Once upon a time, Jose Mourinho worked for Barcelona instead of hating the club. He was the assistant to Louis van Gaal, the manager of the club during the late 1990′ (and then again a few years later). The two also had a player, Pep Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola was born and raised in Catalonia. He started playing for the Barcelona youth team when he was 12, and became a part of the senior team in 1990, at the age of 19. He played there until 2001, winning six league titles with the club and one European Cup, later named the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho seems like the number one enemy of Barcelona right now after his clashes against them with Chelsea (Rijkaard feed), Inter and later Real Madrid, but he actually worked at the club from 1996 until 2000. First under Bobby Robson and later under Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal had a lot of faith in Mourinho and allowed his input to become more and more valuable as time went by, and even allowed Mourinho to serve as the head coach in a few meaningless matches, like the Copa Catalunya, which Mourinho actually one as the “manager” in 2000.
Van Gaal gave Mourinho a lot during his starting days before foraying into being the main man on the sidelines himself. Their current teams haven’t clashed this season so the rivalry isn’t really heavily played by the media. But Manchester United and Chelsea will meet, at least twice, and Mourinho rarely recognizes a threat without trying to belittle him through the media.
There are more connections. Guardiola took over Bayern Munich, a team Van Gaal was the manager of not too long ago, leading them to the Champions League final. Mourinho and Guardiola keep trading insults and verbal jabs whenever the two are in proximity. There’s not a lot of love there.
But once things were a bit more ideal between the three. Maybe they were never the best of friends, but things were a bit more cordial and friendly. It’s funny where life takes you from a certain point, and how things change for three people who were on the same side, once upon a time.
Oh, and somewhere on this pitch Luis Enrique, the current Barcelona manager, was playing.