Mourinho hits back at Pepe in Casillas row
MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho. AFP PhotoReal Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has hit back at his own player Pepe after the defender said Mourinho ought to have more respect for club captain Iker Casillas.
Mourinho had said last Friday that his principal regret during his three-year stay in Madrid was not signing his current first-choice goalkeeper Diego Lopez at the end of his first season.
Those words were then described as "not the most adequate" by Pepe on Saturday after Madrid's 4-3 win over Valladolid and he went onto describe Casillas as an "institution in this club and in Spain." However, Mourinho believes Pepe's rebellion is purely because he himself has lost his first-team place to 19-year-old French centre-back Raphael Varane.
"It is very easy to analyse the Pepe thing. His problem has a name, and it is Raphael Varane," Mourinho told a press conference on Tuesday.
"It is not easy for a 31-year-old man with experience to be run over by a 19-year-old kid. And he is a fantastic kid. I have had the courage to play a kid. The problem is simple, Pepe's life has changed.
"He was an indisputable starter and he no longer is. It is one of my few decisions that isn't discussed in public because all my decisions are discussed in public.
"I perfectly understand the frustration of Pepe that has translated into the words that he has said. Things are very clear. I don't have problems with him. I understand that it is not an easy situation but I have to try to be honest and I think that very few don't believe that the future of Real Madrid is Varane and Sergio Ramos." The former Chelsea boss also returned to the topic of his decision to continue with Lopez in goal ahead of Casillas since the latter returned from a hand injury over a month ago.
And Mourinho bit back at Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta's claim that it was hard to understand Casillas' situation at Real Madrid.
"Iniesta ought to be worried about his team and why they have done what they have done in the (Champions League) semi-finals (losing 7-0 to Bayern Munich on aggregate) without (Lionel) Messi.
"My message so that you understand: I am a football coach, they contracted me to be a coach. A coach has responsibilities, among them to choose who plays. "I don't toss a coin to decide who plays. I do it thinking, discussing, analysing, studying for many hours my decisions, watching games, trying to come to an agreement in my head.
"I like Diego Lopez as a goalkeeper more than Iker Casillas. I like a goalkeeper that plays well with his feet, that dominates the aerial space and is a phenomenon in goal." The latest clashes between the 50-year-old Portuguese and members of the Real squad seem to suggest that Mourinho is almost certain to leave Los Blancos come the end of the season and he made it clear that personal compensation would not be a stumbling block to him moving on.
"The fans think what you sell them. So that there are no doubts, I am going to earn in Real Madrid until the last day that I work. I do not want a euro more."