Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Jose Mourinho cannot bring himself to say a bad word about Ricardo Quaresma... well not in public anyway.While he continually lambasts the likes of Adriano, Julio Cruz and the moody teen Mario Balotelli, he goes all misty-eyed when it comes to his fellow countryman.Another dismal 45 minutes from the winger, this time against Panathinaikos during Wednesday’s Champions League kick-about, brought a defence from the coach that had 'teacher’s pet' written all over it.“He did well enough but he knows he can better,” claimed ‘Mr Softy’ before making general sweeping statements that everyone had let themselves down in the 1-0 defeat to mediocre Greeks. One attack, one goal – that’s the allure of European Cup competition.
Quaresma: Tricks, flicks, stepovers... but no end product
Quaresma was the one Mourinho wanted all summer and when he finally persuaded Massimo Moratti to initially part with something in the region of 19million euro, Inter fans were rubbing their hands with glee.
But judging by the reaction the former Porto man received last night, when he came as a substitute, the San Siro public have all but washed their hands of the poor man’s Cristiano Ronaldo.All twinkling footwork which doesn’t actually go anywhere, he immediately endeared himself to the fans by playing one of his trade-mark outside-of-the-foot passes straight to an opponent.While Zlatan Ibrahimovic has knuckled down and works for the good of the team, Quaresma still thinks he’s out messing around in the playground.It was all downhill from the first slip-up as the groans turned to boos, to howls of derision with every mis-placed pass, lack of control and, in the end, all-round ineptitude.Mourinho complained that his side only perform well when the pressure is on, a bit like the man himself, but young Ricky just wilts when those nasty Nerrazzuri fans get on his back.'Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me' may have to muttered by Mourinho to soothe his player’s ever-so fragile ego.Even Luis Figo looks set to leap ahead of Quaresma in the selection stakes.The veteran has been out injured with that, once-trendy, third-metatarsal fracture, but has kept himself busy as the frontman for such a wide-range of domestic appliances that there can’t be much room left in the Figo household to store them all.
"So, what is it I'm plugging this time?"
Maybe, he’ll give his under-the-weather team-mate a toaster to cheer him up.
As for Jose’s other buys...Amantino Mancini: Was really a Roberto Mancini target but negotiations were so advanced that Mourinho had to take the winger. Much like Quaresma, the Brazilian has been a flop and his former club AS Roma look the real winners from this deal.Sulley Muntari: Mourinho wanted Frank Lampard but the physical Ghanaian has won over the doubters and has proved to be the key on the left-side of midfield. Jose’s very-own Michael Essien so a definite hit.
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