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Tomás de Cos | 23/12/2012
The fallout from Real Madrid's 2-3 defeat to Málaga on Saturday was intensified by José Mourinho's decision to drop Iker Casillas in favour of substitute goalkeeper Antonio Adán.
The divorce between coach and captain has been coming for a while, with Mourinho appearing uneasy with the incredible sway the goalkeeper has in the Madrid dressing room and with the club's supporters.
The coach did not approve of Casillas making peace with Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández after the heated Clásicos at the end of season 2010-11 and the two legs of the Supercopa de España at the start of 2011-12, which culminated in Mourinho poking then Barça assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye.
He subsequently ignored the goalkeeper's bid for the Ballon d'Or, instead expressing his support exclusively for Cristiano Ronaldo. The coach is also weary of the protection that Iker and other players that won the World Cup with Spain receive in the press.
On the contrary, Casillas stood up to Mourinho when he criticised the players for their comments to the press. In January of this year, following the defeat to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, Mourinho said to Sergio Ramos during a training session that his players had "killed him" in their comments to the press following the game, and accused them of being "protected by your friends in the media".
Casillas responded by shouting at Mourinho: "Gaffer, here we say things to people's faces".
The captain has also come face-to-face with Mourinho on contentious issues for the squad, such as convening in a hotel the night before home matches.
But Casillas is far from the only person involved in Madrid to pay dearly for disagreeing with Mourinho's decisions and conduct. Since taking the hot seat at the Bernabéu in 2010, the Portuguese has taken on former general director Jorge Valdano, former sporting director Zinedine Zidane (the link between president Florentino Pérez and the squad), Real Madrid Castilla coach Alberto Toril, as well as Ramos, Mesut Özil and Pedro León.
Mourinho relegated vice-captain Ramos to the bench for the opening Champions League group game against Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabéu, replacing him with the comparatively inexperienced 19-year-old Raphael Varane for no apparent reason.
Ramos returned to the side against Rayo Vallecano and in the next home game, against Deportivo La Coruña, Mourinho substituted Özil early on and complained about his poor performance, which lead to Ramos wearing Özil's shirt under his own in the second half. The centre-back defended the move following the game, declaring to the media: "I die by my ideas, why should I keep quiet?"
Mourinho's tenure with 'Los Blancos' has been surrounded by controversy. In addition to the aforementioned internal squabbles, he has declared that UEFA referees favour Barcelona, encouraged his own players to get themselves sent off (in a Champions League group game against Ajax in 2010-11), assaulted Tito Vilanova and criticised the late Sporting Gijón coach Manuel Preciado.
These incidents have overshadowed his remarkable achievements in his two and a half years with the club, in which he has won the Copa del Rey, the league title and the Supercopa de España, and broken the record for the most number of points won and goals scored in a league season.