The Weekly Review: Week Five: Lionel Messi, Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo

"So we bluff to leave, then stay put? You OK with that?"

When will we learn to not get ahead of ourselves? All this week, across multiple sports, individuals and teams have been getting ahead of themselves. Take a look at the Superbowl: many expected that Tom Brady and the Patriots would atone for their 18-1 season by defeating the Giants, but it was not to be. Despite leading late on, they conceded a touchdown with 0:57 left, and ended up losing. Again.

Then we have the UFC, where the press department had already started to hype up a bout between Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre. Unfortunately for them, Carlos Condit fought a perfect fight to win a unanimous decision and set up a fight with GSP upon his return. Then we move back to familiar ground: football, and the English Premier League in particular.

Maybe you saw the match yesterday, but Chelsea raced into a surprising 3-0 lead over Manchester United, only to concede two penalties and a late header from Chicharito to draw 3-3. What about the reports suggesting that Jose Mourinho is ready to leave the Bernabeu as the first man to win league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain? Isn’t that a little premature? Here are my thoughts on the week just passed.

Lionel Messi

The Argentine is fast becoming a sensitive subject among some Barcelona fans, with a few criticising the three-time Ballon D’Or winner for his recent performances in front of goal. Why you might ask? Well, I have an incline it is about jumping to conclusions...how many people EXPECT Lionel Messi to score in a game? Then how many EXPECT Messi to grab the man of the match award through some virtuoso performance?

The truth of the matter is that Lionel Messi performs under immense pressure each and every game, and when his teammates are struggling, that pressure multiplies. While some believe that when Messi play badly, Barcelona plays badly, I tend to think it is the other way round: When Barcelona play badly, Lionel Messi follows suit.

Unlike Portuguese forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo needs his teammates in almost everything he does. Whether it is playing a one-two, a through ball or even when he embarks on a solo run, he needs his teammates to move for him, anticipate the pass and draw defenders away with decoy runs. The problem is that no-one is moving; few are anticipating a pass, and when Leo does venture forward on a solo run because no one else is moving for a pass, he has to battle with at least three defenders.

What happens is that he finds it more difficult to do what he does best. I saw on our match review comments that someone thinks Messi did not deserve to be man of the match, and while I voted for Javier Mascherano, I can see why people voted for Messi. It’s hard to ignore someone who scored one and set up the winner, regardless of whether or not they "lived up to expectation". At the end of the day, Messi continued with his goal-a-game record, and ensured that he still has an assist every other game. Contributing to 56 goals this season, I would think twice before criticising the little man.

Jose Mourinho

So, The Special One is "leaving" this summer eh? I doubt there is a single Culé around the world that will shed a tear if the reports are indeed true. Jose Mourinho has brought out the best and the worst in both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona by making El Clasico like warfare. For that, we should simultaneously thank and condemn him. After all, without him, there would not have been a 5-0 drubbing, or a legendary Lionel Messi run in the Champions League semi-final, mainly because Real would have lost at the round of 16. While we hate the antics, it is hard to think of a Clasico without Mourinho. What’s the fun in 90 minutes of football?

Well, thankfully/unfortunately (delete depending on personal preference) these rumours are probably just that: rumours. Why would Jose Mourinho leave for Arsenal, especially if the Gunners continue to struggle in search of Champions League football? Is there a job for him to return to at Chelsea, and if there is, then why would he take it? The defense is suspect, and the team is a far cry from the one he built a few years back. In my opinion, it would take hundreds of millions to transform the current Chelsea side into one that Mourinho could use in his system and with Financial Fair Play on the horizon that is unlikely to happen.

He has talked about replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, but SAF is not going to retire for at least a couple more years. Manchester City seem content with Roberto Mancini, leaving England a difficult destination for Jose. I think he would only ever consider going back to Inter Milan, or (less likely) enhancing his C.V. further with a spell at Bayern Munich. Unless Mourinho wants to try his hand at international management, there are few jobs out there for him, and even less that are better than Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Sorry about the weekly review being more orientated towards Real Madrid, but apparently, Ronaldo is contemplating a return to England, just like Jose Mourinho. Now, this story does come courtesy of the Daily Mail, so is about as refutable as the crazy old bloke down the street, in fact, they didn’t even spell check the article. According to them, Ronaldo is "growling disillusioned with life at Real Madrid". Either Ronaldo is so pissed off with fans booing him, he is growling with anger, or this story is merely a way to boost reads...

The article suggests that he is sick and tired of people questioning his attitude, so he thinks that returning to England would sort that out. Well, considering Manchester City are the only club with enough money to spend on the Portuguese winger, I doubt his problems would go away. United fans would boo him, Chelsea fans would boo him, and I don’t even know whether or not the City fans would take kindly to him. Regardless, Cristiano is staying put, bar some dramatic turn of events.

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