Jose Mourinho is no stranger to controversy, in-fact it appears as though the self-styled “Only One” gets the best out of himself when faced with criticism.
From attacking his bosses, belittling his superstar players and poking fingers in the eyes of rival coaches to criticising Real Madrid’s academy (Castilla), Mourinho doesn’t dither when he has something to get off his chest.
Just this week, the Real Madrid coach was at it. This time slating the club’s academy coaches for failing to produce enough young players for the senior team.
Not developing or playing youth players is a Real problem that dates more than ten years back. Madrid’s model has been such that few youth players break through the ranks while majority of the super stars are bought. It didn’t start with the Special One and probably will not end with him.
But over the years, it has been proved that the “Only One” can only win when he has a high budget to work with—as we have seen at Chelsea, Inter Milan and now Real Madrid.
His next stop is likely to be a club where spending on superstar players won’t be a heck of a problem—Manchester City, PSG or Manchester United.
In Real Madrid’s current team, only Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa and Jose Callejon (the later two gained first-team experience elsewhere and returned) are a product of the club’s youth system while the rest are an assembly of stars bought from other clubs.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Kaka, Di Maria, Benzema, Fabio Coentrao, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Luka Modric, Higuain, Pepe, Abaloa, Essien, Ramos, Marcelo.
None of those players’ came from Real academy. All of them were bought at extremely high prices, most notably Ronaldo at 80 million pounds.
Now let’s compare to their rivals Barcelona and their key players; Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Victor Valdes, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Puyol, Pique, Alba, Fabregas, Pedro, Tello. All of them are La Masia graduates.
History has it that Real Madrid never really promote their youth players, but only buy biggest stars from other teams. That is why they won nine Champions Leagues tittles, whereas Barcelona take kids, teach them the Barca style, and whoever shows potential is promoted to first team.
At Madrid, if a young player had a bad game that is likely to be the end of him at Santiago Bernabue as they don’t give a damn about players or developing them, after all they have money to buy the next star.
Their young talents are not given enough chances to nail down a place in the first team because of the excessive number of international players coming from outside. The most notable examples are Juan Mata, Eto’o, Roberto Solado, and Fernando Alvaro Negredo, who all had to leave for greener pastures because of this.
And also the fact that Madrid sack coaches every now and then, means any coach will have to win at all cost, which is why they will not necessarily take chances with kids—after all you can’t win anything with kids, can you?
Mourinho’s precedence is not synonymous with development kids but as club’s head manager, it is part of customary responsibility to make sure the youth system is not only functioning but most importantly producing players for the senior team.
It could be his fault or the fault of those who hire him for instant success but with the exorbitant wages the “Only One” gets, if he fails to win a trophy every season, he will be sacked and with a reputation to protect, he sees no reason to gamble with his career.
While Barca, Man United and Bayern have a fantastic youth system that pays dividends almost every other year, clubs like Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid don’t have the ability to produce their own world class players.
Looking at all the jobs Mourinho had since leaving Porto, all of them have been must win jobs, had he not won immediately at both Chelsea and Inter as well as Madrid, he would have been fired long before we knew he even existed.
And his supporters will tell you it is the reason he chooses to play experienced and proven players, leaving him with little time to develop the youth.
True as it might sound, but knocking the club’s policy in the media is what I seriously don’t agree with—but of course the man doesn’t know the difference between speaking the truth and being diplomatic.