It’s become a cliche in European soccer for an embattled manager to blame the press when things are going wrong and his job future looks uncertain. Most of the time, that isn’t the case. Most of the time, the coach’s future is being questioned because their team is underperforming according to either fan or executive expectations.
But sometimes, the press is really out to get a manager. Exhibit #1, Real Madrid’s Manuel Pellegrini, who I have begun to feel sorry for after his Madrid side fell out of Europe on Wednesday against Lyon. Take a look at these covers from the two Madrid-based sports dailys.
First AS, who “soft-pedals” the blame by strategically placing Pellegrini’s quote saying, “In these situations the coach is primarily responsible,” underneath the main headline of “catastrophe.”
Next, it’s Marca, who just roasts the poor man under the banner of, “Goodbye champions, goodbye Pellegrini. Out.”
Finally, Barcelona-based El Mundo Deportivo goes a slightly different direction, taunting Madrid by referring to the fact that Barca could still play in the Champions League final which takes place at Madrid’s home venue of the Bernabeu. They also elect to focus not on the manager, but their own local hate figure, Cristiano Ronaldo, who based on a Sydney/Ovie-style “best player on the world debate,” doesn’t in their minds rank above Barca’s Messi. Notice how Ronado is on the cover and then also featured in two-thirds of the covers in the website’s rundown of press reaction to Madrid’s loss.