November 23, 2010
Up 4-0 over Ajax on Tuesday and with advancement to the knockout stage all sealed up, Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid got a little sneaky in their yellow card management.
First, Xabi Alonso earned his second yellow card and was sent off in the 87th minute after wasting time on a free kick in a way that looked like some kind of running seizure (video above). Then, in the 90th minute, Sergio Ramos earned his second yellow and got sent off when he took his sweet time on a goal kick (video below). That rules both players out for Real's final, utterly meaningless group stage match against Auxerre and gives them a clean slate for the knockout rounds.
Though they would never admit that they did this deliberately, you'd have to still believe in Peter Pan to believe that they didn't. To some people -- Champions League commentators included -- this is an outrage and to others it's just another example of Jose Mourinho's genius. After the match, Mourinho had this to say (via the AP):
“I don’t think it was necessary to get those red cards because we were in control,” Mourinho said. “But this is a fantastic result and that’s the only thing that matters.”
And then he probably winked.
UPDATE: Marca thinks Jose used backup goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek in a game of whisper down the lane to pull this off.
The look on Sergio Ramos' face in that bottom right picture leads me to believe something may have been added to the original message.
UPDATE II: Well, it seems these guys weren't sneaky enough. UEFA has now charged Mourinho, Ramos, Alonso, and even Casillas and Dudek with "unsporting conduct." Their cases will be heard on November 30.