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elpresidente On January - 9 - 2012

El Presidente Speaks: A Change of Heart

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I was listening to an NPR podcast the other day and the discussion revolved on what figure, whether a musician or writer, actor or director, and in this case for these purposes here a manager or player, you have had a complete change of heart on? In other words, have you liked or disliked someone so much that it became obsessive and you have done an about face and you say to yourself, ¨How could I have ever thought that way before?¨

I did some soul searching, and while if I was expanding this to World Football I would certainly have been hard-pressed to choose between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, my growing admiration for the former and my disdain for the latter has flipped my viewpoint completely on both, I have limited my choice to La Liga and if that were the case I can only choose one person: Jose Mourinho.

Long-term readers here know that I have never been an admirer of the Portuguese tactician. I think he continues to be a divisive figure in world football, supporters and players of the clubs that he has managed continue to sing his praises, the English media keeps calling for his return knowing that his style over substance media presence is perfect for the tabloid nature of their league, but this is Real Madrid hes taken charge of. They have the most difficult and demanding fans, their President is amongst the most strong-willed in the world and with the amount of talent and money assembled at the Santiago Bernabeu, not to mention the rabid national media that ingests and spits out coaches like no other, I thought without question that his style of management would be hard-pressed to turn around the white-elephant that Real Madrid had become. Real Madrid had broken many other managers. Their management structure encouraged in-fighting, back-stabbing and chaos; where the coach, the most important person in a football club, was usually last in line in the decision making process.

Jose Mourinho has been able to weather it and bend Real Madrid to his ear and bring them into the 21st century. Im still not a fan of his personality, nor of his footballing philosophy, but I respect the guy now. Hes the guy Ive had the biggest change of heart on. Who is yours?

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