Now, he’s gotten to him. I used to think Guardiola was above all this bickering in the media business. He usually doesn’t comment about referees or about other managers. Even about Jose Mourinho. Well, maybe just a little. But never so fierce. Never so blunt. Never so direct. Never with the F word (well, when it translates into English it’s the F word. I guess it’s the P word in Spanish) or whatever letter you want.

Don't expect any love between the two from now on

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It all started, of course, with Mourinho. The Special one had a few words regarding the ‘Barcelona manager’ during his press conference, among other things of course –

I’ve never seen managers who complain and criticize referees for making the right decisions. This is a one-man team, Guardiola’s. He will be followed by plenty of others in the future. During his first season he attack the referee after the Stamford Bridge game, he did something similar last season and he did so after the Cup Final on Wednesday, despite the referee making the right decisions. I don’t want to get into it, I just wish the referee tommorow the best of luck.”

So Mourinho took out two birds with one stone. He definitely has the edge for tomorrow. The home game, the win on Wednesday at the Mestalla. Real are looking ready to beat Barcelona at the Bernabeu as well, hopefully on their way to their first Champions League final since 2002, the first ‘Galacticos’. He also did his usual ‘prep the ground for the referee’ shtick.

Mourinho had more to say on Barcelona as a team, not just Guardiola – Every match against them is different, a whole new story. We’re a lot more balanced and relaxed after the win in the Copa del Rey. They (Barcelona) are a great team and don’t forget there’s also the Camp Nou match in the second leg… I am the same manager that lost to Barcelona 5-0, so obviously I don’t have any magic trick or formula to beat them. I work hard for plenty of hours to help my team win… They are our biggest rivals with the best manager (Another Pep drill). Pep said we’re the favorites? We’re not. There are no favorites before the first game, only after it.

Whoever reads posts on this site, especially mine, which have to do with Mourinho quite a lot, you know my thoughts on the matter. For those who don’t – Mourinho usually talks a lot of S&^% in my opinion. Trying to get into referees heads, managers minds. He bitches about referees, FA’s, anyone and anything. Sometimes he’s right, plenty of times he’s wrong, but everything has a purpose. Gaining some sort of edge while protecting his team, taking the poison darts instead. It took him nearly a season to get into full gear against Barcelona and Guardiola. He needed that win to move into fifth and be at his best – when he’s not complaining, just making innuendos, seemingly innocent, but with a deep and ‘touching’ meaning.

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Guardiola had a response for all of this –

In the media, Mourinho is the F!@#$%^ boss, the F@#$%^& master, and I have no desire of competing with him. He knows everything about the world and you can give a trophy for what he does off the pitch… I have decided to reply to his comment because he used my name for the first time. If Real Madrid win, I’ll congratulate him. I hope he does the same if we win. I try and learn from him on the pitch, not off of it.

A big problem for Barcelona is Iniesta’s injury – Iniesta is 100% not playing, but I’m pretty sure we’ll finish the match with 11 men, just like it’s very probable Real will finish with 10.

Its hard, so many Clasico matches in such a short time. It seems the pressure mounts and grows with every game. The stakes seem higher, both professional and individual pride. Real Madrid’s win on Wednesday changed something. It was also the first time they enjoyed a dominant half against Barcelona in like, forever. For some reason it surprised most. It probably also shook something at the Barca camp. Why should it? Real are a mega club, with a mega squad with mega stars. They were bound to get the win sooner or later.

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Barcelona are still the better team but they’re probably slight underdogs going into the first leg of the Semi Finals, especially at the Bernabeu. They haven’t lost there for three consecutive matches but Real Madrid are getting better every time. If the current trends for both clubs continue, this might be knock out win for Madrid in the first leg. It’s a small chance, but there’s something in the air. It is going to be a memorable one, that I’m sure of. Behind all the manager quarrels, there are guys like Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi, Ozil and others on the pitch. Not too shabby.