Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are the impulse and inertia of modern football, both forever embroiled in strife. It is remarkable how their managerial careers are relentlessly drawn together. Now, the duo is set to renew their rivalry in Manchester, based just 4 miles away from each other.
After working together under Bobby Robson and Louis Van Gaal as translator and player respectively, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola finally did come face to face when Real Madrid signed Jose Mourinho as their manager, while Pep served as Barcelona's head coach. The showdown when the duo locked horns between 2010 and 2012 is already stuff of legends, with them managing to raise the grandeur of the ever fascinating El Clasico by a couple of notches.
During these years, the two great men cooked up such a storm while managing two of the biggest clubs in the world that the local Spanish media had begun calling it ‘la enfermedad’, which translates to "the disease".
The disease, is now coming to Manchester.
Manchester City confirmed that Pep Guardiola will be taking over as the manager of the club back in January, whereas Manchester United have recently sacked Louis van Gaal and appointed Jose Mourinho as their head coach. It has taken 4 years for it to happen, but Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are in the same league again and are managing two of the fiercest rivals of the league, again.
So where do these appointments take the two clubs? How does this second edition of Mourinho Vs. Guardiola take form? Let us have a look.
Many claim that the stage for this epic rivalry could not have more grandeur than El Clasico, but the fact that the Manchester Derby is one of the most watched games of the most watched football league in the world, makes it a colossal event and the stakes, this time, could not be higher. Both Manchester City and Manchester United are expected to mount a serious title challenge under their new managers and the derby could play a pivotal role in deciding the fate of their challenges eventually.
When the Portuguese and the Spaniard locked horns for the first round of this epic bout, the setting was Pep's backyard – the La Liga, but now the stage is set to be Jose's backyard with his immense experience in the Premier League.
When the Portuguese and the Spaniard locked horns for the first round of this epic bout, the setting was Pep's backyard – the La Liga, but now the stage is set to be Jose's backyard with his immense experience in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola is widely considered to have 'won' the first round of the bout, but the Premier League will serve up an entirely different challenge for him and will close the loop on the rivalry with Jose Mourinho.
El Clasico has been one of the fiercest and longest rivalries in world football, but the one aspect of any rivalry that it lacks is the animosity of being a same city battle. The two Manchester clubs, separated just by 4 miles instead of the 400 odd miles that separate Madrid and Barcelona, provide a perfect setting for the rivalry to simmer beyond boiling point.
The Manchester Derby is one of the most high-profile same city rivalries in European football, and something tells me that Manchester might not mind this disease too much.
After less than impressive displays during last season from both the Manchester clubs, the players, the staff, and the fans are hurting; everyone knows that the two giants of English football performed way below their potential and failed to live up to expectations last season. The fact that both the clubs did spend a considerable amount to get in the services of top quality talent compounds the agony. Add to this pain, the passion that Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola bring along with them, and we have a riveting show on our hands.
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are the perfect characters to carry the anguish of the underachieving teams and the will to beat their neighbours to the next level. It will be fascinating to see what these two great men will produce on what probably is the grandest stage of their rivalry.
In the most remarkable of ways, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have spent a major chunk of their careers laced with the other's fortunes.
In the most remarkable of ways, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have spent a major chunk of their careers laced with the other's fortunes, be it Mourinho working closely with Pep while being a translator at Barcelona or be it Pep taking cues from Mourinho before starting off his own managerial stint or be it the duo coming face to face, working for two of the biggest rivals in world football, trying to outwit each other.
In their own ways, both Guardiola and Mourinho have helped each other reach the pinnacle of managerial success, and now in their new roles as managers of the two Manchester Clubs, they are ready to raise the bar even higher.
The Premier League is surely in for a treat with the verbal volleys across Manchester, and of course, the football would not be too bad either.
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