Diego Maradona: Jose Mourinho Is the Game's Best Manager Ahead of Pep Guardiola

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2018

ZACATECAS, MEXICO - OCTOBER 20: Diego Armando Maradona coach of Dorados looks on during the 12th round match between Mineros and Dorados as part of the Torneo Apertura 2018 Ascenso MX at Carlos Vega Villalba Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Zacatecas, Mexico. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images)
Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Argentina icon Diego Maradona has said he would put Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho ahead of Manchester City's Pep Guardiola as the best manager in the world. 

The Manchester duo have both excelled during their times as coaches, and given the nature of the clubs they've been at—they had concurrent stints in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid before moving to Manchester—and the contrasting style of football they play they've often been compared throughout their careers on the sideline.

At the moment Guardiola is getting the better of Mourinho, with City coasting to the Premier League title last season ahead of their local rivals. However, Maradona told Marca (h/t Dejan Kalinic of Goal) that Mourinho is the top dog:

"For me yes, Mou is the best. I would give Pep the merit of taking advantage of the launch that Johan Cruyff gave him.

"I have said on more than one occasion that tiki-taka was not invented by Guardiola. It was 'Flaco' Cruyff. At the moment Pep is able to choose any player in the world that he wants. That way tiki-taka is easier." 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Pep Guardiola the head coach / manager of Manchester City  and Jose Mourinho the head coach / manager of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium o
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Maradona went on to so say that he will seek out Mourinho for advice when it comes to his own coaching career. "... I think I will go to Manchester and Mourinho to ask him a lot of things," Maradona added. "Because he is the best without doubt."

Mourinho and Guardiola came up against each other again on Sunday in the Manchester derby. City triumphed 3-1 in what was a lopsided contest, as the champions dominated their neighbours at the Etihad Stadium for long spells.

Ste Armstrong of the United We Stand fanzine commented on how much of a chasm there is between the two sides at the moment:

Ste.A @sarm0161

Last time the footballing gap between United and City was this big they were in Division 3.

Meanwhile, Guardiola continued to add to his strong managerial record against his long-term adversary:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Pep Guardiola has now beaten Jose Mourinho (11) more times than he has beaten any other manager in his career (incl. games on penalties). The Special One's Special enemy. https://t.co/K5wfh7DyVz

Guardiola may have benefitted from a sound foundation at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City when he took over as manager, although the influence he has on teams is profound.

At Barca he built arguably the finest football team of his generation, and after steering Bayern to domestic dominance he arrived at City and has built another juggernaut of a football team. Last season they gained a record 100 points in the Premier League, finishing 19 points clear of United and playing some swashbuckling football in the process.

However, as James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph noted, when Mourinho took charge of the Red Devils there was little difference between the two teams in terms of their league position:

James Ducker @TelegraphDucker

May 17, 2016, a few weeks before Mourinho & Guardiola formally took charge at United & City respectively and we wondered if it might be Round 2. PL table: 4th City P38 W19 D9 L10 PTS 66 GD +30; 5th United P38 W19 D9 L10 PTS 66 GD +14

Mourinho may not have spent as much as Guardiola in his time at United, although in Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Fred he's made some high-profile and lucrative acquisitions. At this juncture the Red Devils are a long way short of even challenging City for top spot, as they sit down in eighth.

Maradona is currently the manager of Mexican second-tier outfit Dorados, having previously had spells in charge of Fujairah, Al Wasl and the Argentina national team.