Jose Mourinho never stays anywhere for too long – his style of management will not allow it. His high-intensity way of managing means that he has only a certain amount of fuel to expend before it runs out, and he is almost running on fumes at Real Madrid.
Mourinho has a big picture in his mind – he wants to be known as the greatest manager ever, and every trophy that he wins is another piece added to the jigsaw. He has been regarded thus far as a success, winning the Champions League for Porto and Inter Milan.
And although he failed to win it for Chelsea, he did manage to win the Premier League title, their first in 50 years. But if he fails to overcome Manchester United, and ultimately not win the tenth European Cup for Real Madrid, it will be seen as a big missing piece in the Mourinho jigsaw – something that will haunt him when he retires.
To win the Champions League for Porto and Inter was fantastic; for Real Madrid, it is expected. The fuel is low at the Bernabeu, and La Liga is all but lost. So the question is, can Mourinho stoke the fire enough to win the Champions League?
Even though the rumours suggest that the players have had enough of Mourinho, they are fully aware that immortality awaits them by winning the Champions League for the tenth time. The tie against Manchester United would be a worthy final, but is just the kind of game that could galvanize the warring elements in Madrid.
The sub-plots in this monumental game are huge. Sir Alex Ferguson, the old general, pitting his wits against the self-proclaimed Special One. And of course, Ronaldo, who would be the best player in the world if it wasn’t for Lionel Messi, making his reputation on the Old Trafford pitch, before moving to Real Madrid.
This game is one of the most eagerly anticipated club games in recent history, and the consequences are massive. No one will give Ferguson grief for losing such a match, but a loss for Mourinho will be remembered as a forever lost piece in his ultimate jigsaw.
Best start stoking, Jose.