In this weeks ‘Offside View’ COS columnist EAVESY DOES IT gets ready for the union of two footballing institutions!
Last weekend in Madrid was supposed to be about Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, two great names in European football. It was their final and their time to shine, either club would win the magic treble if they were victorious.
Except in Madrid, there’s only room for one team to be top dog, whatever the hordes of Bavarians and Nerazzurri expected. You need only ask Atletico, they’ve just won the Europa League but you won’t find any reference to this anywhere in their city. The odd Atletico shirt you see for sale looks to have faded in the sun and will eventually be bought by a soccer loving yank who mistakes it for Real’s new away kit.
Such is their inferior status in Madrid, the tourist buses seem to do everything possible to avoid the Calderon stadium and you’ll hear little or no mention of the red and whites from any bar man or waiter. Even the UEFA fans festival neglected to have any reference to the recent local winners of the Europa League.
So when the Italians and Germans rolled into town, which they did in large numbers, there just had to be an angle to the final that would make it all about Real Madrid. Something that would ensure their name would be mentioned in every match report of the final, and they didn’t fail did they?!
If ever two entities were meant to be together it is Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid. Arrogant, successful and with so much self esteem they could bottle it and sell it in the club shop.
From Thursday afternoon to Monday evening, the cry that could be heard around Madrid from Italian fans first hoping then celebrating was simple. JO-SE MOU-RIN-HO was sung more than any other name, slogan or claim. Saturday night through to Sunday morning, the whole city seemed to be echoing to it. Diego Milito could hardly get a look in.
Inter supporters knew he was on his way and wished him well. Madrid supporters started to believe that with him at the helm perhaps they could be emulating Inter at Wembley next year.
Many in England would have you believe there are lots of Real Madrid supporters who don’t want him at their club for fear of boring football. In reality this is rubbish, the club is so desperate to topple Barcelona that if Sam Allardyce and his hoofers would guarantee it they’d snap his hand off. The feeling from Real Madrid fans that I spoke with was one of excitement and expectation, they love his arrogance and ego. It probably reminds them of something.
His Inter team scored more goals in Serie A last year than any other. They despatched Barcelona by scoring three goals against them at home and then defended brilliantly when down to ten men at the Camp Nou. This in itself was enough to make the city fall in love with him.
So when the marriage is finally consummated, should we all sneer and hope for a rocky ride? Or should we sit back and watch the Special Ones provide us with a feast of football, scandal and bags of entertainment on and off the field?
Personally, I can’t wait.