach because I have criticised referees before using strong words, but others sell a different image than mine but we are all the same,Ã¢ÂÂ Mourinho said on Friday.
The press conference ahead of Wednesday evening's Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow was full to the brim with tea leaves for Mystic Meg types to gaze at, looking for clues as to MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs future. Cristiano Ronaldo claimed Mourinho would be around for at least another season, and the man himself insisted Ã¢ÂÂmy future does not depend on this match...Ã¢ÂÂ
Yet LLL imagines he is still very much under pressure to secure the club's tenth European crown, and being knocked out at this stage would sit well at all with the powers that be.
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs unlikely to happen with Madrid supremely strong favourites to go through against the Russians with the tie at 1-1, the home side holding an away goal. Oh, and MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs men have been generally quite good this season.