Mourinho vs Villas-Boas, a feud over Bobby Robson's legacy
The two Portuguese managers are no longer friends and come face to face on Saturday
JOSE MOURINHO, the so-called special one, faces his former assistant and protege, Andre Villas-Boas, for the first time as a manager this weekend as Chelsea take on Spurs in the Premier League.
The pair's connection dates back to 1994 when Mourinho was working as a translator for English manager Bobby Robson at Porto, and Villas-Boas was a young supporter who Robson took under his wing. The pair were thrown together with the younger Villas-Boas cutting his teeth as a coach and strategist for Mourinho at Chelsea and then Inter Milan, before embarking on his own career as a manager.
Yet the pair are no longer friends, at AVB's own admission, according to the BBC. Their relationship has "broken down", he said, ahead of the game this weekend. "I don't lose any sleep," he added.
The Guardian chronicles their time together and explains how the bond between the two Portuguese managers broke down.
"There will no doubt be a handshake and smiles staged for the cameras on the touchline prior to kick-off, but theirs is a relationship that fractured long ago," writes Dominic Fifield. "Now, as rivals across the London divide [and] title contenders whose mutual antipathy runs deep, reconciliation will have to wait."
Relations between the pair were cordial until 2010, when Villas-Boas took over at Porto, less than a year after leaving Mourinho's tutelage following a seven-year association with the 'special one' and embarking on his own career as a manager.
There are many theories about the causes of the rift, says Fifield. Mourinho may have seen Porto as a threat and may have been irked that Villas-Boas was cutting his teeth at the same club as he had.
"Another explanation is more personal: that Villas-Boas overplayed – whether intentionally or not – the late Robson's influence on his fledgling career and therefore underplayed that of Mourinho," says Fifield. "It was as if each Portuguese was competing to be the late England manager's student-made-good."
Whatever the reason, their rivalry is potent. "Tottenham and Chelsea is hardly a derby in need of added spice but here it is, in the form of the two Portuguese managers, so similar and yet so different, once friends and now bitter rivals," says the Daily Mail. "There is mutual respect, but any genuine warmth they once shared has gone." ·