After reading Sid Lowe’s column in Sports Illustrated on José Mourinho’s latest rant and Juan asking if I was interested in writing an article based on the recent faux pas, I duly obliged.  So, what is Madridismo?

Some say it means

“being a fan of Real Madrid C.F.”

Others say

“Madridismo is playing the beautiful game in a beautiful way. It’s not about winning, but playing with style and honour … it is something a Madridista demands from the club … A boring 1-0 win is just not worth it – You’d rather lose the game!”

In an attempt to defend present coach José Mourinho, who went on a ridiculous rant in his usual pre-match press conference, Florentino Pérez in his speech at The 2011 Insignia Presentation defined an element of Madridismo as

“defending Real Madrid from what we believe to be unjust”

To some extent those definitions are correct.  However, the most accurate definition of the term I have seen to date came from El Pais’ Luis Gomez who says it is

“The personal, paternalistic leadership style of Bernabeu instilled in the club a simple ethos that was resembled that of a religious order more than that of a political organization. The main elements consisted of a sense of austerity, hard work, humility and honesty. Real Madrid transmitted these values through its players onto the field, summarized in a term that has come to be known as señorío”.

Florentino’s defence of Mourinho is borderline absurd.  Now, I am not saying the fixture list isn’t crowded and that the RFEF may need to spread the games out a bit more.  Nevertheless, the club has known about the fixture list since day one and there was no complaint then.  Secondly, the likes of Villarreal and Valencia have more reason to complain than do Real Madrid or even Barcelona.  For instance, Villarreal played away on Thursday in the Europa League and the following day had to start preparing for a league fixture that would take place in two days.  Also, Valencia played on Wednesday night away in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, where they faced off against Schalke in what was a do or die match, then had to come back and prepare for an away league match to be played on Saturday against Zaragoza.  Los Che travelled approximately 1881.3 km to Schalke, therefore travelling a total of 3763 km both ways.  And a few days later, had to make a 306 km trip to Aragon, Spain which I believe has to take a toll on the players but they don’t complain and simply get on with their business.  It is also worth noting that Valencia lost both games in embarrassing fashion.  As far as I am concerned and many others I am sure, that is a reason neither team stands a real chance at competing with Real Madrid or Barcelona in the league, especially since they do not have the advantage of enjoying the wealth of quality players that both powerhouses possess.  Villarreal for example, depends on their cantera players to fill in for the first teamers if the need presents itself.  Therefore, the yellow submarines will depend on the likes of Rossi, Nilmar, Capdevila, Cazorla, Cani, and so on, week in week out as long as neither is affected by injuries or suspensions.  However, Mourinho feels the need to complain about playing back to back games at home, where the most travelling his players will do is go from training to home, home to training and home to the stadium on game night, followed up by a VERY short trip, a mere 15 minutes to the Vicente Calderón this coming Saturday.

Valencia, Spain to Schalke, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

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Valencia, Spain to Aragon, Spain

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Valencia, Spain to Leverkusen, Germany

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Before any Madridista sees this and get upset, DON’T, because I am an ardent fan of the club.  However, if Real Madrid can consider themselves the biggest club, that boasts of the best players in the world to the point that even their “second string” players would be a regular starter at a club as colossal as Manchester United or could even turn a club like Málaga into a forcible team, then there is no need to grumble about it because there is enough depth in the squad to rotate a few positions if there are tired legs around.

Florentino Pérez, in my opinion, is owed a fair amount of gratitude from the supporters of the club for the simple fact that he essentially wiped out our massive €500 million debt overnight following the sale of the old Ciudad Deportivo training facilities to the local council.  However, that is where the praises must end.  Florentino’s actions doesn’t demonstrate that of a man who understand what it is like to be a true Madridismo nor does it display a man who has knowledge of the sport.  This is a man, who was virtually unknown in the world of football when he first took over as club president from Lorenzo Sanz, who had by then done enough damage to the club.  Florentino may have a vision for the club that is perceptibly brilliant, but, he doesn’t give the “projects” time to develop nor does he give players or coaches the time to adapt, which takes away from the essence of Madridismo- hard work and humility.  Peréz focuses too much on marketing the Real Madrid brand and not enough on the football.  He went against the better judgment of his right hand man Jorge Valdano, the “philosopher“, and hired Mourinho as head coach, who we all know is an incredible coach and perhaps the best in the world, in any sport but he tends to bring negative publicity where ever he goes and that is the complete opposite of what Madridismo is.  But, Pérez has in recent years put the true value of Madridismo on the back burner in his attempt to win titles, which he is yet to do on a consistent basis and his biggest mistake was firing Vicente del Bosque, the club’s most successful coach since the era of Muñoz and Molowny.  Under Peréz, the meaning of Madridismo has changed to mean “winning at all costs” and if that means changing 22 players and the coach and hiring 22 high profiled players and a controversial coach, then that is what will happen.  The term means nothing of value but that of condemnation.  It embodies a lack of team work but that of individualism.  In his two terms, he has racked up roughly €697.1 million in transfer fees over a nine year period and only has two Spanish Championships and a European Cup to show for it!

Madridismo for me, is not only being a loyal and fervent fan but it also embodies what Luis Gomez described as “austerity, hard work, humility and honesty” whilst exercising patience, showing dignity in the face of defeat and fighting for the colours- leaving it all on the pitch.  It is more than just a religion; it is a way of life!

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