Jose Mourinho has taken one last parting shot at Iker Casillas by leaving him out of the squad for Real Madrid’s final game of the season this afternoon.
Casillas is fit to play and Mourinho’s first-choice keeper, Diego Lopez, is out after having minor surgery. But for his last game in charge, the Real coach has picked third-choice Antonio Adan and fourth-choice Jesus Fernandez instead of the Spain captain.
Cristiano Ronaldo also misses Mourinho’s send-off as relations between the manager and his players ends on an all-time low. Ronaldo has a niggling back problem but that did not prevent Mourinho taking him to the final away game against Real Sociedad last week – before leaving him in the stand.
The relationship between the two had tensed earlier in the year when Mourinho argued with Ronaldo after a cup game against Valencia – another behind-closed-doors disagreement that was made public – and defender Raul Albiol had to play down the incident, telling reporters the two had simply had “a difference of opinion”.
The leaky dressing room has been a constant annoyance to Mourinho over the last two years. Casillas – whose girlfriend, the television presenter Sara Carbonero, announced on Mexican television in January that there were splits in the dressing room – has long been seen as a possible source of many of those divulgences.
Former players have lined up to criticise Mourinho’s time in charge at the club. Midfielder Guti – who Mourinho got rid of in his first summer in charge – said: “He has been a disappointment; he should have shown more humility in the job.” Former Real Madrid captain Fernando Hierro said the club should have intervened in the dispute between Mourinho and Casillas, adding: “I don’t think it was the pressure [that finished Mourinho]. I think it was more that he did not win.”
Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, who will be re-elected for another four-year term if no-one steps forward to stand against him in the next 24 hours, was asked if the club needed a Sir Alex Ferguson figure to stabilise the team. He said: “I have enormous respect for Ferguson but you should remember in 27 years he won the Champions League twice.”