x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Old enemies collide

The Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho and his Juventus counterpart Claudio Ranieri clash for real tomorrow after a number of verbal spats.

The former Chelsea managers Jose Mourinho, pictured, and Claudio Ranieri are not the best of friends.
The former Chelsea managers Jose Mourinho, pictured, and Claudio Ranieri are not the best of friends.

MILAN // Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho and Juventus counterpart Claudio Ranieri clash for real tomorrow after a number of verbal spats between the former Chelsea managers. The pair are far from being best of friends given their recent past, differing styles and their clubs' Serie A rivalry.

Ranieri built up an impressive Chelsea side only to be sacked in 2004 and watch Mourinho take over and lead the London club to two Premier League titles. The debate about how much credit each man deserved for Chelsea's success rumbles on and almost as soon as Mourinho arrived at champions Inter in June, a personal feud began. The charasmatic and direct Mourinho constrasts markedly with the avuncular and calm Ranieri. The Portuguese coach has criticised Ranieri's knowledge of English and accused the 57-year-old of being too long in the tooth among other jibes.

Ranieri has mixed views about his rival. "I don't like it how he creates controversies," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Do I like anything about him? Yes, the fact that all his players speak highly of him, as it means that he manages to forge a great rapport with them. Our frictions have nothing to do with the fact that he replaced me at Chelsea. "I knew I was on borrowed time but I believe I still had a superb season - managing to lift the Blues into fourth place without spending any money."

Mourinho meanwhile said: "I studied Italian five hours a day for many months to ensure I could communicate with the players, media and fans," he said. "Ranieri had been in England for five years and still struggled to say 'good morning' and 'good afternoon.' "In his mentality he said that does not need to win to be happy. He may have had this mentality for this almost 60 years. "He has won a Super Cup, a small cup. He has never won a major trophy. Maybe he needs to change his mindset but he is too old to do it."

The match between the clubs is called the "Derby of Italy". "The rivalry with Juventus is older, more traditional and linked to scudettos. Instead the rivalry with AC Milan is because we are from the same city," Inter president Massimo Moratti said. * Reuters