If anyone thought Jose Mourinho had lost any of his passion for the beautiful game, they need to take a second look at his celebration when Real Madrid scored the third goal in the 3-2 win over Manchester City in their Champions League clash at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
With the home side in danger of losing their first group game, Cristiano Ronaldo picked the best moment to show why he is regarded by some as the best player in the by netting a stoppage time winner, and his coach too picked the right occasion to show he is still as passionate about the game as ever with his sliding celebration.
Mourinho had gone into the match under huge pressure and when Ronaldo struck his late winner, the former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach went sliding on his knees, punching into the air wildly. The last time he did such celebration is way back in 2004 when FC Porto beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.
“No matter the celebration, what matters is the game. Those who love football will have enjoyed it,” Mourinho told a packed news conference afterwards.
In 2004, an unknown Mourinho announced himself to the world stage with a manic touchline dash to congratulate his players after Francisco Costinha’s injury-time goal had knocked United out of that season’s Champions League.
Fast-forward, and now probably the most recognised football manager the world over, the ‘Special One’ or the ‘Only One’ as he prefers to be called these days, was back to his most passionate and who would blame him given the tough time he and his team have been through since the start of the season.
The Portuguese coach recently accused his players of not caring enough as the team slipped eight points behind archrivals Barcelona in La Liga, so he showed them how it’s done Tuesday—without minding that he was actually wearing an expensive suit.
Real Madrid is off to a poor start in La Liga, winning just one of its first four games and last Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Sevilla left the reigning champions with much ground to cover, some saying the title race is already over, even with 34 games remaining!
On Tuesday, all the five goals were scored in the thrilling second half of the contest that Real Madrid controlled for larger chunks but fell behind twice and twice came back, and also got the winner, thanks to CR7 magic.
Real Madrid fans where I watched the match from in a pub in my home areas nd not to mention millions around the world were fizzing with passion by the time Ronaldo scored the winner, withMourinho’s slide show making the victory even sweeter.
After the Sevilla defeat, the second for the defending champions, Mourinho criticised his players’ commitment; even going so far as to say “I have no team.”
Those comments led to rumours about a divided dressing room and the coach’s intention to walk away from the job in not so distant future.
However, Tuesday’s win over the English champions, coupled with Mourinho’s sliding show and Ronaldo getting back to celebrating after scoring, suggest Real Madrid and its manager are ready to fight to retain their status as the world’s best football team.