Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have laughed off suggestions that they might not shake each other’s hands ahead of Manchester United and Manchester City’s game on Monday in Beijing.
Mourinho and Guardiola’s rivalry has been well-documented because of their tenures at Real Madrid and Barcelona, which became rather heated at times. Since taking over Manchester City and Manchester United in the summer the English press has looked to amp up their rivalry, even though both have looked to downplay it.
Ahead of Manchester United and Manchester City’s friendly match over in Beijing, China, on Monday, both managers were quizzed by the media and were asked about the chances that they might not shake hands before the game.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 24, 2016
Guardiola answered, “Of course, we are polite guys. Why not? Why should he not shake my hand? No reason why. He wants to win, I want to win, that’s all. But it’s a friendly game – a really friendly game.”
Jose Mourinho was also asked about whether he would shake Pep’s hand, and he was somewhat offended by the notion that he wouldn’t. According to the Daily Mail, the Portuguese manager remarked, “To qualify the question I would use some impolite words. Of course, I shake his hand. Why shouldn’t we?”
Mourinho continued, “I don’t understand the question to him and I don’t understand the question to myself. We worked together in Barcelona for three years. We were opponents in other clubs but we are just professionals and we have normal relations. Why shouldn’t we shake hands? I don’t see the reason for the question.”
Guardiola even looked to extend an olive branch to Mourinho, as he predicted that the former Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid manager will improve Manchester United after the tepid tenures of both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I saw their game against Borussia Dortmund and that’s all. It’s too early to know how Manchester United will be,” Guardiola insisted. “I’m pretty sure they will be stronger than the last years. With this manager and the good players they already have – I’m sure they are going to buy new players – and they will be a strong team.”
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho’s rivalry reached a head after Mourinho was appointed as Real Madrid manager in May, 2010. By this point, Pep Guardiola had already been in charge over at Barcelona since the start of 2008.
They had numerous run-ins as both looked to make their teams the most dominant in La Liga. While Barcelona won La Liga on two occasions compared to Real Madrid’s one during the three-year tenure that both were in charge in Spain, Mourinho was much more imposing and dominant with the press.
José Mourinho on Pep Guardiola: “Of course I’ll shake his hand. I don’t understand the question.” pic.twitter.com/eJReN360cl
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) July 24, 2016
Manchester United’s preparation for their game with Manchester City on Monday has been particularly chaotic. Not only has Mourinho already raised concerns over the pitch at Beijing’s National Stadium, but a plane carrying some of United’s squad had to be diverted around 70 miles away to Tianjin because of bad weather, while Jose Mourinho’s press conference had to be held in a different location because according to a United spokesperson it was “too hot and full.”
Mourinho said of the chaos, via the Guardian, “The second group was unlucky. The plane was not good, they had a storm and had to land in [Tianjin] for about a couple of hours. They sought to come by bus then they got the plane and they arrived in the hotel to have dinner at one o’clock in the morning. The players are good guys. They had a smile on their faces, which is good.”
[Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images]