All Marcello Lippi was doing was answering a question prior to the Trofeo Berlusconi of who he thought would capture the Scudetto at the end of the 2009-10 campaign.
The Italy boss picked his former side to win the championship over Inter Milan saying “It’ll be a difficult championship, but Juventus will win it in the end.”
Then, out of nowhere, Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho got upset with Lippi for picking the closest rival for the Italian crown. Saying that Lippi showed “a lack of respect” by predicting Juve would beat Inter, Mourinho began a now-much-publicized rift that has become quite common during Mourinho’s coaching career.
The fact is, this time, Mourinho got it wrong by even saying something in Lippi’s direction in the first place.
There is no problem with Lippi picking Juve to win the Scudetto. It’s not like Lippi came out and lobbied for Juve to beat Inter. He was giving his honest opinion on the upcoming season. And if you know Lippi, you know he is one honest person.
But when you look at it, and Lippi said it himself, he was just a man making a prediction. Everybody makes a prediction—the press, the fans, whoever. It’s the world we live in now, with every single thing and team is being analyzed, there’s no reason to exclude Lippi in the prediction process.
Is there something wrong with somebody giving their honest prediction?
It’s not like Lippi predicted that Juve would blow everybody, especially Inter, out of the water and wrap things up with six weeks to go. He said that it would go down to the end of the season. For a man who loves drama, Mourinho might like that idea.
You have to think that Mourinho’s reaction to Lippi would’ve certainly been different if he had picked Inter instead of Juve back on Monday. There would be no drama, no squawking in the media, nothing at all.
For once, Jose would be silent.
So now, as the season is set to begin in just a few short days, Mourinho finds himself in another controversy that he started all on his own. It just adds another target to his team's back as Juventus, and every other team, looks to end Inter's reign as champions.
Yet this is the Mourinho that everybody in Europe has come to know. He was this way once he won the Champions League with Porto, he was even worse with the press when he arrived in London, and now he has been raising hell in the Italian in barely over a year as Inter manager.
Even before Mourinho took the sidelines for his first official game with Inter last season, Mourinho was taking swipes at then-Juve manager—and the man who he took over from at the Bridge—Claudio Ranieri, saying that “He’s too old to change his mindset.”
Looking back on how things ended with Ranieri in Turin, you might agree with what the self-proclaimed Special One said about the former Juve manager. But still, to go out in the press continuously and hammer away at coaches shows a lack of respect, from a man who is put on such a high pedestal.
Is it Mourinho taking swipes at whomever he pleases? Or is it just an attempt to be a one-man assault at anything Juventus?
It’s probably a little a both. Juventus are now a legitimate threat to Jose’s perch atop the Serie A world and with a rookie coach nonetheless. He certainly wouldn’t take a swipe at Juve’s rookie coach Ciro Ferrara—doing so would just be plain ignorant. A man like Ferrara has too much class to get caught up in a paper war with a rival coach.
But just ask all the other coaches that Mourinho took swipes at last year in Serie A and they will tell you that it’s just Jose being Jose. It’s like he just throws darts at coaches in the top half of the table and then picks out certain quotes from recent papers.
The act is getting old, Jose. Who’s next? Maybe a relegation side’s coach perhaps?
For the sake of our sanity, let’s hope it doesn’t happen. We don’t need him mouthing off anymore before the season gets going. However, knowing his past, another outburst that is unwarranted is certainly in the pipeline.
He wants the spotlight on him 24/7 and when it’s not, he gets it back one way or another.
There’s a reason why people are sprinting to defend Lippi, not Mourinho.