Madrid: Jose Mourinho did more harm than good to Spanish football during his controversial three-year tenure as coach of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Portuguese Mourinho quit Real three years before the end of his contract after a 2012-2013 campaign without major silverware and has returned to former club Chelsea.
His stint in the Spanish capital was overshadowed by a series of ugly incidents and he alienated a significant section of Real’s own fans when he benched club captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, a Spain team mate of Iniesta’s.
“You just have to look at the facts,” Iniesta said in an interview published in Sunday’s edition of El Pais newspaper when asked if Mourinho had harmed Spanish football.
“Yes he damaged Spanish football, in general more harm than good,” added the 29-year-old.
“But I don’t like talking about that person at all. So if you don’t mind we’ll leave it at that.”
Mourinho, 50, was an assistant coach at Barca in the late 1990s and has also managed Porto and Inter Milan.
Meanwhile, Iniesta’s Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez has criticised the style of football that Jose Mourinho’s sides play after the Portuguese’s three-year reign in charge of Real Madrid came to an end last week.
The Spanish international has been a fierce critic of sides who set-up negatively to combat Barca’s frequent domination of possession and says Mourinho hasn’t left a positive lasting legacy in Madrid.
“I don’t want people to say that I always attack Mourinho because that is not my intention, but it is evident that I don’t like the football he plans on the pitch,” he told Barcelona sports daily Sport.
“It can’t be that a rich and powerful club plays a final of the Champions League like Chelsea did or like Manchester City have played this season or, why not say it, the way Mourinho’s Real Madrid played.
“I was captivated by the Real Madrid of the galacticos. I was crazy about watching them play like this because they had an idea and a concept... but Mourinho’s Real Madrid didn’t have any of this, they have not left a legacy for the future.”
The Spanish international also reflected on Barca’s hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League and believes the wear and tear that the Catalans and Madrid suffer from facing each other numerous times a season has been the significant factor in both going out at the semi-final stage in each of the last two seasons.
“It is evident that they have arrived much better, but there are many reasons to explain why neither Madrid nor ourselves got to the final.
“The Barca-Madrid war during the season wears out both a lot. In Germany it is not the same, they don’t have duels of this intensity, this historic rivalry.
“We have both fallen two consecutive years in the semi-finals and that is not normal. This year the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey wore us down. They were very hard. If we continue like this it is inevitable we will arrive worse than them in April or May.”
And the 33-year-old believes one way of ensuring Spanish sides arrive at the end of the season in better shape is to reduce Copa del Rey ties from two-legged matches until the final to just one off games.
“Matches in the Copa del Rey should be one game. If the Federation want to see Spanish teams in the Champions League final more often they have to do their bit.
“It would help to wear out people less as we would save between four and five games and moreover it would be more beneficial for the spectacle if the big team always played away from home.”