Jose Mourinho is no stranger to controversy. It seems everywhere the Special One goes, frosty press conferences and questionable decisions follow in tandem.
This was no more the case than during Mourinho’s tumultuous final season at Real Madrid. For all the impressive performances, his climatic months in the Spanish capital were marred by an infamous feud with Iker Casillas.
It proved a mutual issue that divided the Real dressing room, in spite of the fact that Casillas kept quiet. The Spaniard has finally shed light on why he didn’t stand up to Mourinho, though, and it’s nothing short of brilliant.
The 2012-13 season was one to forget for Mourinho and Real Madrid. Having romped their way to the La Liga title with a record breaking points tally the previous year, Los Blancos were swift to nose dive.
Real were forced to relinquish their league title and finished a gargantuan 15 points behind Barcelona. In fact, Mourinho’s men suffered more than double the amount of losses as their Catalan rivals.
Any vague hopes of Champions League success were slashed by four goals from Robert Lewandowski and Real suffered defeat in the Copa del Rey final to no other than Atletico Madrid. Ouch.
Under pressure, Mourinho decided to take his frustration out on his players and made some questionable choices when it came to picking a fight.
While there were few who avoided the 54-year-old’s wrath, Cristiano Ronaldo and especially Casillas proved the two biggest names. That’s right, the club’s best player and a legendary captain with over 16 years of service.
Halfway through the season, Mourinho purchased Diego Lopez and began deploying the 35-year-old in favour of Casillas. It proved a baffling decision and one that saw Andres Iniesta, of all people, voice their criticism.
As a result, the Special One exited the Bernabeu that summer by mutual agreement and with a fractured dressing room to his back.
Given all that friction and controversy, you’d think that a player with such prestige and power as Casillas would stand up and have his say. Well, he simply didn’t. There was good reason, though.
In an interview with Marca, the World Cup-winning ‘keeper was reflecting on the feud and revealed why he kept quiet amid the controversy.
Casillas explained: “I understand that there were people who had it in for me with my issue with Mourinho.
“I kept quiet for the good of the club, so as not to be creating a circus when the situation was not good. In the end, we reached the [Copa del Rey] final and did not get the win, but I had that option [to play] at least until the end.
“If not, it would have been a circus of two people. Soon they would have had three or four more people and, in the end, it would have been, rather than Real Madrid, a huge circus.”
You can’t help but admire the man. Casillas must have wanted to lead a full-blown coup d’état against his own manager, yet put the best intentions of the club at the forefront of his decision-making.
Things certainly worked out for the Spaniard after Mourinho called time as well. Under Carlo Ancelotti, Casillas regained his place in the side, amassed 24 appearances and lifted a third Champions League title.
He has since enjoyed a decently successful spell at FC Porto, too.
As for Mourinho, his Chelsea return ended in ignominy and his Manchester United career is yet to truly pick up steam. It’s been far from a disaster, but the Special One hasn’t enjoyed brilliant form since his fall-out with Casillas.