One would think that when Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will no longer be coaching in the same league, things will simmer down between the two managers who really don’t like each other. However, as the coaching summit this week proved, the animosity between the duo runs deep and can’t be separated by leagues, miles, borders and even a big chunk of water.
This week it began when the two argued over the length of grass that should be used. Guardiola insisted that all football pitches should have the same standard, applying a short-trimmed grass at all fields, which means having it easier to play faster football, focusing on passing the ball on the ground. Mourinho, who doesn’t stick to one tactic but obviously has his preferences when he needs to park the bus, was very much against it.
This week Jorge Valdano spoke about Mourinho and Guardiola and made one comment that stood out, pretty much saying Guardiola is the much better manager. He compared the duo to Mozart and Salieri, saying that Mourinho is the frustrated, less talented one, while Guardiola was compared to the genius composer.
So Mourinho couldn’t just let the summit without having his own dig at Guardiola. What did he focus on? The Spanish manager going bald over the years, suggesting that people who love their profession don’t lose their hair. The conclusion? Guardiola doesn’t love football.
Pictures of the two of them sitting side by side during the 1990’s at Barcelona are long forgotten. What we all remember now is Mourinho celebrating as Inter got past Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal with an impressive defensive display in the second leg.
We’ll also remember Mourinho’s face and reactions as Barcelona came away with that famous 5-0 win against their big rivals as Mourinho made his Clasico debut on the Real Madrid sidelines. The two are managers on two of the biggest clubs in Europe. Should they hold on to their jobs, there’s a very good chance we’ll see them clashing in the Champions League pretty soon. It’s going to be a while before this is truly over.