Jose Mourinho has taken some subtle jabs at Pep Guardiola’s coaching record whilst finally opening up about his thoughts on Lionel Messi
Mourinho has spent most of his career taking a tight lipped approach when it comes to the almost mythical figure that is Lionel Messi. However, after the Argentinian’s jaw dropping display against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, Mourinho decided to finally voice his thoughts on the special talent.
“You have doubts that Man City with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Arsenal with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Chelsea with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Man United with Messi can win the Champions League? Don’t you think? I think. One thing is a team; another thing is a team with Messi. It is a different story.’
“He played a Champions League final with Guardiola, he is most likely going to play in this season’s Champions League final with Luis Enrique and if, one day, he plays for Anthony, Anthony will go to a Champions League final with him. When people analyse teams, you have to remember that this boy makes everything different.”
“Every time I played against Messi, I spent hours studying and trying to stop him,” Mourinho said. “Many times, we were successful. Other times, we were not successful. With Inter, we stopped him in both matches [of the semi-final].
“The best way to do it is man-to-man because that is better than involving everyone. When you go man-to-man, you go with similar power – although man-to-man with him is an impossible job. Every time I was thinking about how best collectively – I am not saying stop him – to give him a difficult match. I think this is the correct word. It is not about stopping him but giving him a difficult match. That is the best you do against him.”
“My personal opinion – no chance to leave,” Mourinho said. “Just a personal opinion. Such a big club, such a powerful club. They can’t lose that player, that player belongs to them, belongs to their people. I don’t believe [he would leave]. In football, you never know, but I don’t believe it.”
Nice words from the Special One over all but as is always the case with the mischievous Portuguese manager, it seems there is more to his comments than what is simply on the surface.
In suggesting that ‘Anthony’ could reach the Champions League final with Messi in his side, it could be interpreted that Mourinho has also questioned Guardiola’s achievements with Barcelona.
This isn’t the first time he has taken a veiled slight at Guardiola. Just last week he spoke of his league triumph with Chelsea as winning “the most difficult league in the world”. Mourinho said he could have chosen another league, an easier league where even a “janitor” could win the title.
“I could be smarter and like other managers, choose teams and countries where it’s easy to be champions, where they can enjoy calmly their success.”
Where could that be we wonder?
Cough…Germany….cough… Bayern Munich… cough cough….