Mourinho is a better coach than Guardiola, says Maradona

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
Feb 20th, 2012
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EXCLUSIVE – Jose Mourinho may not be so ‘special’ in the eyes of some Real Madrid fans, while to Barcelona devotees he is nothing more than a ‘translator’. But to Diego Maradona the Portuguese tactician will always be the “best”.

Mourinho has come in for vitriolic criticism from sections of the Bernabeu crowd this season, despite his side opening up a sizeable lead over Barca at the top of La Liga.

A first title in four years and a fourth league winner’s medal in as many countries for the ‘Special One’ beckons. But that is still proving not enough to appease disgruntled Madridistas, who remain resentful of Mourinho’s defence-minded tactics and their sides’ apparent inability to beat their Catalan rivals.

In 10 games the two sides have met since Mourinho came to power on the back of his treble winning exploits with Internazionale in 2010, Madrid have lost five, drawn four and won just once, requiring extra-time to see off Barca in last season’s Copa del Rey final.

As such question marks remain over Mourinho’s long-term future in the Spanish capital. Just two years into a four-year deal, and amid talk that he has grown “tired” of life in Spain, many believe he will return to the English Premier League this summer, with former club Chelsea mooted as a possible destination.

It’s a marked difference in Catalunya where boss Pep Guardiola has a job for life. Barca born and bred, ‘Pep’ can do no wrong having won 13 major trophies in just three-and-a-half years in the Camp Nou hot-seat, including two Champions League crowns in the previous four seasons.

But when we asked Maradona, in his exclusive interview with Sport360°, who he thought reigned supreme between the two men, there was only ever going to be one winner.

“I adore Mourinho. As a man, as a trainer and coach and as a psychologist. For me he is the best,” said Maradona. When put to the Argentine that he has an affinity to the outspoken Portuguese because, like him, he is also controversial, Maradona replies with a smile. “That is in the bag as well.”

Maradona, who spent two years with Barca between 1982-1984, reserves a special mention for Guardiola though, who at just 41 is already the club’s most successful manager in their illustrious history, and believes he will continue to go from strength to strength.

“Pep is an excellent man. I know Guardiola very well, but maybe he doesn’t get as much merit because he has impressive players. Let’s not forget though that Pep is very young and has a great career ahead of him,” he said.

“But Mourinho can turn a coin into a rose and that’s the reason for the big difference on my affection for him. I’m not in love with him or anything,” he laughs. “But he is an exceptional guy.”

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