The former Blaugrana great’s team-mate Xavi has also echoed his criticism of the Portuguese tactician.
Barcelona’s iconic midfielder Andres Iniesta cited Jose Mourinho as the person who caused the hatred between the two biggest Spanish clubs, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The midfielder believes that the Portuguese provoked many on-field battles between the two sides which led to the ‘crossing of the lines’ during his time with Los Blancos.
Jose Mourinho managed Real Madrid for three seasons winning three trophies at the Spanish capital. Many fans and pundits credit Mourinho to be the driving force that revoked Real Madrid’s status as a European giant by reaching the semi-finals of UEFA Champions League in each of his three seasons at Santiago Bernabeu.
But while he was winning on the field with the club, his off the field antics led to him being hated and disliked by many. Andres Iniesta believes the rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Mourinho worsened the circumstances between the two sides’ players, which created tensions in the national team dressing room.
The pair were into bad-mouthing each other almost every time the two sides met, and the Spanish World Cup winner credits Jose Mourinho for all of it.
“Mourinho was the key component in the bad blood between Barcelona and Real Madrid in that era. Lines were crossed,” Iniesta told laSexta.
“This caused a lot of harm in the national team. It was surreal. You didn’t see the rivalry, you saw hatred. The environment was cultivated and unbearable,” he added.
Another Barcelona midfielder and Iniesta’s teammate Xavi described Mourinho’s defensive style of play as something that he doesn’t enjoy.
“Mourinho is a very defensive manager and playing against his Inter hasn’t been easy,” Xavi told Corriere dello Sport last month.
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“That’s his football and he put it in practice even with Chelsea and Real. He cares about all the details, he shuts all the gaps and he doesn’t give you much space. I like another kind of football. It’s not a criticism to him, but I don’t enjoy playing football in that way and my teams won’t ever have that attitude,” Xavi added.
Jose Mourinho moved from Real Madrid to Chelsea in 2013 and later landed in Manchester United in 2016. While Pep Guardiola spent three years from 2013 to 2016 in Bayern Munich, joining Manchester City in 2016, marking a new turn in Manchester derbies with both Mourinho and Guardiola being just six miles apart.