Three Real Madrid footballers Jose Mourinho went to war with

Sergio Ramos and Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid against Barcelona in Copa del Rey
Sergio Ramos and Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid against Barcelona in Copa del Rey

Jose Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the best managers of all time but his career in European football has been riddled with controversies and fallouts.

The Portuguese manager has had a difficult relationship with several players throughout his managerial career and here at Anytime Football, we look at three players he went to war with.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is undoubtedly the most high profile player Mourinho managed in his career.

The Portuguese managed to fall out with his compatriot after he launched a very public attack on the player in front of his other Real Madrid teammates.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric confirmed the incident in his official autobiography and claimed that Ronaldo wanted to punch Mourinho at the time.

Later on, Mourinho explained that Ronaldo struggled with criticism and he was reluctant to accept tactical feedback from the manager that could have improved him as a player.

Mourinho said: “I had one problem with him. When I criticized him from a tactical point of view because I felt he could still improve, he did not accept what I had to say. That might be because he thinks he already knows everything and the coach cannot help him grow anymore.”

Ronaldo’s lack of defensive contribution left the side vulnerable during counter-attacks and Mourinho’s criticism was probably fair in hindsight.

Iker Casillas

The Spanish international was widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers around the world at the time and he had a cult following amongst the Real Madrid faithful.

Huge sections of the fan base turned against Jose Mourinho when the Portuguese manager decided to drop Casillas from the starting lineup and criticize him for his dip in form.

His treatment of Casillas spiralled out of control soon and the Portuguese manager started to lose the dressing room as well.

During the 2012/13 season, Mourinho dropped the experienced Spanish goalkeeper in favour of Antonio Adan.

Mourinho later explained his decision as well and claimed that it was a technical choice and maintained that Adan was a better option for him and his coaching staff as compared to Casillas.

In fairness, Casillas was going through a rough patch and Mourinho’s decision was probably justified. However, the way he handled the situation was harsh and a club legend should have been treated with more respect.

“It’s a technical decision,” Mourinho said. “The coach analyses the situation, looks at the players at his disposal and chooses his team. At the moment, for me and my coaching staff, Adan is better than Iker.”

Sergio Ramos

The Spanish international defender did not have a personal fall-out with Jose Mourinho but the Portuguese manager’s treatment of his teammate Iker Casillas soured the relationship between the two.

Apparently, the two were involved in a heated altercation in the training ground where Mourinho claimed that the only reason Casillas is not being criticized by the press is because he’s Spanish and Spain were world champions at the time.

There have been rumours that Ramos approached club president Florentino Perez back in January 2013 and put forward a condition that he would leave the Spanish club if Jose Mourinho stayed.