Since 2009, Guardiola and Mourinho have met 4 times in the UEFA Champions League, and it is the Spanish manager who has the advantage overall with 2 victories and a draw in his favor. Their first meeting took place on September 16 at the San Siro in what was Barcelona and Inter Milan’s first group stage game of the 2009/10 season in Europe.
Quick recap: The 4 meetings
Guardiola’s new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given the opportunity to lead the Catalans’ attack, while 2-time European Cup winner Samuel Eto’o started for the Nerazzurri. A poor game didn’t produce much entertainment, and in the end, both sides’ unfruitfulness led the game to a disappointing 0-0 draw.
The crowd at the Camp Nou expected a better show at home when both clubs met again in November 2009, and somehow, they got what they were looking ahead to. 2 first half goals from Gerard Pique and Pedro killed the game at the surprise of the visitors, but owing to the exclusion of Lionel Messi, Ibrahimovic, and Wesley Sneijder, the game was far from being complete.
A bigger moment arrived 5 months later, when Barcelona and Inter Milan again fought each other at the San Siro in the first leg of their semifinal battle. There was more excitement in that particular match, but controversy also had a major role in the game’s turn-out. As a result of Referee Olegário Benquerença’s questionable decisions during the 90 minutes, Inter were able to make an unpredictable come back with goals from Sneijder, Maicon, and Milito; despite being down 1-0 after failing to contain Pedro earlier in the match.
The second leg was powered by a fiercer combustion as Barcelona fans vowed to intimidate the Italians in revenge of their approval of the referee’s unfairness at the Giuseppe Meazza in the first leg. Strangely, Milan’s Thiago Motta was shown a red card after 28 minutes subsequent to what seemed like a dive from Sergio Busquets. By hook or by hook, Barcelona managed to steal an opener through Pique in the second half, but they were incapable of clutching a second goal, and hence had to leave their place in the final to their rivals.
Mourinho and Guardiola: A peculiar relation
From the time both coaches clashed in Europe for the first time till now, there has officially never been a serious verbal war between the 2 managers. Certainly, their amount of respect for each other is what helps them prevent a possible competition between them.
One the most direct communication from the bosses occurred when the Portuguese trainer subtly made reference to Barcelona’s controversial qualification into the 2009 Champions League final, after he was accused of being involved in a restaurant business with fellow-Portuguese personality Olegário Benquerença.
"I have no restaurant with anybody," Mourinho declared. “Maybe Pep (Guardiola) has a restaurant in Oslo.”
Obviously, Oslo is Norway’s capital city. But one can sense a bit of offensiveness there, as such a statement clearly shows the manager’s surreptitious reference to the nationality of Referee Tom Henning Øvrebø.
El Clasico: Just do it, don’t pretend, don’t fail…
Despite everything, they will come face to face once again at the Camp Nou on November 29, and they will only have to do one thing: what they need to do. This does not leave out the maintenance of good body languages during the match as well as the application of intelligent techniques; and in actual fact, their task is greater than one could imagine.
Happily for Real Madrid fans, they have pretty good chances of standing firm against their long-time archrivals under the leadership of the one regarded as the Special One. Also, providentially for Mourinho himself, it will be his chance to humble Pep Guardiola’s men at the Camp Nou for the first time ever in his career – having a set of heavy valuable weapons at his side.
At this point, Mourinho has precious memories of dramatic victories over Barcelona which took place in his great days at the professional Chelsea football club, or in his recent days at Inter. The legendary coach is however yet to impose himself in Barca’s 99,354-seat stadium.
His increasing hunger to conquer the Blaugrana at the Camp Nou will surely push Real Madrid to double their attacking power in El Clasico; yet, this will also throw Pep Guardiola into a new challenge. Since his take-over at Barcelona, the ex-defensive midfielder has never lost a game to Real Madrid. With 4 victories out of 4 in La Liga and a total score line elevated at 11-2, the former treble winner has reasons to feel confident over his next game against the Galacticos.
But then, his 5th El Clasico defy as a coach might be his hardest of all – being against a coach to whom he has already lost. Apparently, Guardiola’s list of defeats isn’t very long, and he is truly aware of what Mourinho is capable of.
This will require concentration, advices and support, besides implementation from the part of Pep. Just as it is so often said in football prior to big matches, “one mistake might be deadly”. Currently, only a single point separate Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the top of La Liga table. The situation is very delicate, and El Clasico on November 29 will be decisive in deciding the winner of La Liga, this season.
Finally, in response to Jose Mourinho’s outlandish victory in the Champions League semifinals last season, should Pep Guardiola welcome an avenging spirit in search of motivation for El Clasico? On his side, should Mourinho also anticipate a possible retaliation from Barcelona and prepare to resist all kinds of forces – even if this means a combination of unfairness and hostility?
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