HomeSoccerManagerial Rivalries: Jose Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola

Managerial Rivalries: Jose Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola

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It is a rivalry which dates back all the way to the late 1990s of La Liga. Sir Bobby Robson was in charge of Barcelona and the present Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola was the skipper of the Catalan giants.

Robson was looking for a translator to avoid any issues either during press meets or while strategising with his team. And Jose Mourinho became his point of interest after the enormous potential was identified in the Portuguese.

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Back then, neither the legendary English manager nor the “Special One” knew about the future. Destiny had planned big things as a surprise package and one of the most intensive rivalries started from a friendship. 

The First Meeting And Close Friendship

The rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola started from a friendship.
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola during their time together at Barcelona. (Image Credits: RT News)

It was during this period that Jose Mourinho developed a great interest in football management. Becoming the favourite of Sir Bobby Robson, Mourinho got his first opportunity as an assistant manager at the Catalan club. It was in Spain where Mourinho and Pep Guardiola met each other.

Mourinho started to learn the trade as a professional manager at the Camp Nou and developed a close relationship with Guardiola. Soon, both of them became very good friends. At the Catalan club, both enjoyed success and won a few important trophies together.

Mourinho’s Desire To Make A Name For Himself

Jose Mourinho is currently in charge of Tottenham Hotspur.
Jose Mourinho always craved for the limelight. (Image Credits: Daily Mirror)

After his stint at Barcelona, Jose Mourinho felt the need to create his own legacy. In order to understand what he has learnt, the Portuguese travelled back to his native land to try his luck.

Mourinho started establishing his authority on the pitch as a manager and indeed became one of the best after winning the Champions League with FC Porto.

Further, he challenged Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the Premier League and transformed his Chelsea side into a great club after winning the Premier League title twice. Astonishingly, the abovementioned achievements were obtained by Jose Mourinho even before Pep Guardiola started his managerial career.

Mourinho was desperate to be noticed by Barcelona and to get the desired managerial seat at the Camp Nou where he started his trade. However, his interest was put off by the Barcelona board when they brought inexperienced Pep Guardiola to the hot seat instead of the Portuguese tactician.

The board convinced the fans and the footballing world by stating that Jose Mourinho and the Catalan club didn’t share a common ideology. They also mentioned that Guardiola is born and bred in the same city and is “one of their own”. This made Mourinho determined not to take the managerial seat anytime at the Camp Nou.

Rejection Makes A Person Stronger And Jose Mourinho Was Not Different

Does it matter that Pep Guardiola is loved more than Jose Mourinho?
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have crossed paths several times and their rivalry is still on. (Image Credits: Sky Sports)

After being rejected by Barcelona, Jose Mourinho vowed to take revenge and defeat the Guardiola-managed side. The perfect opportunity was waiting in the offing for the “Special One” when he was managing Serie A giants Inter Milan.

During the 2009-10 campaign, Barcelona faced Mourinho’s Inter Milan in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The Portuguese managed to knock the Pep Guardiola’s side out of the continental competition before winning the trophy for the second time in his managerial career.

In the summer of 2010, Jose Mourinho took charge of Barcelona’s arch-rivals, Real Madrid. Before returning to Spain, Mourinho had won the treble at Inter and an all-out war was set to start between the Portuguese and Pep Guardiola.

The Real Madrid-Barcelona rivalry reached new heights when Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were in charge of their respective clubs.

Although Mourinho was at the receiving end of some bitter losses against the Catalan outfit, he did manage to break Barcelona’s dominance in Spain by helping Real Madrid to the league title in the 2011-12 season.

The Rivalry Shifts To England

Jose Mourinho Schools Guardiola, Proving He's Got Some Old Magic Left
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are considered one of the best teams in Premier League history. (Image Credits: CCN)

After winning everything with Barcelona, Pep Guardiola took charge of German giants Bayern Munich before coming to one of the best and toughest leagues in the world, the Premier League.

Manchester City considerably improved under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage and turned into one of the best teams in Premier League history. However, Guardiola was once again challenged by Jose Mourinho when the latter took charge of Manchester City’s cross-town rivals, Manchester United.

Although Mourinho couldn’t deliver the Premier League title, he gave the Citizens a run for their money whenever the two teams faced each other.

However, things turned ugly for Mourinho as he lost the dressing room at Old Trafford. A series of poor results led to his sacking and he was forced to take a break. thought the rivalry has come to an end.

But the Portuguese was then roped in by fellow Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur. So, it seems the rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola isn’t over yet.

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