MADRID - The subject of coach Jose
Mourinho prompted passionate debate between members at Real
Madrid's general assembly on Sunday, with some saying his
behaviour had damaged the club's image.
"If you have a tiger as your mascot you have to keep him
tied up to stop him eating your neighbour's daughter," said club
member Rafael Vareos who prompted catcalls and whistles from the
largely pro-Mourinho crowd.
The colourful and combative Portuguese coach, who joined the
Spanish giants from Inter Milan at the end of the 2009/10
season, has repeatedly clashed with officials and rival coaches
and has created a siege mentality around the club by suggesting
there is a conspiracy favouring bitter rivals Barcelona.
During a Spanish Super Cup match against Barca last month,
he jabbed a finger into the eye of the Catalan club's assistant
coach Tito Vilanova during a mass brawl, for which he faces
Mourinho won a power battle with Real director general Jorge
Valdano, who was sacked in May, and has been handed enhanced
powers by president Florentino Perez.
Perez has overseen the spending of hundreds of millions of
euros on players and coaching staff as he bids to win a 10th
Vareos told assembly delegates the decision to give what he
called "absolute power" to Mourinho was dubious and the pictures
of the finger in the eye that flashed around the world were bad
for the club's image.
"Mourinho is not a Madridista he is a Mourinhista," Vareos
Juan Miguel Nogues, another club member, added: "Mourinho's
is not the image of the Madrid family. It's not the one Madrid
should be projecting."
Construction magnate Perez has consistently backed his
He told delegates on Sunday the club had "the best coach in
the world", although he admitted the eye poking incident "was
"Where does it say that when we suffer from poor refereeing
we cannot criticise it?" Perez asked.
"We have the best coach. There are people influenced by the
media but they should not let themselves be fooled."
Real are one of four Spanish top-flight clubs that are owned
by their members, along with Barca, Athletic Bilbao and
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