Tag Archives: Manuel Pellegrini

Mirror, Mirror

2 Mar

“Mirror, mirror on the wall / Who in the land is fairest of all?”

“You, my queen, are the fairest of all.”








Whenever José Mourinho feels down he goes home.  When the graceful flittings of his sideline ballet go unnoticed, and long after all hands raised in protest have fallen, Mourinho goes to a cozy place.  The man who loves the game more than anyone, whose heart’s crescendo-ing palpitations at the magic of Messi, Cristiano and Arjen Robben’s cuts in from the wing, faithfully returns to his niche.

“Who am I,” he demands more than asks of the ornate mirror that hangs in his salón.  “You are José Mourinho,” he says aloud to himself, but in the way a ventriloquist will with the most minimal mouth movements.  In this most deliberate and playful gesture, with his disbelief suspended as if viewing Cervantes’s Pedro de Urdemalas, the coach conspires to fool himself – yet he is quite content to be fooled.  Needing no more elaboration than the simple confirmation of his name, José Mourinho makes his way to the Bernabéu for the daily round of press.

Having to face Manuel Pellegrini this week, Real Madrid’s most recent ex-boyfriend, Mourinho prefers to not defend his honor when faced with the possibly better-off Chilean.  Instead, he is generous: “Estoy de acuerdo en que hizo un campeonato muy bueno la temporada pasada. Espero que el estadio lo reciba bien, porque hizo un buen trabajo y la puerta de mi vestuario está abierto para él si quiere venir a saludar a sus jugadores.” [“I recognize that he had a very good year last season.  I hope the public receives him well, because he did good work.  The locker room is open to him if he wants to chat with his players.”]

He can feel it as the words rise from his larynx: this brief brush with benevolence is causing fierce heartburn swells in his throat, and so José pauses momentarily.  A question from the peasants rings in his ear: “Will she dump you just like she dumped him?”  His throat returns the echo of the harmless joke with instantaneous, involuntary bile, “Lo mismo no puede pasar, ¿sabes por qué? Porque si el Madrid me echa no voy a entrenar al Málaga. Iré a un club grande en Inglaterra o en Italia, no al Málaga.” [“The same thing cannot happen to me, know why?  Because if Real Madrid dump me I will not be coaching in Málaga.  I will go to a big club in England or in Italy, not to Málaga.”]

Content that he has made his point, but sensing a heightened state of self-awareness, José eyes his reflection in the nearest camera lens coyly.










“Who am I,” he hears himself say – now completely involuntarily.

The room complies as a hundred flashing bulbs erupt, capturing the face they will reflect onto the front page tomorrow: “You are José Mourinho,” rings the chorus of blinding lights.


Manuel Pellegrini: Man or Goat?

17 May

“You’re fired, Manolo”.  Pellegrini defied the odds today and was crowned on Marca’s final cover of the season as Madrid’s newest fired coach.  This has no bearing on whether the club actually will fire him, of course, but Marca have now submitted their official vote.

We had our best bets on a picture of Barcelona celebrating the title with a thousand Marca praises for being far superior – thereby lessening the blow on Real Madrid.  This was Marca’s tactic last year, claiming that “the best always win”.  The blog was also pretty spot on in that 1.) Rafael Nadal’s victory over Federer in the Madrid Masters would warrant a mention, and 2.) Mourinho’s Italian success wouldn’t go unnoticed.  Too bad there wasn’t a “we realize that we at Marca are terrible people” headline, but there is hope now as we’ve heard that Marca will tear down Cristiano’s statue and build one to the eternal virtues of common sense and decency.  –At No, Srslr we can make stuff up, too!

Back to the cover: you can almost see Marca editor Eduardo Inda lean over his desk, push his Cristiano paperweight to the side, look Manolo straight in those sad, sunken eyes, and pull out his best Donald Trump.

Of Failed Saviors and False Prophets

16 May

Yes, Marca.  It was impossible.

With Real Madrid having had their fill of comebacks this season in the battles for La Liga, they have called on super human powers to try to win the war.  Javier Clemente, a former Atlético Madrid manager, is currently coaching the only team that could have stopped Barça from crowning themselves the kings of Spain.

