For the last few years, only two managers are hogging all the glory: Pep and Jose. When used together doesn’t it sound like a name of a comedy duo similar to Laurie & Fry. There is nothing in the club domain of football that they haven’t won. The sheer dominance showed by these two is unmatchable in every sense. Champions League-check. Club World Cup-check. League title-check. League cup-check. God knows what will happen if they venture in field of international.
Both are unique in their own ways. Both have created legacies every where they have gone. The other common thing between them is the Barcelona connection. Both of them gained their vital experience in grasses of Camp Nou under the tutelage of Sir Bobby Robson and Louis Van Gaal.
Let us start with Pep Guardiola. Before creating the magic of tiki-taka as a manager, he was a prominent part of the Johan Cryuff Barcelona Dream Team. Playing in deep-lying playmaker position he was known have a great passing range and vision. The control he used to have on the tempo of game is somewhat similar to what Xavi had on his best day. He was part of the team that won the league continuously from 1991 to 1994. He was the captain of the Barcelona from 1997 to 2001. After that he went on somewhat of a Eurasian tour going to Qatar and Italy. He returned to Barcelona as the manager of Barcelona B manager under Frank Rijkaard. He succeeded Rijkaard as the manager of the Barcelona team. He then went on to define a new era of footballing. The emergence of tiki-taka. This brand has dominated football for the last 8 years. Spain went on 6 year dominance of the football, with Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque maturing it to their own strategies. Even though he has stated that he hates the name tiki-taka, he can’t deny the fact that he has inspired and given ideas to a new generation of managers. Also the emergence of Lionel Messi can also be added to his already impressive CV. He also won the sextuple (you perverted douchebags, don’t think in that way), he won all the 6 trophies available. Moving on from Barcelona to Bayern Munich was his next move. Bayern Munich were already starting to dominate football, he took them to the next level. He took them on a long unbeaten streak. He helped the evolution many of the midfielders in that team. I almost forgot, he introduced us to the concept of false 9, where a midfielder plays as deep-lying striker. But all is not rosy. He has been accused of trying to slow the fast Bayern team , much to the dismay of the fans. Also he has been known to favour some players whatever may happen.
Jose Mourinho started his term in management as a translator for Sir Bobby Robson in Benfica. He followed in around in Porto and Barcelona. At Barcelona he was given a more prominent role by Van Gaal. He considers Robson and van Gaal as his mentors. He gained all the fame as the manager of Porto. He won the Champions League with them. He was immediately appointed as the manager of Chelsea, brought by Roman Abramovich, who wanted immediate results. Mourinho gave it to him. What followed was three years of dominance by Chelsea in Premier League. Stamford Bridge was the unassailable fortress. But when Manchester United came roaring back, Jose Mourinho found himself looking for a new challenge, which he found in Inter Milan. He won the treble with thm in the 2009-10 season. This is when we first heard about ‘parking the bus’. Many of the football pundits and fans have called this negative football. But if tiki-taka can be one tactic, parking the bus can also be accepted. It is not easy to sit deep in your half for most of the time, soaking pressure from attack after attack. It needs a special person to conduct that. He is that ‘Special One’. His time at Real Madrid more known for the negatives than the positive. He was credited (in the wrong way) for alienating and destroying the careers of Kaka and Casillas. For this he wont find many people who would symapthise with him. Ever since he has been back with Chelsea, they have shown a new level consistency. He is going to most probably bring the league title out of the city of Manchester after 5 years. That is no small feat. If only he knew how to treat his players. He always creates enemies in his squads by trying to alienate players or discourage them publicaly.
There is one thing to be noted while studying the careers of both the managers. They have always worked either with an already established and settled team or have had huge transfer kitty. I would like them to take on a mid-table team and try to make them a championship. In that aspect there are managers who are better than them. But who knows, they might even ace that.