Jose Mourino faces the media after Wednesday's debacle at the Bernabeu. (Getty Images)
What to make of Jose Mourinho's infamous rant after Real Madrid was dispatched 2-0 by Barcelona at the Bernabeu in the opening leg of the Champions League semifinal?
Losing with grace, dignity and class has never been the Special One's forte. The Portuguese's modus operandi
has always been to lay the blame elsewhere, usually on the refs, rather than upon himself whenever his team falls short on the pitch.
It's a useful ploy, one that he has used to perfection time and time again to his advantage in order to motivate and protect those who play under him.
But one gets the sense that Wednesday's post-match diatribe wasn't an act, and that Mourinho genuinely believes the refs and UEFA conspired together to hand Barcelona the victory.
More's the pity.
It would appear Mourinho's fondness for gamesmanship has now turned into full blown dementia. How else to explain his comically paranoid explanation for his team's loss the other night?
His assertion that Barcelona players threw themselves to the ground in order to draw fouls was, to be fair, not completely without merit. But it's an accusation that is more than a little rich coming from Mourinho considering Real Madrid's Angel di Maria was the game's worst offender on that score.Pepe deserved red
"An image is worth more than words," Mourinho said on Friday, a reference to the video of Pepe's tackle on Barcelona's Dani Alves.
Indeed, it does, Jose. Pepe's studs-first tackle on Alves certainly wasn't malicious, but it was reckless and deserving of a red card.
To hear Mourinho tell it, Pepe's expulsion won the game for Barcelona and sealed Real Madrid's fate - that the Catalans could not find a way to score so the refs stepped in and made it easier for them.
Barcelona was far away the better side long before Pepe's sending-off. While the Catalans tried to play football, Real Madrid's only tactical response was to frustrate them from the beginning - why else would Mourinho field a starting line-up with seven defensive players?
Barcelona ran circles around their eternal rivals - at one point enjoying 82 per cent of the possession - and won courtesy of two sheer moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi, the best player in the world.
What did Real Madrid do? It sat back and defended and unimaginatively hit back on the counter-attack. It was a damning indictment of Mourinho, that he managed to reduce the most expensively assembled attacking team in the history of the game to a group of cowering children.
There was not a single trace of the swashbuckling football made famous by Alfredo di Stefano, who made no bones about his feelings after Madrid used similar tactics to earn a 1-1 draw with Barca at home in La Liga earlier this month. One can only imagine what the great man thought after being subjected to another timid display from Mourinho's men on the very pitch upon which he and his legendary teammates fearlessly tore opponents apart.
Mourinho's sterile and dour tactics were the real reason why Real Madrid came out on the short end, to say nothing of the fact his roster selection left a lot to be desired. Kaka, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema all dazzled in a 6-3 destruction of Valencia at Mestalla last weekend, but they all sat on the bench as unused substitutes against Barcelona. Curious that.
And what of Cristiano Ronaldo, supposedly the second-best player in the world? What did he contribute on the night? How did he influence the outcome? The Portuguese hardly channelled the legend of Di Stefano and the galacticos
who came before him, leaving one to only imagine if the final result could have been different had he bothered to show up.
All in all, Mourinho has nobody to blame for himself for Madrid's capitulation.
's hubris really knows no bounds if he honestly thinks UEFA is out to get him. Where he gets the ego to make such a charge, one can only wonder.
And the fact that he is sticking with this ludicrous story days later may be an indication that he has genuinely lost his mind.
Follow John F. Molinaro on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/JohnMolinaro
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