Less surprising than Clemente gracing the cover of this morning’s edition in a superman outfit (I mean, srsly…Superman wears azulgrana, Marca! What were you thinking?!?) is the relegation of the most surprising result of the weekend (Sevilla’s dramatic, heart-stopping, best-game-of-the-week, last-minute goal against Almería to claim the 4th Champion’s League spot) to a 6-word phrase.  They’ve tucked it away underneath Getafe’s Europa Cup qualification, also won yesterday in Madrid’s whocares?-derby against Atlético Madrid.

Pellegrini found himself in an uncomfortable place today, after months and months of Marca twisting his words into those of a fool, berating him for lineup changes they have clamored for oh-so-loudly, and generally acting like full-fledged babies, they have rested their case: “The ‘gentlemanly’ chilean fires off his goodbyes at Florentino, Valdano and the club.”  (Readers, you may proceed to roll your eyes)  Marca has weighed the club down all season with their arrogance and grumbling, and yet, today’s editorial highlights Pellegrini’s “lack of professionalism” for, among other completely rational quips, saying that it wouldn’t make much sense for Madrid to fire him when his two-year contract means they will be paying him next year anyway.

Tomorrow the debates will start, but first, let’s consider the team that Pellegrini has coached: 96 points earned – a total that would have made them La Liga winners by 9 or more points in any season of the last decade.  The team scored 102 goals this season – 4 more than Barcelona did.  They tied (along with Barcelona) the most ever victories (31) from a 38-match season.  They had two Pichichi (top scorer) contenders in Gonzalo Higuaín and Cristy Rhonda.  They sold two players who have been anchors for their new, respective (Champions League finalist) teams (Robben at Bayern Munich and Sneijder at Inter Milan).  It seems clear that Florentino has spent way too much money on this team to be so impatient as to fire his new Engineer after one season.  Marca sees this as the only course of reasonable action, obviously, but they have exposed their short-sightedness in a million tiny ways this season.

Clemente, instead of “doing what he needed to do” to beat Barcelona today, crumpled motionless on the bench for most of the game.  Except for in the 79th minute, with the match all but lost:

We here at no, srslr have become, over the years of Marca-appreciating (-hating), quite good at prognosticating the portada. It’s admittedly pretty easy (duh, if CR does anything good in a win the cover will be of his face, and if RM loses, it’ll be of Pelle’s face), but tomorrow’s case presents an interesting dilemma for the Photoshop monkeys who work at the tabloid. The conjunto of 98 points is now the (failed) conjunto of 96 (losing) points. So they can’t do the “proud loser” approach they’ve been building to for the past several weeks. They could go for the “Edad de Oro del Deporte Español” approach by celebrating Nadal’s win over Federer. They could of course announce the end of Pellegrini’s career, and produce a quote or two about his replacement. Speaking of Mourhinho, how can they resist a sidebar celebrating Inter’s Serie A title as if it were their own (see, they DIDN’T go trophyless!)? Or they could go for the slavish overpraise of Barcelona, trumpeting about how they broke all the records and are the best team ever and how there’s no shame in losing to…not so much a team, as a supernatural force of nature that will soon pass. Or maybe Marca will take this opportunity to consider the Empire’s money-hemmorhaging, superstar-grabbing transfer policy. Maybe they’ll point out that they just spent a quarter of a billion dollars and have no titles to show for it, and maybe they’ll try to learn something from this. It could happen. Instead of picking today, we’re going to place odds on some of the most likely choices:


We didn’t win, but look how good our season was!: 10/1 (5/4 they mention how many goals they scored this year)

Nadal wins! We have no idea what this “Liga” you speak of is.: 3/1 it takes up WAY more space than it should on the last day of La Liga.

Mourinho’s success, our success (because we’re totally going to hire him! Isn’t he dreamy?!?): 50/1, 2/1 as sidebar

Barca, a champion so good we’re not at all embarrassed to lose to them (no, srsly): 3/2

We, Marca, are completely wrong about our approach to football, team building, and transfer policies. We know absolutely nothing about the sport we cover, and we apologize for the way that we have contributed to the destruction of this team we pretend to care about: Hahahahahaha. no, srsly, you guys.