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Jose deserved a Messi end

ROMAN Abramovich is right about one thing. José Mourinho's methods leave bruises on the psyche of the football purist and his teams never delight the senses.

He is the master of chaos but when you mess around with the wild forces of anarchy, sometimes the biter gets bitten.

So it was in the Bernabeu. Real Madrid were humiliated in front of their own fans and Mourinho must shoulder total responsibility for such a calamity.

It was bad enough to lose 5-0 at the Camp Nou in La Liga, but this was worse. Real Madrid were a shapeless rabble at the final whistle.

The Special One's reputation is in the bin after last night's events in Madrid and Mourinho is rapidly becoming the Predictable One.

His great strength is the ability to bind a disparate group of multi-millionaires into a fighting force but, on this occasion, his hodge-podge of Galacticos and journeymen responded too well to his goading.

ALIENATING

Mourinho had his pick of top players like Ronaldo, Di Maria, Ozil, Alonso, Casillas, Kaka, Benzema and Higuan but chose to use muscle instead of subtlety as he has done for most of the season, alienating the Bernabeu's grandees and the rest of La Liga along the way.

He was sent off. Pepe was sent off, Marcello should have been sent off and how Adebayor stayed on the pitch is a great mystery. Some would say this was natural justice for Mourinho, who spent most of his pre-match press conference trying to ridicule Pep Guardiola.

All he achieved was to cast the Barcelona boss in the role of dignified victim and add more spice to a Champions League Clasico than was necessary.

VICTIMHOOD

When Barcelona's star names began to fall clutching various parts of their anatomy after what were no more than robust tackles, the sense of victimhood was heightened even further. Praise be for Lionel Messi. After over an hour of disjointed, petty and ugly football, the little wizard restored dignity and delight in equal measure.

Two goals, the second a sublime demonstration of his genius, and it was all over. If any contrast is necessary between the two teams after such a lop-sided game, the difference between Messi's grace and skill and Ronaldo's gawky anonymity is as good as any.

Ronaldo is mesmerised by his own celebrity. During the preamble, the camera panned down the Real Madrid line and his eyes were drawn like magnets to the lens. He can't help preening. His first act after scoring is to smooth his locks into photographic compliance and make sure he offers the right angle for posterity.

He's had plenty of photo opportunities all season but when the chips were down, he does what he always does in the Champions League and hid in full view. Apart from one wild thrash from 30 yards, he did nothing on the night. He didn't even throw a handbag.

INFLATED

There was a lot of it about. This is a bitter rivalry but, let's face it, apart from Pepe's studs-up, over-the-ball lunge at Danny Alves, the conflict between the two teams was inflated by plenty of hot air and some manly pushing and shoving.

UEFA, naturally enough, found it all too much to deal with and tried to lock all the controversy away in the two dressing rooms. Maybe this time they did the right thing.

When everyone had calmed down, Mourinho beat his breast, lamented the state of the world and, quite hilariously, suggested that Barcelona would do anything to win the Champions League, aided and abetted by the powers that be.

Mourinho created the circumstances which guaranteed a fiery encounter and he has proven himself that he will engage with every element of an important game to gain any and every advantage available.

He throws insults around like confetti and like anyone with an ego the size of an oil tanker, fails to see his own ruthless ambition reflected in his own words. We're told that Mourinho's burning passion is to be the man to follow Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford but this game has damaged him severely.

He has Ferguson backing but would the Manchester United faithful be happy with the kind of football Mourinho wants to play? Is he more trouble than he is worth? After this, he is unlikely to survive at the Bernabeu and he will have to bide his time before Ferguson steps off the stage.

SMUG

Last night, Fergie was the happiest man in Europe. His two greatest rivals for the Champions League at war and there's still 90 minutes to play.

There's plenty of scope for further red cards in the Camp Nou. Barcelona will meet Manchester United at Wembley on May 28 but they will leave a lot behind them in this semi-final. Ferguson has reason to feel smug.


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