After quotes from the Portuguese surfaced threatening to do physical damage to the Arsenal boss, it is the latest chapter in an ongoing rivalry between the two managers.
“I will find him one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face.”
Jose Mourinho’s hatred for Arsene Wenger is sincere as it comes. Over the years, the Portuguese has launched verbal attacks on his managerial rival that have gone as far as calling him a “voyeur” and “specialist in failure”, but the latest barbs revealed in a new book about the Manchester United boss give a further indication of just how it has become more personal than ever.
The serialisation of a new book about Mourinho by Rob Beasley, a journalist who has built a close relationship with the Portuguese during his time at Chelsea and Real Madrid, wrote the revelations after exchanging messages and emails with the United boss over the past few years. These latest comments are the kind of words you’d expect to hear in a Sunday League match or in the realms of a pub around a ground.
Mourinho also reportedly took offence to Wenger’s plan to sign Petr Cech two seasons ago and blamed the Frenchman for unsettling his goalkeeper, despite the Czech international wanting to leave when he found out Thibaut Courtois would be the Blues’ No.1 shot-stopper that season. His way of retaliation, according to the email, was to try and unsettle Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, claiming that he could make a young player good, whereas Wenger couldn’t.
These quotes have coincidentally been published a day before Arsenal’s huge Premier League clash against the Blues at Stamford Bridge – a match that Mourinho will be following closely after his recent run of three consecutive defeats as United manager. It’s also 20 years since Wenger became boss of Arsenal and it would be no surprise to see Mourinho timing his comments in a bid to take the shine off the Frenchman’s special day,
When Wenger celebrated his 1000th game as Arsenal manager, the Gunners ended the day by losing 6-0 to a Mourinho side at Stamford Bridge. It was embarrassing, shameful and even saw a touchline scrap between the two coaches in which Wenger ended up pushing his counterpart – a rare example of the Arsenal boss completely losing his cool. Only the retired Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was capable of bringing these emotions out of Wenger, but this time the line has been crossed.
This is no longer a clash of cultures and footballing philosophies, instead it appears a personal vendetta against the longest-serving manager in the league. Perhaps Mourinho is jealous of the respect Wenger courts due to his calmness outside of football, ability to answer any question asked of him and the fact that the stability he has been given at Arsenal will guarantee a legacy that he can never reach.
Wenger’s famous quote from almost a decade ago still has resonance today. “When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”