José Mourinho never thought making waves about a potential Real Madrid exit could trigger the collapse of a 10-point La Liga lead but the walls around the Bernabéu have already starting crumbling.
The Portuguese coach fuelled rumours about a return to the Premier League when he was snapped in London during a house-hunting visit to the capital earlier in the month.
Whether Mourinho is genuinely interested in retreating to our fair shores or putting together a convincing campaign for a pay rise in the Spanish capital is anyone’s guess, but it hasn’t rubbed off well on his current crop of Galacticos.
This was supposed to be the year of the power shift, where Real Madrid seized Barcelona’s monopoly on Spanish and European football, and it was all going exactly to plan.
Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola had already admitted defeat in the Spanish title race while 10 points behind, and reasserted his pessimism even when the lead was reduced to eight.
But two late free-kicks – one from Malaga’s Santi Cazorla and one from Villarreal’s Marcos Senna – have now cut that lead to six points and, with one Clásico still on the calendar and 30 points up for grabs, Guardiola and his players must be ready to believe once again.
There have been reports of a rift between Mourinho and the Spanish members of Real’s camp even since rumours about the boss’s departure surfaced.
Only time will tell if the pressure is getting to both parties but, once again, all is certainly not rosey in Madrid.
“I just try to keep growing and learning, and I don’t want to stop developing and improving,” said Lionel Messi this week.
Looking at what he’s already achieved, that’s a scary thought.
The Argentine’s comments come after he eclipsed Barcelona’s all-time scoring record of 232 goals, held by Cesar Rodriguez for 60 years, claiming a hat-trick against Granada in the process.
Aged only 24, Messi has perhaps a decade still ahead of him to add to his ever-increasing tally and what number he might end up on is a thrilling prospect.
But how much more can the three-time Ballon d’Or winner, two-time Champions League winner and five-time La Liga champion develop and improve?
With 53 goals and counting this season, and only Cristiano Ronaldo in touching distance on 51, Messi is undeniably the best player in the world.
He already baffles opponents with his flair, quick feet and ability to dribble effortlessly and it’s hard to see what he could add to his game.
It’s nice to see modesty like this though. Messi hasn’t let the accolades, trophies and achievements go to his head and his determination to improve just shows how much he loves the beautiful game.
He really is a joy to watch and if he does learn and develop as he hopes, it will only be a benefit and joy for football fans worldwide.
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