Friday 20 April 2018

Mourinho clashes with Real over Portugal role

Saul Brookfield

Jose Mourinho has become involved in an unseemly dispute with Real Madrid after the Spanish club refused to release him to take temporary charge of Portugal in their two Euro 2012 qualifiers next month, the row overshadowing Real's 2-1 win at Real Sociedad on Saturday.

With the national side without a manager following Carlos Queiroz's departure earlier this month, speculation had grown that Mourinho would temporarily fill the vacancy when Portugal attempt to kick-start their stuttering qualifying campaign against Denmark and Iceland. That met with a frosty response from Real and Mourinho was moved to speak out after goals from Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo had given them victory at the Anoeta Stadium.

"I don't understand why Real will not let me coach Portugal when I will have almost nothing to do in Madrid," Mourinho said. "I will have nine days' holiday in Madrid while there are international matches."

Real's director general Jorge Valdano moved quickly to clarify the club's position.

"There has not been an official request from Portugal, so we have not declared our position," he said. "It has been a huge story in the media, so the president of the Portuguese federation rang (Real president) Florentino Perez, but this was to say they had dropped the idea."

Ronaldo hit the winner with a 75th-minute free-kick that deflected off the wall to beat the wrong-footed Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

However, near the end an error from Sergio Ramos led to goalkeeper Iker Casillas having to save on his line, prompting a furious reaction from Mourinho, who jumped from his seat and hurled a plastic bottle into the dugout in disgust.

Elsewhere, Lionel Messi was taken off on a stretcher towards the end of Barcelona's 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid yesterday.

Messi apparently injured his ankle in a clash with Atletico defender Tomas Ujfalusi, who was sent off.

Raul Garcia had earlier equalised after Messi's 13th-minute opener before Gerard Pique struck the winner.

In Italy, Internazionale's captain Javier Zanetti was allowed to return home with the squad after having hospital tests on chest pains following yesterday's 2-1 win at Palermo. "It's nothing to worry about. He is returning to Milan with us," Inter coach Rafael Benitez said.

Samuel Eto'o scored twice as Inter came from behind to go joint-top of Serie A. Josip Ilicic had put Palermo ahead in the first half.

Juventus recorded their first win of the season in resounding fashion, beating Udinese 4-0 thanks to goals from Fabio Quagliarella, against his old club, Leonardo Bonucci, Claudio Marchisio and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Roma let slip a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at home to Bologna, Marco Di Vaio scoring twice for the visitors, while Milan's stuttering early-season form continued when they drew 1-1 with Catania at the San Siro, the 37-year-old Filippo Inzaghi getting their equaliser.

Steve McClaren eased some of the pressure on him at Wolfsburg as his side won for the first time in the Bundesliga this season. Goals from Diego and Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko saw off Hannover 2-0.

Irish Independent

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