By John Egbokhan
Today’s Manchester derby is more of a grudge game than a mere football battle between two of England’s biggest clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Grudge is the common theme revolving around today’s high-octane derby at Old Trafford and it is directed at City boss, Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola ranks amongst the leading coaches after his exploits at Barcelona, where he won two Champions League crowns in 2009 and 2011, three consecutive La Liga titles from 2009 to 2011, two Copa del Rey shields in 2009 and 2011, three Supercope de Espana crowns in 2009, 2010 and 2011, two UEFA Super Cup crowns in 2009 and 2011 and two FIFA Club World Cup titles in 2009 and 2011.
He also won three consecutive Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich but failed to reach the final of the Champions League thrice with the Bavarians.
Interestingly, most of his landmark achievements were attained at Barcelona, a club reputed for their tititaka style of attacking football. But as they say in life, achievements may breed enemies, which Guardiola certainly has because of his radical nature in handling players he feels are not necessary to the actualisation of his plans.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one striker, with an axe to grind with Guardiola, for shoving him out of Barcelona when the lanky Swede striker thought he was still in his prime. Guardiola had his reasons for pushing Ibrahimovic out and went on to justify such by leading Barca to conquer Europe, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta and Xavi pulling the strings from midfield.
Ibrahimovic did no take the decision with kids gloves, branding Guardiola a traitor and spineless coward. In the days leading to today’s match, Ibrahimovic re-echoed this harsh view, describing his former Barca boss as “a coach who pull down the curtains and stands in the way of a player’s progress”.
He is filled with loathe against Guardiola and has an opportunity to express it on the pitch today when he leads Man Utd’s attack against Man City, an opportunity he insists he would not let slip past him without making a football statement on the pitch.
“My quality on the pitch will speak for me today, so that the world can see that Guardiola is a spineless coward”, said Ibrahimovic. Another person with a grudge against Guardiola is Man Utd’s boss, Jose Mourinho. There is no love lost between the two flamboyant coaches, from their days at Barca and Chelsea, to Barca and Real Madrid and now at City and Man Utd.
Mourinho prides himself as a coach, who has won domestic titles in England, Italy, Spain and Portugal and two Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan. He rates himself higher than Guardiola and both coaches never seem to hold back from hitting each other at the slightest provocation.
Their rivalry got to a feverish height during their time in Spain, with games between Barca and Real Madrid often times, ending in controversial circumstances.
And it is believed that this rivalry will be on show today, as the two managers dish out instructions to their wards from their torch-lines, with sparks and spats expected to fly out as the Manchester derby descends into a grudge game.
The post #ManchesterDerby: Ibrahimovic, Mourinho in grudge game against Guardiiola appeared first on Vanguard News.