Gerard Pique has claimed Jose Mourinho’s dirty mind games were “too much” for Pep Guardiola and forced him out of Barcelona.
Guardiola assembled one of the greatest club sides ever seen after taking over as manager of Barcelona in 2008. After dominating La Liga and world football, the Catalan was joined in Spain by Jose Mourinho in 2010, who set about trying to disrupt Barcelona’s dominance with Real Madrid.
A fierce rivalry developed between the two Spanish giants, with Mourinho instilling an ‘us against the world’ mentality in his players, which spilled over in the form of red cards and trademark mind-games tactics in interviews. And Barcelona legend Pique, who played under Guardiola, believes it had a huge role in the current Manchester City manager leaving in 2012.
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.”
Do you think Pep Guardiola was the victor in his rivalry with Jose Mourinho at Barcelona? Let us know in the comments section.
Barcelona won the domestic title over Mourinho in 2010/2011 but only managed to clinch the Copa del Rey the following season, before Guardiola took a break from football management. Pique believes the drama had all become too much for the two-time Champions League winner.
When asked by Neville if Guardiola didn’t like how toxic things got between the two clubs, the centre-back said: “I don’t think so. I remember the semi-final of the Champions League in the Bernabeu, he did an amazing press conference but it was not about football.
“He enjoys talking about what is happening on the pitch and here there was a moment where the press was focusing on what was happening outside the pitch.”
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