As usual, Jose Mourinho can’t help himself from criticizing enemies in another European league. This time he has continued his spat with his successor at Inter Milan and Chelsea FC Rafa Benitez (who is managing Napoli in Serie A). In the Friday press conference, Mourinho claimed Chelsea were unsuccessful last season and had problems being consistent despite winning the Europa League.
Rafa Benetiz responded that Mourinho has had no European success as a Chelsea manager. He went on to mention the two times his Liverpool teams knocked out Mourinho and Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals (2005 and 2007). In both instances Liverpool faced AC Milan, winning the title in 2005. In his first spell at Chelsea, Mourinho never touched European silverware let alone reached the final.
The feud started when the two began their first spells in English football back in 2004. Both of them were coming off European success with their previous clubs – Mourinho’s Porto winning the Champions League and Benitez leading Valencia to victory in the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League). During their 3-year tenures (2004-07), the two faced off 16 times with the record – Chelsea 7 wins, Liverpool 5 wins, and 4 draws.
While Mourinho helped Chelsea claim domestic glory with two consecutive league titles, he had trouble against Liverpool in the Champions League as mentioned above. It was a fascinating rivalry as the two always played mind games trying to one up each other. The rivalry did not end there as Mourinho crititiczed Benetiz’s Inter Milan stint. Mourinho had just won the treble with the Serie A club in 2009-10, but Rafa Benitez struggled to implement his playing system and was dismissed in December 2010 after only six months.
The two re-ignited words again this past summer as Mourinho downplayed Rafa Benitez’s half-season at Chelsea. He gave no credit to Benetiz for a better second half after Roberto Di Matteo had a disappointing start to the season. No matter where these two polarizing are managing, they will continue their rivalry. The two might face off again next year as Chelsea and Napoli are on course to qualify for next year’s Champions League..
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