As soon as Jose Mourinho was installed as the new boss at Manchester United, thought’s immediately turned to the re-start of his intense rivalry with opposite number Pep Guardiola. For two years in Spain, the “Special One” and the “Thoughtful One” went head to head for some of the biggest prizes in football as managers of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Now they may even bump into each other in some of the finest eateries in Manchester, as we get set for a battle-royal in next season’s Premier League that will be the number one subject for every football bet prediction
— Everything Man Utd (@everything_utd) February 5, 2016
A SUMMER TASTER FOR FANS OF INTRIGUE
For fans who like their football splattered with a generous coating of intrigue, they won’t have long to wait to see round one of the heavyweight clash everyone’s talking about when the Red Devils and Manchester City face each other in the International Champions Cup in Beijing on July 25. Whilst both men will undoubtedly dismiss the game as just one part of their pre-season preparations, the pair of them will be a desperate desire to lay down an early marker for the nine-months ahead.
MOURINHO REJECTS TALK OF ANY MIND GAMES
Earlier this week, Mourinho was back in his homeland at an event in Lisbon and he was asked about the upcoming season and his renewed dual with Guardiola. The Portuguese tactician hinted that this time things would be different when he stated that; “I was with Guardiola for two years in La Liga and there either I won with Real Madrid or he did with Barcelona. In such a situation the individual duels made sense because they can influence. But if in the Premier League I focus on him or on Manchester City or he focuses on me or on Manchester United, someone else will win the championship”.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN FOR GUARDIOLA
Pep Guardiola has yet to mention anything about his impending battle with his old adversary, preferring to get on with the task of constructing a Manchester City team that’s able to wrestle the Premier League crown off Leicester City, whilst bringing European glory to the Etihad after the Citizens reached the last-four of last season’s Champions League. The wheels have already been put in motion, with the signing on Thursday of German international midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund. Despite his calm exterior, there is a ruthless streak to Guardiola that seldom rises to the surface; unless the man in the opposite dug-out is a certain Jose Mourinho.
PREMIER LEAGUE BONANZA
Already the most watched football league in the world, the arrival of two of the world’s most recognisable managers to not only the same league, but the same city, has got newspaper editors (and the betting exchanges) all over the world licking their lips in anticipation of what’s in store for 2016-17. In the red corner, we have a man who could start a fight in an empty room; in the blue corner, we have the people’s champion, a man loved by pretty much everyone (except Mourinho).
Steve Mitchell @barafundler