José Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola: who is the best football manager?


Mourinho vs Guardiola best football manager

Source: Composite by G_marius based on Aleksander Osipov's and Felipe Quintanilha's images

José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are considered among the best football (soccer) managers in the world. We compare  Mou's and Pep's stats and discuss about the future of the Manchester United vs Manchester City rivalry. 

Mourinho vs Guardiola

José Mourinho and Josep "Pep" Guardiola are two of the most famous and highest paid sports managers in the world. Their first season at Manchester United and Manchester City has not been an easy one. These two talented football coaches became best enemies in the Spanish Championship when, in 2010, Mourinho was signed by Real Madrid to end the reign of Pep Guardiola's FC Barcelona. During the following two years, La Liga became a battlefield where these two brilliant football strategists rallied the best football players in world in a series of very intense matches. Guardiola left Barcelona in 2012 and Mourinho was sacked from Real Madrid in 2013. However, Mou and Pep are set to renew their rivalry very soon in the English Premiership. Manchester City signed Guardiola to a three-year contract to replace Manuel Pellegrini, another Pep's long-time rival from his time at Barcelona. Most analysts believe that Mourinho will be joining soon Manchester United to substitute Louis Van Gaal. Pep and Mou have reached success with different styles. Mou has been often considered a more pragmatic coach and Guardiola's teams more pleasing to the eye. 

José Mourninho

José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix was born in 1963 in Setúbal, Portugal. He was a professional football player in the Portuguese Second Division and studied sports science in the Technical University of Lisbon. He worked as interpreter and assistant for Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting CP, Porto and FC Barcelona. He also worked for Louis Van Gaal in Barcelona before starting a very successful managerial career in Portugal, Italy, England and Spain. He managed Benfica (2000), União de Leiria (20012002), Porto (20022004), Chelsea (20042007), Inter Milan (20082010), Real Madrid (20102013), Chelsea (20132015). Mourinho has won the league and cup in four different major football leagues.

Josep Guardiola

Josep Guardiola Sala was born in Santpedor, Spain, in 1971. Guardiola was a defensive midfielder who played in Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team" that won the European Cup in 1992. Guardiola played for FC Barcelona from 1990 to 2001. He later played in Brescia (20012002), Roma (20022003), Al-Ahli (20032005), and Dorados (20052006). Guardiola played also 47 times with the Spanish National team. As a coach he has managed Barcelona B (2007-2008), Barcelona (20082012) and Bayern Munich (20132016). Guardiola is the only coach who has won the six official competitions in one year. 

The "Special One" and Guardiola are both loved and hated by millions. Guardiola was initially considered a more diplomatic and respectful coach while Mourinho was always combative and controversial. Mourinho's relationship with the press eroded progressively since he moved to Spain. His bad year at Chelsea also made him target of numerous criticisms in British media. However, behind his usually polite manners, Guardiola is also a person with a very strong character and who does not easily accept dissent in the changing room. As Mourinho, Guardiola controls his teams with iron fist. Some players at both Barcelona and Bayern have suffered first-hand the disagreements with Guardiola. Moreover, some of Guardiola's decisions and press conferences have been also widely criticized. Recently, Guardiola alienated many of his Spanish fans when he run in the Catalan regional elections as part of the pro-independence nationalist coalition "Together for Yes."

Mourinho and Guardiola stats and achievements

José Mourinho stats and trophies

  • UEFA Champions League 2
  • Europa League 2
  • La Liga (Spain) 1
  • Premier League (England)  3
  • Serie A (Italy) 2
  • Primeira Liga (Portugal) 2
  • Copa del Rey (Spain) 1
  • FA Cup (England) 1
  • EFL Cup (England) 1
  • Coppa Italia 1
  • Taça de Portugal 1
  • Super Cups 4 (one in each of the four countries above)
  • Managerial career: 765 games played, 505 wins, 154 draws, 106 loses
  • Between 23 February 2002 and 2 April 2011, Mourinho went 150 home league matches unbeaten
  • With Real Madrid Mourinho had a 71.91 Win % and with Porto a 71,65% Win %.
  • He has won the FIFA World Coach of the Year (2010), IFFHS World's Best Club Coach (2004, 2004, 2010, 2012), UEFA Manager of the Year (2003, 2004)

