The footage can be seen here on YouTube of the Portuguese manager giving instructions to Arbeloa on the touchline. Arbeloa then passes the instruction on to Modric and the pair then proceed to make two unnecessary fouls and, subsequently, get booked.
It is understood that the reasoning behind the instruction is that Mourinho didn’t want his players to be suspended for the away game at Deportivo on the 23rd February, as it would be preferable to have both players available.
Instead, by picking up bookings against Sevilla, both players will now miss Real’s home fixture with Rayo Vallecano, which is, with all due respect, as much less difficult fixture.
Mourinho was described as ‘cynical’ and a ‘cheat’ by The Daily Mail in June 2011 after he received a two-match touchline ban for issuing similar instructions to Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos to waste time against Ajax in the Champion’s League.
UEFA have reportedly tried to ‘crack-down’ on this kind of behavior by altering the rules so that players found to have deliberately gotten themselves booked will receive a two-match ban in the Champion’s League and or Europa League to prevent what UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino called ‘unfair conduct’.
However, as yet nothing has been reported by way of the UEFA who govern La Liga as to what Mourinho and Real Madrid’s penalty will be this time around. I’m undecided as to whether it’s actually cheating or simply just capitalizing on loopholes in the UEFA rulebook.
Nonetheless, Deportivo may feel there is a case to answer as it would have been them who benefitted had both Arbeloa and Modric been suspended for the clash. I doubt Rayo Vallecano will mind but, to me, it just demonstrates that Mourinho considers himself above the law.
In England, he nicknamed himself ‘the special one’ and, on this occasion, along with numerous others, he does seem to believe the rules don’t apply to him: he is an exception. The footage itself is not evidence that he definitely instructed his players to get themselves booked but that seems to have been the case.
image: © tpower1978