adding fuel to the fire…
Last week, Marca reported that during the lunch between Florentino Pérez and the two captains, Iker and Sergio had told the president that if Mourinho continues as coach next season, various players, including some of the most important ones, would ask the club to consider offers for them. The article went on to say that the relationship between players and coach had deteriorated and the situation had reached a boiling point. That same day, FP convened an extraordinary press conference to say that “it’s completely false that the captains gave me an ultimatum regarding the coach, or anything like it… what was published was a lie.” Later that day, the club released an official statement from Iker and Sergio, which said “we want to show our support to our coach, José Mourinho, for whom we have the greatest respect,” and rejected the use of their names for “such information that we label in its entirety as false.”
Now, Sara Carbonero, journalist and Iker’s girlfriend (and contributor to Marca), has come out to say, among other things, that “as we all have seen, the atmosphere in the locker room is not good at all” and “it is widely known that the players are in complete disagreement with their coach right now. There is a division in the team…” during an appearance on the Mexican program “La Jugada.”
True or not, this response directly contradicts the “respect” and “unity”* that Iker and Sergio spoke about in their statement, which makes us doubt them. This is what I have a problem with. Because if we doubt them, the two captains, who can we believe? Who can we trust? Fairly or not, everyone assumes that Sara gets her information from Iker, and therefore for her to say these things, it’s like they have Iker’s stamp of approval and are in fact his thoughts. The person who is going to come out of this looking bad is Iker, and he’s not just any player, he’s the captain and flag bearer of the team and club. He’s a symbol of the club, but now there are many who believe the club is better off without him, due to his choices and these controversies. And Sara is not only saying Iker is a liar, she is also essentially saying that Florentino Pérez is one as well (she described him as nervous, alluding that he was like that because he was lying).
* Though Sara may not support Real Madrid as a fan, she is connected to Real Madrid through her boyfriend.
Sara is a journalist and therefore she can say whatever she wants. She’s not an idiot either. However, she must have known when she started dating Iker that her professional and personal lives would overlap, and that it would put both of them in awkward positions, create conflicts of interest and hurt their credibility. In fact, when asked by ¡Hola! magazine back in 2009 (before she started dating Iker; I’ll see if I can dig up the actual issue and provide a better photo) whether she would date a footballer, she responded, “no. Obviously, I prefer not to mix those things. If this is your job, then the last thing you should do is go out with a footballer. I’m not considering that… right now the most important thing for me is my work, and getting credibility, and therefore the last thing I would do is date a footballer.” What happened next? She went out and dated a footballer, and not just any one, but the captain of the biggest club in Spain and of the national team.
The best thing she could have done was refuse to comment on this issue, which would not hurt her credibility while preventing a conflict of interest. After all, she had to know most of the interest in getting her thoughts is not because she’s a serious journalist (which she is), but because she’s Iker Casillas’ girlfriend, and the conclusion is that he must talk to her about what goes on with his team. Maybe she is just trying to prove herself to all those who believe she’s not a serious journalist, and that she got her current position due to her choice of boyfriends rather than any talent or qualifications. If that’s what she’s doing, then she made a poor choice; there are many other ways she could prove herself if she feels she needs to. In fact, wading into this issue just makes her look opportunistic.
Here’s the video from Sara’s appearance on “La Jugada,” and my transcript of what was said. The two questions (out of three) asked show that Sara was asked to contribute to this show because she’s Iker’s girlfriend, not because she’s a journalist.
Gracias Sara indeed.
Sara, what’s up with Iker?
It was one of worst news for Real Madrid, the injury to Iker Casillas, the first one in his almost 14-year career. He’s had to stop, to step away for a period of time. As you know, he suffered an incident in the game against Valencia, an accidental kick from his teammate Arbeloa, which fractured the thumb of his left hand. He has already been operated on, on Friday, everything went well, Iker will be out two to three months. He’ll miss the Copa del Rey games against Barcelona, the Champions League round of 16 games against Manchester United, and everyone believes that this is a very important and sensitive injury for Real Madrid. What did Madrid do when faced with this situation? They have already found a substitute, out with the old, in with the new [what?], the new goalkeeper is Diego López, although that name might not be familiar, he’s from the cantera and last played for Sevilla. Mourinho liked him and so he was brought in to compete with Antonio Adán, who is right now the starting goalkeeper following the injury to Iker Casillas. Adán and Diego López will now compete for the starting spot.
Many things have been said about what is going on inside the locker room… what’s going on there Sara?
Just a few days before this injury to Iker Casillas, there was another big piece of news, a lunch between the captains and Florentino Pérez. Florentino Pérez likes to eat with Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, to speak about various issues, bonuses, the team. What happened? Well, a few journalists from Marca reported that Iker and Sergio backed the president into a corner, giving him an ultimatum saying he had to choose between them or the coach, José Mourinho, and that they gave Florentino a list of players who would refuse to stay with the team if Mourinho continued on as coach [actually, the article claimed that Iker and Sergio didn't give any names]. Right after this front page story was published, Florentino convened a emergency press conference, and I have to tell you, that’s not the usual course of action, and not something that Florentino regularly does. But in this moment he wanted to clear things up, to say that everything that was published in the newspaper was a lie, that during the lunch they only spoke about money, of the bonuses, and that in no moment did they blackmail him into doing anything. We saw that the president was very angry, as well as very nervous, making us believe that the atmosphere inside the locker room, as we have all seen, is not good. That’s why there was this blackmail attempt, but he said no, that had not happened, although it is widely known that the players are in complete disagreement with their coach right now. There is a division in the team, and we have to wait and see until the end of the season to see what will happen, whether Mourinho will leave, because he has many open battles to fight right now in Real Madrid.
[The last question was about Carlos Vela, Real Sociedad's Mexican striker.]
Will the FP/the club react to the latest declarations? Find out on the next episode of “Real Madrid: Soap Opera.”