Watch this documentary about Jose Mourinho


Josep Guardiola stats and trophies

  • Champions League 2
  • Fifa Club World Club 3
  • UEFA Super Cup 3
  • La Liga (Spain) 3
  • Bundesliga (Germany) 3
  • Copa del Rey (Spain) 2
  • German Cup 1
  • Spanish Super Cup 3
  • Managerial career: 435 games played, 317 wins, 74 draws, 44 loses
  • 72.87 Win %
  • He has won the FIFA World Coach of the Year (2011), IFFHS World's Best Club Coach (2009, 2011)

Watch the latest documentary on Pep Guardiola


Chronology of the Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry

  • Mourinho arrived to Camp Nou in 1996 as translator and assistant of Bobby Robson where he first met Josep Guardiola, who was at the time a very young but charismatic midfielder. Mourinho stayed in FC Barcelona when Robson was replaced by Van Gaal. Both him and Guardiola learnt from the Dutch manager the attention to detail and the intensive training methods. Mourinho left Barcelona 1999.
  • Guardiola was very disappointed by the defeat against Mourinho's Inter Milan in the 2010 Champions League semi-finals. He ordered that the water sprinklers at the Camp Nou be turned on to hamper Mourinho's celebration. Inter ended up winning the competition.
  • Mourinho's Real Madrid was defeated 5-0 in his first El Clásico game in 2010. He would never forget it.
  • In April 2011 Barcelona and Real Madrid played 4 classicos in 18 days. Real Madrid footballers played very hard, bordering aggression, and some Barça players indulged in diving and other dirty tricks. The tension between the two big clubs raised.
  • Against all odds, Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in the 2011 Cup final with a Cristiano Ronaldo Goal. Guardiola criticized the referee and accused him of shaping the result by disallowing a goal to Pedro: "A two-centimeter decision from a linesman who must have had a very good view ruled out Pedro's legal goal."
  • Mourinho responded during a press conference: "We have started a new cycle. Up until now there was a very small group of coaches who didn't talk about referees and a very large group, in which I am included, who criticize referees. Now with Pep's comments, we have started a new era with a third group, featuring only one person, a man who criticizes the referee when he makes good decisions." 
  • Guardiola kept his cool until the day before the Champions League  the semi-final in Madrid, Guardiola exploded and, referring to Mourinho, said: " He has won the battle off the pitch. If he wants his own personal Champions League trophy away from the pitch, let him take it home and enjoy it. In this room [the Bernabéu press room] Mourinho is the f------ chief, the f------ boss! He knows all about this and I don't want to compete with him in here."
  • Barcelona ended up winning the Spanish league and the Champions League in 2011. However, next season, Mourinho's Real Madrid greatly improved and looked much more solid than before. Barcelona ended up winning the Copa del Rey, but Real Madrid won the Spanish League and for the first time in many years, was the strongest team in Spain. Many believe that Guardiola left Camp Nou feeling that Mourinho had managed to create a successful anti-Barça system on the pitch and that Barcelona's best days were over.
  • Overall, they have played 15 matches head to head, with 7 victories for Guardiola's teams, 3 for Mourinho's teams and 5 draws.
  • Next round? Mourinho and Guardiola are expected to bring he Manchester United vs Manchester City to a whole new level. Bernabeu and Camp Nou are more than 300 miles apart. Old Trafford and the Ethiad Stadium are only a few miles away. Man U fans and Citizens will very likely enjoy and suffer the next installments of this feud.

Who do you think is the best football manager? Is Mourinho's style excessively conservative and boring to watch? Is Guardiola a tactical talent or just happens to have managed the two best teams in the world? Are these managers better than Conte, Ancelotti, Zidane or Luis Enrique? Who do you think will have the upper hand next year season in the Premiership?

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