Integrity vs. Arrogance: The Legacies of Pep Guardiola & Jose Mourinho in Spain

Conor QueenanContributor IIIApril 27, 2012

SANTANDER, SPAIN - MARCH 11: Barcelona heads coach Josep Guardiola looks on during the La Liga match between Real Racing Club and Barcelona at El Sardinero on March 11, 2012 in Santander, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Will we ever see such a fierce rivalry between two coaches in Spain ever again? Not for a while anyway.

If the Madrid-Barcelona rivalry needed anymore incentive for all-out, unadulterated hatred, it was for two coaches, hated and loved in equal measure, to go toe-to-toe in charge of some great physical and tactical battles.

What is now a ferocious feud was once a simple, working relationship.

Mourinho had come to Barcelona, in 1996, alongside Bobby Robson as his translator. Guardiola, at the time, was on the way to becoming the Barcelona captain and played in a style that was possibly 10 years before his time.

Under the tutelage of two great managers in Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal, Mourinho began to perfect his craft. He provided tactical dossiers of upcoming opponents, he took charge of the first team during certain cup competitions, such as the Copa Catalunya, and was entrusted with coaching duties at Barcelona B.

Guardiola left his beloved club in 2001 and would not meet Mourinho again, in footballing terms, till 2010.

Inter Milan vs. Barcelona in the semifinal of the Champions League in 2010 was to be the start of an exciting rivalry that possibly defines the two men's legacies in Spain.

Inter Milan had faith on their side—a certain volcanic eruption forced Barcelona to change their travel plans, Ibrahimovic (an ex-Inter player) failed to perform and Mourinho got his tactics spot on once again.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24:  Head coach Josep Guardiola of FC Barcelona gives instructions to Andres Iniesta of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in B
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

In the words of an esteemed friend, "Barcelona took a bus to Milan, Inter parked that same bus in Barcelona."

Mourinho, of course, marched on towards the Santiago Bernabeu, beating Bayern Munich in the final and subsequently taking charge of Real Madrid.

Now the stage was set for competition of gargantuan proportions.

And two seasons in, it looks like Pep, who is now set to leave Barcelona, has earned the title of victor. 

After four years and 13 trophies, Guardiola has gone from Barcelona B coach to becoming one of the greatest coaches of all time. His record befits that title. 

Mourinho has earned himself very little plaudits, if not no respect. 

His consistent haranguing of officials and silly mind games may have merited many laughs in England but over the last two years, it has now become boring and imbecilic. 

Mourinho portrays himself as a weird character, an eccentric of sorts, purposely no doubt. While it is an obvious diversionary tactic to take pressure away from his players, and he should be credited for that somewhat, he has crossed the fine line between diversionary and thuggery.

One week, Mourinho gives his opposite assistant manager's eye a cheeky poke, the next he shows real support for Tito Vilanova after surgery to remove a benign tumor. To say Mourinho is a difficult character to analyze would be an understatement. 

Guardiola meanwhile has let the football do the talking. He has shown humility in victory and grace in defeat.

Most importantly, he still has that capacity to wow audiences with his style of play and his undoubted professionalism. 

When comparing the two manager's time at their clubs, a basic rule is to analyze whether their stock has gone up or down during their stint at the job.

While Mourinho's situation is hard to examine due to his previous successes at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, and even after Real Madrid's relative failure in the last two years, he still has the reputation to back it up. Essentially, Mourinho's overall reputation as a winning coach will remain.

Since this is Guardiola's first job, he has had a monumental rise to the top of the footballing world. Something he deserves by being a true gentleman and real man.

I am not a Barcelona fan nor do I speak much Spanish but from every true footballing fan in the world: 

Gracias por los recuerdos Pep!  


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