Rivalries have always been part and parcel of football.
Without it the game wouldna��t be the same at all, not one bit. They are moments where men in their prime face off, go head to head and in the process create occasions and moments that a would be remembered for generations. For a football fan, this stuff is gold dust!! Ac Milan vs. Inter Milan, Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Arsenal vs. Tottenham, Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United vs. Manchester City; all matches that people kill to watch, why? Because the atmosphere is without a doubt gonna be absolutely insane, fans go nuts during times like this.
Come this weekend, a new chapter shall be added to the Jose Mourinho vs. Pep Guardiola section in footballa��s history book. Two successful managers, going head to head for the umpteen time, but this time the Premier league bears witness to this epic gladiator match. The stage is set for a showdown, one that could change the entireA�season.
So who do we have?? In the right corner weighing one hundred and sixty pounds, standing at 5 foot 9 inches in the red is JOOOOSE MOURINHO! The former Inter manager and self-proclaimed a�?Special Onea�?, has had his termination from Chelsea cushioned by United appointing him their new manager. Unfazed, he signed the great Zlatan as a free transfer to lead his line and then followed that up with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly, before ending with a bang. A 100 million dollar a�?banga�? for Paul Pogba from Juventus and plugged theA�holes that were left by Louis Van Gaal during his tenure atA�Manchester United.
Standing opposite him, in the blue weighing one hundred and seventy pounds, standing at 5 feet 11 inches is PEP GUAAARDIOLA!! Linked to several clubs in the summer, including Arsenal, the former Bayern Munich manager was finally grabbed by Manchester City. Pep then wasted no time, immediately implemented his way onA�the City team.He madeA�sure that everything from their diets to their party schedules were all made to his specifications. Not happy with the current squad, Guardiola showed no mercy and proceeded to axe out the players he didna��t think were up to his standards. He even loaned Joe Hart, all because the man couldna��t pass a ball properly.
Rivalries always start from something small and this one had its roots sowed back when they were still allies. The year was 1997, and Sir Bobby Robsona��s Barcelona had beaten PSG in the European Cup Winners Cup final. But thata��s not the focus point, as on the field two men share a hug, both Barcelona men. One is Mourinho, the great English managera��s translator and confidante and the other is the star of Robsona��s midfield, a young Pep Guardiola. They were once close friends.
But all that changed, in 2000 as he was leaving Barcelona, Mourinho said a�?Today and forever, Barca is in my heart.a�� A mere 8 years later and hea��s back, applying for the job and with promises that he would promote a young Guardiola from the head of the B team to his assistant coach. But fate had other ideas, and Johan Cruff recommended Pep instead of Jose and the rivalry was born. Since then they have always been in each othera��s crosshairs, from the Inter vs. Barcelona clash to the EL Classico clashes which became cemented as one of the most seismic times in Spanish football. They have had some remarkable and memorable encounters over the years.
The very first one: Guardiolaa��s Barcelona vs. Mourinho Inter Milan
This was the first time the two former allies faced each other on a football pitch and they produced some brilliant matches. After being put in the same group for the Champions league, they battled it out on four occasions, with two in the group stages and then in the semi-finals.
The group stage encounters were nothing compared to the semia��s with all the excitement and action that it produced. Mournihoa��s Inter, outplayed Barcelona at every turn in the first match winning 3-1 at San Siro. Then at Camp Nou, Barcelona scored first and then watched as Inter put up a defensive masterclass for the Catalans.
The El Classico battles: Guardiolaa��s Barcelona vs. Mournihoa��s Real Madrid
Mourinho left Inter after guiding them to a treble winning season and picked up the reigns of a club he once played against, Real Madrid. Waiting for them however was Pepa��s Barcelona who wanted to crush his rival once again. The great Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi described having the two men in Spain as having ‘two Picassos in the same perioda�� but without the beautiful pictures but instead memorable and brutal football.
Fate wanted them to fight it out and wishes were granted. Within the space of 18 odd days, the two faced each other 4 times, in the Champions league, league cup and the la Liga. But all this was after Guardiolaa��s Barca trashed Mournihoa��s Madrid, 5-0. Thing were bound to get violent and they did as derby matches usually do. Real Madrid however took it one step further and had a player sent off in the first four Classicos of the 2010-11 season.
Times were brutally hypnotic.
The UEFA Super Cup Battle: Pepa�� Bayern Munich vs. Josea��s Chelsea.
The last match before the two faces each other on Saturday had a nail biting finish as the match went to penalties. Both managers had long since left their Spanish sides and now met in a pre-season curtain raiser.
For most managers, this match would be a checklist, whose fit and whoa��s not, what formation to play and so on and so forth. But these two are not most managers are they now? It was a matter of pride for them and the prestige that the match held was felt that day in the Eden Arena in Prague. Scores were level at the end of 90 minutes and Javi Martineza��s late injury time equaliser, meant the game was going to penalties, even though Chelsea scored early into extra time. Penalties came and went, till Lukaku missed his and to the dismay of Jose, his arch enemy won again.
The Present one: Pep Guardiolaa��s Manchester City vs. Jose Mourinhoa��s Manchester United
This one should be incredible, and given the rivalry between United and City already (Augeroooo scores and Manchester City have won the Premier League.) this should just add to it. Mourinho does however faces challenges, his job is to do what Van Gaal could never, bring trophies back. Pep on the other hand, has long term objectives of his own and has created a young team. But at the same time he hasA�to meet the demands of the higher ups and usher in a new era at Manchester City.
And as Mourinho and Guardiola prepare to meet each other once again, maybe they might take comfort in the fact that a a�?friendlya�? foe will walk out of that dugout to shake his hand.