Jose Mourinho’s off-field tactics appear to be taking a toll on
Pep Guardiola as the normally composed Barcelona coach snapped
Tuesday, launching a tirade of expletives against his Real Madrid
counterpart ahead of their Champions League semifinal.
Mourinho, speaking earlier Tuesday, had accused Guardiola of
going too far in criticizing the nationality of a possible referee
for Wednesday’s first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Mourinho said Guardiola’s allegation that referee Pedro Proenca
would play out well for the fellow Portuguese coach meant ”we now
enter a new phase of criticizing the origin of a referee. I’ve
never seen this before.”
While German referee Wolfgang Stark was finally appointed for
Wednesday’s game, Guardiola did not take kindly to Mourinho’s
remarks, including allegations that calls often seem to go
Barcelona’s way since a semifinals victory at Chelsea in 2009 when
a late penalty was not given.
”He’s the (expletive) boss, the (expletive) master and I can’t
compete with him at any instant,” Guardiola said at the Bernabeu.
”Off the field he’s already beaten me. I gift him this off-field
Champions League prize, I hope he takes it home and enjoys it.
”I’d just remind him that that we worked together for four
Guardiola was a player when Mourinho worked as an assistant with
the Catalan club in the late 1990s.
Any love has been lost since last year’s semifinal when
Mourinho’s Inter Milan knocked Barcelona out at this same stage
with the Portuguese coach hitting out at Barcelona’s obsession of
winning the Champions League at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho has also been keen to point out that his teams – which
play a physical, bruising style against Barcelona – often finish
with 10 men against the Catalans, including the last four games
stretching back to his time with Inter.
Guardiola said his remarks about a Barcelona goal that was
waived away offside in Madrid’s 1-0 Copa del Rey extra-time victory
over Barcelona last week were not intended as criticism but solely
to complement the referee’s work.
The pressure of four ”clasicos” in 18 days may also be taking
their tall, especially as Mourinho’s Madrid finally beat a
Guardiola-coached Barcelona team in its seventh attempt.
Guardiola was so animated that at one point when asked about
Mourinho in English, the coach reverted to Spanish because he was
Guardiola said he had to respond after Mourinho made it personal
earlier Tuesday by calling him ”Pep.”
”I respond to him because it’s the first time he says Pep – we
normally talk in general terms and it’s the first time he says Pep
so I say Jose. I have to respond,” Guardiola said. ”Today is the
first time (I respond). If he says Pep, I will continue and I will
say ‘Hey Jose.”’
Guardiola was aware that his outburst was far from
”(But) if Barca wants someone to compete (in news conferences)
then they should hire another coach. As a person and an institution
we don’t do that,” Guardiola added.