There are two lines of questioning that are rolled out before Jose Mourinho at every press conference and interview: which club will you be managing next season, and what game are you playing with Iker Casillas?
The Portuguese's answers to the former are ever more cryptic; his responses to the latter are ever more juvenile.
Last evening, Mourinho decided to respond to both questions at the same time, in one rambling answer that resembled a stream of consciousness.
"I want to come back to Inter, but I will not coach them next year. They won’t be my team next year," he told Sky Italia. "Casillas? If Diego Lopez keeps on playing like this, he will be the regular instead of Casillas. The team always come first."
Lopez spent most of the quarter-final first leg against Galatasaray pacing the edge of his penalty area and flapping unconvincingly at occasional balls into the box - it was hardly a performance that merited particular post-match praise. This was more about Mourinho extolling Lopez's virtues in terms of the selfless team ethic he so clearly believes his more illustrious team-mate lacks.
Casillas is the only player currently at the Bernabeu who has won the Champions League previously with Real Madrid, but if anything that is a deterrent for Mourinho, who is attempting to inspire his players to achieve something he continues to bill as 'against the odds' and 'in the face of recent history'. Indeed, throughout his career he has always targeted and prioritised 'hungry' players without bulging trophy cabinets.
He has even preferred to include Jesus Fernandez and Antonio Adan in his squad ahead of him - much to the ire of the Spanish media and many supporters. But we would be fooling ourselves to think that he even remotely cares about what anyone else thinks, and he is entirely right to not let anything else bother him besides picking the players he deems most focused and determined to achieve success this season.
The former Chelsea manager became the first boss to drop Casillas in over a decade when he left the player out of Real Madrid’s team to play Malaga last year, but what has been more striking of late has been the way that he has been at pains to point out that the keeper is fit and ready to go. As if to say, 'yes, I can pick him - I just don't want to'.
In the build-up to his side's clash with Galatasaray, Mourinho pulled a note out of his pocket in contrived Benitez-esque fashion and proceeded to project his voice in reading out a series of statements made by the journalist who had the audacity to ask the question and had accused him of not being particularly impartial.
"There should be no law that says any particular player should play," Mourinho read out. "No one should play for what they have won in the past." This did not sound like a coach in any great rush to positively nurture a previously injured player back to match fitness with the intention of introducing them back into the side.
How long will the Spanish number one have to wait? At this stage it has gone way beyond simply picking the best available goalkeeper, and Mourinho is off at the end of the season. Who can blame him for only having the short term in mind? He is not exactly renowned for his long-term development projects at clubs. His only focus should be on galvanising his squad to produce the best possible results in the few big matches still to come.
When the keeper broke his hand two months ago he pushed for the signing of Sevilla's Lopez. It was the perfect opportunity to make his point, and he fully intends to stick with his new man until the bitter end of a very mixed campaign that he hopes - and no doubt fully expects - will culminate in a glorious triumph at Wembley Stadium on May 25.
It is, of course, patently clear to anyone that the Casillas issue will remain the elephant in the room for the remainder of the campaign, and Mourinho will no doubt take great delight in praising Lopez at every opportunity as he retains his place in the side. This Champions League run is all about the manager - in the manager's eyes - and not the return of the harshly neglected club captain.
As barbed remarks go, Mourinho's curt answer to the 377th Casillas question earlier in the week was a pretty prickly one: "Individuals are not important". Indeed, the only important individual to Mourinho is himself, and he uses his stubbornness as an additional motivation for proving people wrong.
Mourinho's assistant Aitor Karanka said last week Casillas lacked the "competitive edge" necessary to return to the team, further suggesting that either the keeper is not mentally ready to play - which is unlikely - or that his continued omission will be justified by any means possible. If he was to be considered for a comeback, the 1-1 draw at Real Zaragoza in La Liga on the weekend would have been an ideal opportunity, but despite having been passed fit, he was not.
Spanish newspaper Marca reported in January that Casillas - and Sergio Ramos, incidentally - informed club officials that they would be handing in transfer requests should Mourinho remain in charge at the beginning of next season. Well, he won't be in charge next season, and he will continue to enjoy the tumultuous relationship he has with an ego that has clashed with his own so publicly.
This season is increasingly looking to be a write off for Spain's number one, as Mourinho eyes the glorious sign off.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "In the last few hours, on social networks, unacceptable remarks have been made by Marseille player Joey Barton against Paris St Germain player Thiago Silva. These attacks are serious and go beyond mere verbal jousting. The directors of the club, the players and the coaching staff are supportive of Thiago Silva and cannot accept such statements. They reaffirm their unwavering commitment to the values of respect that should govern our sport. Thiago Silva and Paris St Germain reserve the right to take any action they deem necessary." - PSG criticise and threaten legal action against Joey Barton after the Marseille midfielder used Twitter to liken Thiago Silva to an "overweight ladyboy", as you do. It was never going to get him into any trouble, was it...
FOREIGN VIEW: A Brazilian player has been banned for six games for entering the pitch without permission and stopping a certain goal by heading the ball off the line - one of the most heroic, and well... stupid, acts. Bangu defender Celsinho had been receiving treatment for cramp behind the goal when he leapt up and intervened after goalkeeper Getulio Vargas dribbled the ball out and was left looking remarkably silly as he lost the ball. Celsinho, for saving his goalkeeper's blushes with an extraordinary diving header, was found guilty of 'unethical behaviour'.
COMING UP: Three Premier League clubs are in Europa League quarter-final action as Chelsea take on Rubin Kazan, Newcastle host Benfica and Tottenham face FC Basel. Oh, and Lazio are up against Fenerbahce. Big Jan Molby will also file for us in the afternoon.