‘How Mourinho Was Responsible For Guardiola Leaving Barcelona’ —Pique

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes Jose Mourinho contributed to why Pep Guardiola left the Catalan in 2012.

Mourinho and Guardiola rivalry reached its biggest heights when the Portuguese was at Real Madrid and Guardiola was at Barcelona, but its origins come before that.

Inter Milan, who were led by Mourinho between 2008-10, took on reigning European champions Barcelona in the semi-finals of the 2009/10 Champions League.

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Barca, who were reigning champions at the time, were favourites to win having claimed a win and a draw when the two sides met in the group stages during Pep and Jose’s first meetings as managers.

Inter won the first leg 3-1 at the San Siri and despite playing most part of the second leg with 10 men at the Nou Camp, the Italian went through 3-2 on aggregate.

Pique scored the only goal in the reverse fixture which unfortunately was not enough.

A fierce rivalry developed between the two managers during the following years, when Mourinho became coach of Madrid.

And when Mourinho finally ended Guardiola’s run of three LaLiga titles on the bounce, the Spaniard stepped away from football for a year.

And Pique, who played under Guardiola, believes his Portuguese rival’s mind-games were a leading factor why.

Speaking to Gary Neville’s Overlap podcast, Pique said: “We were winning everything at the time and I remember that the first time Mourinho came to Camp Nou he lost 5-0 against us.

“It was a shock of reality that these guys are going hard, but in the press conferences every time he was, you know his style, and I think that for Guardiola at some point it was too much.

“It was more important sometimes what happened off the pitch than on the pitch. Guardiola left.

“Madrid won the league that year and all of a sudden he decided to leave for so many reasons, but I am sure part of it was because with Mourinho it got too much.”

After a rejuvenating spell at Bayern Munich, Guardiola then arrived at Man City where he’s outlasted Mourinho twice during the latter’s ill-fated stints at Manchester United and Tottenham.

And Guardiola has now claimed he will remember Klopp as the man who gave him the biggest challenges.

“Jurgen, as a manager, has been the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career and I think what both teams propose is good for football,” he said last month.

“The point is not a jibe to Jose.

“He is an exciting manager and I was his rival but I’ve been here five years and played many more times against Liverpool.

“Except the year we made 100 points, the rest were tight. It is because they are good and hopefully they think we are good too.

“I will remember my period here, when I’m retired watching and playing golf, I’ll remember my biggest rival was Liverpool, for sure.”

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