Real Madrid cancel press conference to avoid further war of words between Jose Mourinho and senior players
The nine-times European champions visit Espanyol on Saturday
Friday 10 May 2013
Real Madrid decided against holding their traditional pre-match news conference on Friday in an apparent attempt to defuse the war of words between coach Jose Mourinho and members of his squad.
The nine-times European champions visit Espanyol on Saturday when a failure to win would gift leaders Barcelona their fourth La Liga title in five years.
Even if they do triumph, Barca only need two more points to secure the trophy, which they could achieve at third-placed Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Mourinho's dig at captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas a week ago, followed by defender Pepe's subsequent defence of his team mate last Saturday, has brought divisions within the dressing room to the fore.
Club president Florentino Perez took the rare step of entering the fray on Monday to call for unity for the last three weeks of the season, but Mourinho ignored his request and spoke out against Casillas and Pepe again on Tuesday.
The Bernabeu crowd cheered Casillas's name when it was read out among the substitutes before the 6-2 La Liga victory over Malaga on Wednesday, while Mourinho's was met with whistles and jeers from a large section of the stadium.
After the game, Spanish internationals Xabi Alonso and Raul Albiol both appealed for club unity ahead of the King's Cup final against Atletico Madrid on May 17th, which will be the side's last chance for major silverware this season.
Mourinho's future in the Spanish capital, despite him having a contract until 2016, has been the subject of a great deal of speculation since Real failed to reach the Champions League final last week.
The 50-year-old has done little to quash the rumours of his possible return to former club Chelsea, while his public attacks on Casillas and Pepe have been interpreted as further evidence that his time in Madrid is nearing the end.
"Perhaps now is the moment to say enough, to move on from the controversies with the boss, with Iker, with Pepe," Real defender Sergio Ramos, a senior figure in the squad, told Spanish broadcaster La Sexta at the Madrid Open tennis tournament on Thursday.
"It's a question of thinking only about the final which is the most important thing, and of trying to win it.
"Let's leave behind the controversy and the individual egos and focus on the union of the team which is fundamental, and without which success is impossible."
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Police want right of veto over 'high risk' Friday night fixtures in wake of new Premier League TV deal
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests