Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa has revealed how the club’s training ground was plastered with pictures of Barcelona defender Gerrard Pique as a way of motivation during the days of the intense rivalry when Jose Mourinho was boss.
Los Blancos and El Azulgrana had some tempestuous matches in the period when Mourinho was in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu, with accusations of cheating, unfair officials and play acting commonplace.
In his first Clasico match as manager of Real in 2010, Mourinho’s side were humiliated 5-0 at the Nou Camp. At the end of the game, Pique celebrated by waving five fingers to the crowd.
Los Blancos would get their revenge later in the 2010/11 campaign though, and secured the Copa de Rey through a Cristiano Ronaldo header. In the build up to that match, Valdebebas was plastered with images of Pique – something that motivated the players to get their revenge.
Speaking to Jot Down, Arbeloa said: “Someone plastered their comments about how much better they were and their style and photos of Piqué’s hand gesture all over Valdebebas. Don’t ask me who it was because I have no idea.”
The defender also went into detail about what it was like working with Mourinho, and revealed the now Chelsea boss doesn’t care for anyone’s reputation in the dressing room.
“We found out all about Mou one day in pre-season. I was among the Spanish players who had just won the World Cup and joined up with the squad in Los Angeles. We were 2-0 down at the break against LA Galaxy and he just let rip! We quickly found out what he was made of,” he stated.
And he continued: “You couldn’t imagine [former boss Manuel] Pellegrini shouting at Cristiano like that. ‘You don’t want to run? No problem: I’ll put you on the bench. You neither? No problem: you’re out’, he said, sparing no one.”