The rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola is about to be renewed.
After years of spats and high-profile games between the two rival coaches in Spain, they are set to face off again — this time in England.
Guardiola, who used to thrive with Barcelona, will begin his stint at Manchester City next season. Jose Mourinho, who succeeded with Real Madrid, is on his way to Manchester United after his appointment on a three-year contract was announced Friday.
There was plenty of controversy when the two met while coaching the Spanish powerhouses in the early 2010s, with incidents on and off the field.
Barcelona was doing well under Guardiola when Mourinho arrived at Real Madrid in 2010, and in the first game between the two, Barcelona thrashed Madrid 5-0 at the Camp Nou.
In the Copa del Rey final later that year, Real Madrid won the title and Mourinho took his first stab at Guardiola.
After the Barcelona coach lamented a close offside call that ruled out a goal by forward Pedro, Mourinho said that a "new era in football was beginning, one in which coaches criticize the correct decisions made by referees, not the wrong ones."
Guardiola said he knew Mourinho well and the Portuguese coach was only trying to provoke him. He said such antics would not work, and he would answer them at an appropriate time.
The response came before Barcelona and Real Madrid played in the semifinals of the Champion League in 2011.
"The teams will meet tomorrow on the pitch, but off the field he has already won, he has won his own Champions off the field," Guardiola said of Mourinho, using an expletive. "In this press conference room, he is the (big) boss, he is the one who knows it all. I don't want to even start competing against him here."
Guardiola said he was surprised by Mourinho's animosity toward him considering they worked together for four years at Barcelona, when Guardiola was a player and Mourinho an assistant coach.
"He knows me and I know him," Guardiola said. "If he prefers to pay more attention to the point of view of the (Madrid-friendly) media and not to the relationship that we had, then he can do it. It's his decision and it's his right."
Later in 2011, during a brawl in a Spanish Super Cup game between the rival teams, Mourinho was caught by television cameras poking the eye of Tito Vilanova, then an assistant to Guardiola at Barcelona.
Guardiola's Barcelona won most of the "clasicos" against Mourinho's Madrid during the three seasons the Portuguese coach was in Spain.
In addition to winning the league in 2011-12, Mourinho also won the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup titles before ending his stint with Madrid. He and the club parted ways after what Mourinho called his worst season ever in 2012-13.
He was without a job since December after leaving Chelsea following a poor start to the season.
Guardiola won nearly every title possible with Barcelona before leaving the club to join Bayern Munich in 2013.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/tales-azzoni