Timeline: How Jose and Pep lost the love and became best of enemies
1. Translator meets idol, 1996
Yes, they used to be friends.
In 1996, Jose Mourinho arrives at Barcelona as the translator (and general factotum) of Bobby Robson, tasked with providing a bridge between his boss and the squad. He soon identifies Guardiola as one of the leaders worth knowing. “They were quite friendly,” Robson said. Guardiola: “It was a working relationship.”
So it continues even after Robson leaves, with Mourinho staying on under Louis van Gaal until 2000. When celebrating one title, Mourinho shouts: “Today and forever, Barça in my heart!”
2. Pep beats Jose to Barça job, 2008
As Barcelona hunt a new coach, Mourinho woos sporting director Txiki Begiristain and vice-president Marc Ingla with a sublime powerpoint presentation in Portugal.
The pair are impressed, yet wary of the conflict Mourinho might create. They opt for Guardiola, whose only achievement is to have led Barça B to promotion from the fourth division. That rejection has, by many, been portrayed as the backdrop for Mourinho’s resentment of the club.
3. Jose takes revenge on Barça, 2010
Thiago Motta gets dismissed in the first half, at which point Mourinho tells Guardiola: 'Don’t think you’ve won yet'
In their second season under Mourinho, Inter Milan face holders Barça in the Champions League semi-finals. Having won six trophies in their first year under Guardiola, the Catalans are favorites, but then an eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull shuts down the European airspace. Barça travel to Milan by bus and lose 3-1.
Back in Barcelona, Inter midfielder Thiago Motta gets dismissed in the first half, at which point Mourinho tells Guardiola: “Don’t think you’ve won yet.”
With herculean grit and catenaccio-style tactics, Inter scrape through, prompting Mourinho to sprint onto the pitch, index finger raised, shushing the crowd. In his office at Real Madrid, Mourinho later installed a life-size cardboard cut-out of himself in his moment of triumph.
4. Pep snaps amid the four Clásicos, 2011
A year after Madrid have hired Mourinho to stop Guardiola by any means necessary, four Clásicos in 18 days ratchet up tensions. After the Copa del Rey final, won 1-0 by Madrid, Guardiola rues a correct offside call: “A two-centimeter decision from a linesman who must have had a very good view ruled out Pedro’s goal.”
Mourinho used that to ridicule Guardiola for criticising referees when they are right. That makes Guardiola snap. In the press room ahead of their Champions League semi-final, Guardiola looks into the cameras, asks which one is Mourinho’s, then addresses him directly. “In this room, Mourinho is the f***ing chief, the f***ing boss. I don’t want to compete with him in here... but this is a game of football.”
When Guardiola returns to the team hotel, the players give him a standing ovation.