Jose Mourinho was the focus of attention on Wednesday after his Real Madrid narrowly failed to reach the final of the Champions League for the third straight season.
Real beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at home on Tuesday but nonetheless went out on a 4-3 aggregate, having lost the first leg 4-1 in Germany.
Dortmund missed good chances to kill the tie off and the Real fans were given late hope by goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos.
But the Germans just managed to play out time, to the chagrin of the capacity crowd in the Estadio Bernabeu.
As soon as referee Howard Webb blew the final whistle, Mourinho started to receive criticism in fans’ blogs and websites.
Even before Tuesday, most Real fans wanted to see the back of the Portuguese coach, especially after the 4-1 meltdown in Dortmund.
On Wednesday, an online poll in Marca showed that 82 per cent of believed that Mourinho would not continue.
According to media reports, Real president, Florentino Perez, has already lined up Paris Saint-Germain coach, Carlo Ancelotti, for next season.
Mourinho himself seemed to sense the inevitability of his departure when asked afterwards if he was going to stay at Real.
“Perhaps not. I want to be in a place where I am wanted. I know in England I am loved by the fans, the media they treat me in a fair way. I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one,’’ he said.
“In Spain the situation is a bit different because some people hate me. Many of you are in this room. It’s difficult to make a decision because I like the club and we made a fantastic team that is ready to do big things.
“I need to be honest and fair.
“At the end of the season I will speak with the president. I didn’t make a decision because I have a contract and more than that, because in football people break contracts when they want to, is the respect I have for the club and the president…I want to sit with my president, my friend, and decide the best for me.’’
Meanwhile, striker Cristiano Ronaldo seemed resigned – or maybe even pleased – about Mourinho’s imminent daparture, saying: “I don’t want to talk about him (Mourinho), I am worried about the team and about myself. I am not worried about the coach. ‘’
Ronaldo said it was “a real pity’’ that Real had again gone out in the semi-finals and apologised to the fans “because they were really magnificent tonight’’.
He added: “We could be in the final, we have shown that we are a great team. But we are sad because we have missed out on the final once again.
“We started well and had chances to score five or six tonight but didn’t take them.’’
Ramos offered a similar interpretation to Ronaldo, saying: “It’s a shame. Sometimes you lose, that is football. In Dortmund we should have played the way we did tonight.
“We feel for the fans. It’s a shame to have been so close but the missed chances in the first half were costly.’’
Real’s elimination was front page news in every Spanish newspaper on Wednesday.
ABC’s headline was “Almost Another Epic Comeback’’ while AS opted for “By A Miracle There Was Not Another Miracle’’, reflecting how close Real were at the end to what would have been a crucial third goal.
Meanwhile, Catalan sports papers Sport and Mundo Deportivo were more critical of the whites.
Sport’s headline was “Goodbye, Mou – Another Failure’’ while Mundo Deportivo gloated over the fact that Real had been searching for their 10th European title without success for 11 years now.
The Catalan papers then turned their attention to Barcelona’s Champions showdown on Wednesday against Bayern Munich, in which they will be trying to overturn a massive 4-0 deficit.
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