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Should be no place for Di Stefano in Real Madrid of Mourinho

COMMENT: Alfredo di Stefano owes Jose Mourinho a public apology - at the very least. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez must seriously consider withdrawing Di Stefano's honorary presidency after his disgraceful comments last week.

His reaction to Real's 1-1 Liga draw with Barcelona was to attack Mourinho's tactics.

"We saw clearly that their approach was not the right one. Barcelona were a lion, Madrid a mouse," Di Stefano declared, ignoring the fact that Real were playing with a man less and against a team that has been dubbed by many as the greatest of all time.

Of course, since then Mourinho has delivered the Copa del Rey to Real - their first trophy in three years - and also seen his team knock six past Valencia at the Mestalla. All this achieved despite the undermining from Di Stefano.

What must be the most galling for Mourinho is Di Stefano's betrayal - and to their greatest rivals - at such a crucial stage in the season.

From afar, you can see what Mourinho is trying to achieve. A group of new players, so many of them relatively inexperienced, are always going to be at a disadvantage compared to a Barca squad dominated by home-produced talent.

Mourinho has attempted to accelerate their own bonding by introducing the 'us against the world' factor to the dressing room. He waged war against Liga officials, against the fixtures, against Barca and even against his own Madrid press. Its all being done to bring players from all corners of the globe together in a Real dressing room forever blighted by cliques. And it's working - which makes Di Stefano's attack all the more unacceptable.

You would never see Sir Bobby Charlton do such a thing at Manchester United, even when Sir Alex Ferguson was struggling to get his team to perform in his early years at Old Trafford. The football in the late 1980's was disjointed at best, but the club was always united behind the main man - the manager.

The equivalent of Di Stefano's actions would have been Charlton taking aim at Ferguson while Liverpool were top of the tree. It just wouldn't happen - the thought of surrendering any advantage to their greatest rivals would not even have entered Charlton's thoughts.

Mourinho has handled Di Stefano's attack with class. But below the surface he has to be simmering. How can he go about his work, trying to end the dominance of Barca, with the constant fear of being undermined so publicly by one of his own?

Perez needs to either pull Di Stefano into line or cut him loose. No matter how great a player he once was, Di Stefano's loose talk cannot be tolerated if Real are serious about supporting their coach in his bid to end the domination of one the game's greatest ever teams.

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Real Madrid.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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