Bernd Schuster lost his Real Madrid managerial position just days after suggesting his side had no chance of winning their upcoming trip to Barcelona. Weirdly, replacement Juande Ramos — Real’s 879th manager in the last decade — considers Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at the Nou Camp to be a moral victory of sorts writes the Guardian’s Sid Lowe.
“Tonight,” Ramos said, “our players were perfect.” “That’s the way!” ran the text circulated by a Madrid supporters’ club. “We’re proud of our team.”
You would think Madrid had beaten Barcelona and were definitely back in the title race. You would think they were the best team in the country. You would think Ramos had proven Bernd Schuster wrong. You would not think that Madrid had lost el clÃ¡sico 2-0, that they had lost their third successive league game, their fourth in five, or that they sat 12 points adrift ” a gap no side has ever overturned to win the competition. You would not think BarÃ§a’s fans had ended their night chanting: “¡Madrid, cabrÃ³n, saluda al campeÃ³n!” (Madrid, you bastards, bow down before the champions!) And you certainly wouldn’t think that Madrid were sixth.
But that is exactly what happened and exactly where they are. The best team in the country? Madrid aren’t even the best team in the city after AtlÃ©tico overtook them last night. And far from proving Schuster wrong, Ramos had proven Schuster dead right.
Surely for the first time, Madrid are celebrating a defeat. A dignified defeat, maybe, but a defeat. Last weekend, Schuster declared it “impossible” to win at the Camp Nou and insisted that “all you can ask for is a decent display”; this weekend his replacement backed him up. After Saturday’s clÃ¡sico, RaÃºl said: “Considering the situation, we’re satisfied.” He had said it all. Considering the situation. Considering the crippling injuries, the suspensions and the disastrous squad, considering the institutional crisis in Madrid and Barcelona’s brilliance, a decent display is as good as we can hope for. Exactly as Schuster insisted. The difference was that Schuster only said it; Ramos did it. Yet Schuster got sacked and Ramos has been hailed a hero.