Most of the time, summer friendlies, especially those played stateside, are nothing to pay much attention to other than just making sure that your respective favorite team is building and properly getting ready for the season to come. Then there was the game played Wednesday night in Miami’s Sunlife Stadium as Real Madrid took on Chelsea in the final of the Guinness International Champions Cup.
The game was going to be big no matter what, given the teams that were going to play. Add to the mix that the great one himself, Jose Mourinho, now coach of Chelsea, but for the previous three seasons the coach of Real Madrid, was facing off against his former pupils. The fact that Carlo Ancelotti, now coach of Real Madrid, but not long ago coach of Chelsea, was overshadowed.
While it was a pre-season game, the intensity of the game felt like one you would have for a Champions League tie, it was that intensely played. The game ended with Real Madrid winning 3-1 as it was by far the better and superior team on this night and showed the depth and strength of their attacking players as Ancelotti started Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil, Isco and Luka Modric.
Aside from the fact that Real Madrid looked dominant, there was another big takeaway from this game and they occurred after each of Real Madrid’s three goals. In particular, the way the Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo celebrated their goals sent a message directed to their old boss, Jose Mourinho.
After each of their goals, with Cristiano Ronaldo getting to do it twice, they made it a point of looking over and gesturing as they scored to make sure that Jose Mourinho caught eye of what they were doing. With these celebrations, what is clear is that the players who were on the Real Madrid team last season, are happy and feel liberated from the rule of the ‘Great One’. Anyone who followed Real Madrid at the end of their 2012-13 season, knows that their was great dysfunction within the team.
Aside from great dysfunction, there was a lot of hatred for Mourinho by several players, in particular a Spanish legion headed by Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. While it was clear that those two were not on the good side of Mourinho, it was assumed that a player like Cristiano Ronaldo was on the good side of Mourinho. Well, the events of this past week seem to have proven otherwise with Cristiano Ronaldo’s celebration after the first goal confirming this.
While it was a game that Real Madrid showed and laid down the gauntlet to all with regards to their superiority, Wednesday night’s game will be remembered for Real Madrid players celebrating their goals in a demonstrative manner at former coach Jose Mourinho. A clear sign that they are happy he has left and they have been ‘liberated’ as players.