Real Madrid cancel press conference
Real Madrid have cancelled their scheduled Friday press conference in a bid to calm the storm of speculation surrounding the club.
The media briefing was going to serve as the pre-match press call ahead of Saturday's La Liga clash away to Espanyol.
But following another explosive press conference on Tuesday before the midweek game against Malaga, the club are desperate to ease tensions at the Santiago Bernabeu and have opted not to present any staff or players to journalists.
That controversial press briefing came on the back of yet more headline-making comments from coach Jose Mourinho following their win over Real Valladolid.
Club officials are concerned by the negative publicity and high tensions between staff and several high-profile players and are desperate to restore some sort of calm ahead of the season-defining Copa del Rey final against city rivals Atletico Madrid on May 17.
On Tuesday, Mourinho hit back at his own defender, Pepe, who had criticised the coach for his comments about Iker Casillas.
Mourinho had another dig at the goalkeeper, saying he preferred Diego Lopez's playing style.
He also responded to Andres Iniesta – who had backed the Spain shot-stopper, suggesting Barcelona would struggle to achieve meaningful success if they were without Lionel Messi.
Despite being permitted by La Liga rules, cancellations of press briefings are a rare move and Real have only done it twice before in Mourinho's three-year tenure.
The Spanish giants cancelled two successive media briefings during his first season, while he was engaged in a war of words with then-Sporting Gijon coach Manuel Preciado.
Mourinho had heavily criticised Sporting for fielding a weakened side against title rivals Barca and received an angry response, so the club attempted to cool the war of words.
The Portuguese is widely expected to leave the club at the end of the season, with former employers Chelsea his most likely destination.