Few coaches have had a higher profile in the last few years than Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Rarely out of the media limelight and admired for their abilities, the two have nevertheless taken very different routes to the top and pursue contrasting philosophies.
For his part the Catalan will be remembered as the architect of what many regard as the greatest Barcelona side in history, while the Portuguese has built his reputation on a gift for assembling winning teams wherever he goes.
Having engaged in a fierce rivalry, which began when the Portuguese was in charge at Inter Milan and grew in intensity during their stints in charge at Spain’s two powerhouse clubs, the current Chelsea and Bayern Munich bosses will come face to face again at Friday’s UEFA Super Cup in Monaco, their first duel in 14 months.
In anticipation of that mouthwatering meeting, FIFA.com compares their remarkable careers.
Guardiola: Barcelona B (1989-90), Barcelona (1990-01), Brescia (2001-02), Roma (2002-03), Brescia (2003-04), Al-Alhi (2003-05), Dorados (2005-06).
Mourinho: Belenenses (1980-81), Rio Ave (1981-82), Belenenses (1982-83), Sesimbra (1983-84), U. Tecnica (1984-85), Comercio e Industria (1985-87).
Though both started out as players, their careers took markedly different paths. Guardiola was a distinguished member of Johan Cruyff’s so-called Dream Team at Barcelona, helping Los Azulgranas win their first European Cup in 1992. An integral part of Spain’s national team for many years and an icon for his club, he went on to play in Italy, Qatar and Mexico before retiring. The cultured midfielder nurtured his interest in tactics and formations from the very start of his playing career, prompting his Spain team-mate Raul to comment: “Guardiola was a coach even when he was playing”.
In contrast Mourinho never tasted glory on the pitch, running out for unglamorous Portuguese clubs such as Rio Ave and Belenenses and failing to play a single game in the national top flight. It was during his unremarkable career as a footballer that he began helping his father – a former goalkeeper turned coach – by writing reports on opposing teams, a schooling that prompted him to move to the dugout at the age of 24.
Club legend versus the globetrotter:
Guardiola: Barcelona B (2007-08), Barcelona (2008-12), Bayern Munich (2013-present).
Mourinho: Benfica (2000-01), Uniao Leiria (2001-02), Porto (2002-04), Chelsea (2004-08), Inter Milan (2008-10), Real Madrid (2010-2013), Chelsea (2013-present).
Their coaching CVs do not have too much in common either. Guardiola spent the first few years of his fledgling but intense career as a tactician at his beloved Barcelona, enjoying a successful promotion campaign with the reserves before taking the reins of the first team. Following four glorious years in the Barça dugout he took a year-long sabbatical, which ended with him taking charge of a Bayern Munich side that had just completed a league, cup and UEFA Champions League treble under Jupp Heynckes.
Mourinho has many more clubs under his belt. After working as an assistant to Bobby Robson and then Louis van Gaal at Barcelona, during which time he rubbed shoulders with Guardiola the player, he took his first job as a head coach in Portugal. His stunning achievements with Porto opened the door to the English Premier League, since when he has continued to stack up the silverware with Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He is now back in charge at the English club, the winners of last season’s UEFA Europa League.
Guardiola (14): three league titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues, two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, two Copas del Rey and three Spanish Supercopas.
Mourinho (17): seven league titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Cup, six national cups and one Spanish Supercopa.
While Guardiola is the only coach ever to win six titles out of a possible six in a single season – his first at Barcelona – and collected 14 trophies in all during his four years in charge at the club, Mourinho is the only coach other than Giovanni Trapattoni to win league titles in four different countries (Portugal, England, Italy and Spain). The Portuguese has only had one trophyless season since 2002, a statistic that underlines his ability to collect silverware no matter where he goes.
Head to head:
15 matches: seven wins for Guardiola, three for Mourinho and five draws.
Guardiola and Mourinho had their first joust as coaches group stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2009/10. The two met again in the semi-finals of the competition when the Portuguese’s Inter Milan side edged out Barcelona.
In the two years that followed, with Mourinho by this time installed in the Madrid hotseat, Guardiola got the better of his rival, losing only twice to him in 12 more encounters. One of those defeats came in a Copa del Rey final, the only previous occasion on which the two have met in a one-match final.
This Friday will see them face off for a 14th time on the touchline. The question is, who will be smiling come the final whistle?