Skip to main content

Players back Real Madrid coach Mourinho as exit rumors grow

updated 4:50 AM EST, Wed January 25, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho defends his position in wake of press rumors
  • Spanish newspapers claim Portuguese coach is likely to leave the club in June
  • Players back Mourinho ahead of Wednesday's Spanish Cup clash with Barcelona
  • Juventus cruise into the semifinals of the Italian Cup by beating Roma 3-0

(CNN) -- Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has rejected claims of dressing room unrest as the club prepare to face rivals Barcelona in Wednesday's second leg of their Spanish Cup quarterfinal tie.

The press in Spain claim relations between the Portuguese coach and some of his Spanish players have been strained in the wake of their 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their "El Clasico" clash last week.

Mourinho was booed by a section of Real Madrid's fans during the 4-1 defeat of Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday, despite the team maintaining a five-point lead over Barca at the summit, and newspaper reports on Tuesday claimed he was going to leave his post in June.

The former Chelsea and Inter coach was terse when questioned about the claims at a press conference, while the two players at the center of the speculation came out to back their manager.

CNN Blog: Is Mourinho finished at Real Madrid?

"At the moment, we're leaders with a five-point lead on the team everyone says are the best in the world," Mourinho told reporters, in quotes carried by AFP.

"Before I arrived here, the club was used to being knocked out of the Spanish Cup by teams from a lower division, and we won the competition last season.

Our relationship with the coach has always been good. Mourinho is the ideal coach for this club and we're happy to learn from him
Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid

"And then we won six games out of six in the Champions League. So I think we haven't got as many problems as people want to say."

Mourinho's side have lost three of the four matches they have played against Barcelona this season, and his tactics were criticized in the wake of last week's 2-1 reverse at their own Bernabeu Stadium.

Mourinho - fans booing doesn't bother me

But the two players Mourinho is said to have fallen out with -- Spain's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Sergio Ramos -- backed their manager on Real's official website.

"Our relationship with the coach has always been good," Ramos said. "Mourinho is the ideal coach for this club and we're happy to learn from him.

"He is very experienced -- he's won it all and is really bringing out the best in us so that each of us plays his best."

Real captain Casillas added: "I think I haven't seen such a great atmosphere on the team for a very long time. The atmosphere on the team is pleasant and excellent. Spirits are high. There is no reason to worry."

Meanwhile, in the Spanish Cup quarterfinal played on Tuesday, third division Mirandes stunned Espanyol, who play in Spain's top flight, to go through to the last four.

With Espanyol leading 3-2 after the first leg, Rui Fonte's goal seemed to kill off any chances of a shock but late goals from Pablo Infante and Cesar leveled the tie up at 4-4 on aggregate, sending lowly Mirandes through on away goals.

In Italy, Juventus booked an Italian Cup semifinal with either Lazio or Milan after a convincing 3-0 win over AS Roma.

Emanuele Giaccherini grabbed the first after just six minutes after being put through on goal before Juve legend Alessandro Del Piero made it two with a trademark strike, cutting inside and finding the top corner.

Erik Lamela was sent off for Juve but that didn't stop Fabio Quagliarella from making it 3-0 late on.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT