THE parallels between the chaos engulfing Chelsea and the circus that surrounded Jose Mourinho’s final season at Real Madrid are clear.
With the defending Premier League champions slumping to another loss, their sixth of the league season so far, reports of a senior player leading a revolt against The Special One have emerged.
And it’s not the first time this has happened, with Mourinho famously falling out with senior players during his stint with the Spanish giants.
Amid public criticism of his stars and media conspiracy regularly trotted out, Mourinho’s antics drew the ire of Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo.
So much so, it has emerged Ronaldo almost came to blows with Mourinho during a dressing room confrontation.
In a new biography on Ronaldo, currently being serialised in the Daily Telegraph, author Guillem Balague outlined how teammates were forced to hold back CR7 from taking out his anger on his similarly furious manager.
“Mourinho, whose blood was no longer boiling by the time he reached the dressing room, reminded Cristiano of the reason for the instruction on the pitch: ‘If they get a goal against us…’
“The player, unable to contain his fury, got up from the bench where he was changing and began shouting, ‘After everything I’ve done for you, this is how you treat me! How dare you say that to me?!’
“The dressing room turned deadly silent. Mourinho tried to remain calm. ‘I was saying it for the team, because the team needed you to track back.’
“As he could see Cristiano had no intention of calming down, he gradually retreated. Soon after, he approached the forward again to resume the conversation with less tension. But Ronaldo fired back angrily. Mourinho was unable to contain himself any longer.
“’Just so you know,’ he shouted for everybody to hear, ‘many think like me here, but don’t dare say it, they don’t have the balls to tell you.’
“Many of the players who witnessed the scene had demanded that Mourinho, either directly or through the coaching staff, ask Ronaldo to defend more. The situation escalated to the point where Cristiano had to be held back (some sources say by Casillas, others say by Arbeloa and Khedira, or even Sergio Ramos) to prevent the pair from coming to blows.
“Ronaldo took what should have been understood as a tactical comment as a personal attack. The relationship between Mourinho and Ronaldo would never be the same again.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ON MOURINHO’S STRUGGLES
Jamie Carragher: “He has to change some things and these interviews have got to stop, because they’re embarrassing him and they’re embarrassing the club. Maybe he’s trying to create a siege mentality but I don’t think the players would be totally agreeing with the manager, blaming referees. Chelsea were very poor at the weekend.
“This paranoia has got to stop, that the world is against them because they’re not.”
Gary Neville: “This is now the killer moment for me, the crossroads moment for Chelsea. If I’m Roman Abramovich now, is he walking in thinking I’ve got to get rid of Jose Mourinho because he might not finish fourth and he has given some bad interviews after games?
“Or is he thinking, actually, relax. Let’s go and bring three or four academy players in, let’s sacrifice a season, let’s change the club philosophy, let’s stand behind the manager. That’s what I’m waiting for now so we can see whether Abramovich is the same owner he always has been, which is someone who sacks managers after eight months, and whether Jose Mourinho can hang around longer than two or three years.”
Tony Cascarino: “Jose is facing the biggest week of his career. Is there a fix for Chelsea? He is facing a week where he has to get results against Kiev and then against Stoke away. If he loses both games, he will not be manager of Chelsea next Monday.
“Even with a draw and a loss, I still think he could lose his job. It is coming to the stage where he has been given backing and Roman Abramovich has never done what he is doing at the moment — he is supporting a manager after a really difficult time and this has been a time like no other. Mourinho has earned the right, and rightly so, because of what he has achieved in the game. He has been an incredible manager, but in some ways I think he is ready for a break from the game.”
Frank Lampard: “Well, it is nonsense if (a revolt is) happening — and I don’t believe it is. I don’t think players at the top level can down tools. Your first responsibility as a player is to yourself — if you are downing tools, the only one who looks stupid is yourself.
“This is not a great moment, this is not a time to flick the ball around the corner and have great games. This is a time for players to knuckle down and win games, maybe the hard way. These rumours around big players … the problem is when you are having a hard time, these stories become bigger. I don’t think those words would have been spoken, but it’s not great that they’re coming out.”
© 2015 Fox Sports | This article originally appeared on Fox Sports on 3 November 2015.