Futre: Mourinho showed champion class in defence of Simeone

Atletico Madrid legend Paulo Futre has spoken of his friendship with Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, and commended the former Chelsea boss for his sportsmanship after the match between the two Spanish capital clubs.

Los Blancos triumphed 2-0 in the Madrid derby, and the Portuguese jumped to defend counterpart Diego Simeone, who was the subject of harsh words from fans.

Futre believes Mourinho’s actions were noble and spoke of his pride of being friends with the former Inter coach.

“Everyone knows I was desperate to see Atleti beat Real on Saturday, but it wasn’t to be,” Futre is quoted as saying by Marca.

“A few days after the game, no longer seething about the defeat and joking apart, I feel even more proud to be Mourinho’s friend.

“Particularly after the gesture he made for our brilliant [Diego] ‘Cholo’ Simeone. Only great champions like Mourinho could do that, silencing the public in defence of a colleague from a rival team.

“No one in Spanish football has ever made such a gesture or had the courage to call for thousands of people to stop because they are showing a lack of respect to the manager of the opposing team.”

Real Valladolid – Real Madrid Betting Preview: Why the champions should score in both halves

If a cold Tuesday night in Stoke is the barometer of whether teams can cut it in the Premier League, then its equivalent in the Spanish top flight is surely an evening game at Valladolid in December.

Officially the coldest stadium in La Liga, temperatures at the Estadio Zorilla will hover around zero degrees when the match kicks off, making conditions far from ideal for the champions.

Yet the comparison with Stoke ends at the geographic similarities because while the Potters are famed for their bruising physicality, Valladolid have been gaining plaudits this season for their attractive football.

Marathonbet price a home on Saturday night at 11/1 (12.00) while Madrid can be backed at 27/100 (1.27) with the draw offered at 27/5 (6.40).

Madrid’s away form this season in La Liga has been comparatively poor by their high standards with the side already suffering three defeats on the road, two more than they endured in the entire of the previous campaign.

Los Blancos have also struggled in recent years when playing in Valladolid, emerging victorious in only two of the last eight matches they have played in the city.

And yet Jose Mourinho’s men should be too strong for a Valladolid side who despite playing attractive football at time, have only kept three clean sheets in their last 14 competitive matches.

Backing Madrid to score in both halves looks initially like a decent option at 71/100 (1.71) and becomes and even better bet when one considers that it has paid out on 15 occasions for Madrid already this season.

This bet has also paid out in each of the previous three meetings between the two sides and despite Madrid’s wobble away to Betis last weekend, Saturday should prove more straight forward.

For a value bet back over 4.5 goals to be scored at 57/20 (3.85), with this proving to be the correct selection in three of the last five meetings between the two sides as well as paying out in eight of Madrid’s competitive games this season.

Sign up with Marathonbet for a 10% boost on all winning accumulators and back Phil’s selections for this match

Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.

Mourinho: I have the soul of a navigator

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has explained that his tendency to frequently switch teams derives from having the “soul of a Portuguese navigator”.

Since making his first steps into coaching with Benfica in 2000, the 49-year-old has gone onto represent a further five outfits, including trophy-laden spells with Porto, Chelsea and Inter.

His high turnover of clubs has led to accusations from some sections of the media that he is disloyal, but Mourinho insists his mobility is driven by a natural passion to try new things.

“I have the soul of a Portuguese navigator, I love to experience new things in different places,” he told Cabo Verde.

“I do not know if I’ll have another adventure in the future, I have to be motivated to 100 per cent and the project must offer me a new challenge.”

Mourinho’s future in the Spanish capital has come under the spotlight recently despite winning the Liga title last season, with Paris Saint-Germain touted as a possible destination, but he once more reiterated his happiness with the Blancos.

“The players speak highly of you when they play. I have established a good relationship [with the players] and I’m honest with everyone,” he added.

“I have to build a good group and be honest with those who do not play.”

Madrid remain 11 points behind pace-setters Barcelona in the standings and face Valladolid on Saturday.

Messi better than Ronaldo but Neymar will best them both, says Ronaldinho

Atletico Mineiro forward Ronaldinho is of the opinion that while Barcelona star Lionel Messi is better than Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo, neither of them will be able to match Neymar once he realises his full potential.

The 32-year-old Brazilian, who made a move from Flamengo to his current team at the start of the Brasileiro campaign, is of the opinion that the Argentina international is the best footballer in the world now, but believes that this will not last long.

“Cristiano has been making history for many years now, but Messi is the best in the world, and one day Neymar will be the best,” Ronaldinho told ESPN.

“For me Messi is the best in the world. For the last few years he has played at a level of football we have never seen before.

“I’m very proud to speak of him, because I was there when he started off and now he is the best in the world, it makes me so happy.

“The game I remember the most is when he scored his first goal, because it came from my pass and I remember this game most vividly because he was just getting started.

“I had the chance to be there and live that moment. I’m very happy that his first professional goal came from a pass from me.

“Messi knows that there will always be a place in my heart for him,” he concluded.

Only Mourinho knows if he will leave, says Real Madrid's Karanka

Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has stated that Jose Mourinho is the only person who knows whether the Portuguese will leave the Spanish capital side or not.

After some mixed results during the 2012-13 campaign so far, the former Chelsea trainer had been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu to join Paris-Saint Germain, and the retired defender made it clear that no one at the club is paying attention to the speculation.

“The only person who knows what will happen is the coach and we are fed up of saying it, we don’t give any consideration to the rumours,” the 39-year-old told reporters at a press conference.

“I have spent two and a half years with Mourinho and if we paid attention to all of these rumours it would be a disservice to him.

“He shows his strength on the pitch and in the office, which is the way it should be,” he added.

The former centre-back remained tight-lipped over any possible transfers during the upcoming winter transfer window, but refused to rule out any moves.

“We have a fine squad but I can’t say 100 per cent that there’ll be no movements. We have the squad we wanted at the beginning of the season and the squad we want for the end of the season.

“But you can never say anything with 100 per cent conviction because it’s not entirely within our hands.”

Real Madrid currently sit third in the league and are preparing for their trip to Valladolid on Saturday.