x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Aitor Karanka is just Mourinho's yes man at Real Madrid

Who knows when Jose Mourinho will start talking to the press again, but let's hope it is soon because his No 2 Aitor Karanka is like a pre-programmed robot compared to the Portuguese.

Real Madrid's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho has stopped talking to the press, unhappy at criticism of his techniques.
Real Madrid's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho has stopped talking to the press, unhappy at criticism of his techniques.

Jose Mourinho has refused to speak to the Spanish media since his Real Madrid side were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona.

No reason has been given, but it is widely understood that he is angry at the treatment of this club by the press.

He is an astute media manipulator and has instead been briefing the British media about a possible return to England. Real's media duties have been handed to his assistant Aitor Karanka, who is happy to pass on his master's opinions as his own. Nobody is fooled.

The Basque was a surprise choice to assist Mourinho when he took control at the Bernabeu in 2010 as his previous role was managing Spain's Under 15s.

A former Real and Athletic Bilbao player, Mourinho appointed Karanka because he wanted a youthful ally in the notoriously difficult-to -control dressing room. Karanka was - and is - respected by Real's players and was a teammate of the club captain, Iker Casillas.

While Mourinho's press conferences are fascinating - tetchy, tense and amusing, often all at the same time - Karanka is like a pre-programmed robot.

When he talks about Barca complaining about referees the instruction has come from one person, when he appears to be devoid of personality that's because he has been told not to say anything.

Nobody knows when Mourinho will speak again, but it can't come soon enough as he is such good value - unlike his stand in.

sports@thenational.ae