Dropping of Casillas puts further heat on Mourinho
Jose Mourinho's Madrid adventure continues to slide into meltdown with goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who he dropped at the weekend, set for crisis talks with the club's president at the start of the New Year.
Club captains Casillas and his Spain international team-mate Sergio Ramos will meet Florentino Perez to discuss why Mourinho's relationship with his senior players seems to have reached rock bottom.
With Manchester United due to play Real Madrid on February 13, Alex Ferguson can rest assured all is not well in the Bernabeu.
Mourinho's Champions League pedigree, and the fact Madrid do not want to pay the £16m it would take to dismiss him mid-season, are likely to keep him in a job until United visit, but Perez wants to discuss the situation with his two most important players.
Casillas was dropped for the first time in a decade.
Mourinho insisted the decision had been based entirely on the player's form and that there was "no story." But tension between the two goes back to last season.
Casillas clashed with Mourinho last season in a training-ground argument when the coach was overheard suggesting his Spain players were being protected by the press.
When the disagreement was reproduced verbatim in the sports pages of 'Marca' the following day, Mourinho was left desperately trying to find out who had leaked the details of the closed-training-session argument.
The decision to leave Casillas out also comes after Mourinho demanded to know the origins of a story run by a journalist who claimed players were afraid to confide in goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro because everything said would be reported to Mourinho.
Madrid's domestic season lies in ruins with 18 points dropped in 17 matches. They face Real Sociedad on January 6 without Pepe and Sergio Ramos and three days later play a second-leg cup tie against Celta Vigo with the Galician side leading 2-1 from the first leg.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi scored his 91st goal of the year as Barcelona ended 2012 on a high with a 3-1 win at Real Valladolid.
Xavi and Cristian Tello also got on the scoresheet as the Catalans secured a record 17th win from their first 18 matches of the league campaign. (© Independent News Service)