Where Does Guardiola V Klopp Rank In The Great Managerial Rivalries?

Where Does Guardiola V Klopp Rank In The Great Managerial Rivalries?
12:00, 03 Aug 2019

Anyone who watched the excellent All Or Nothing: Manchester City series on Amazon couldn’t have helped but have been struck by the reverence Pep Guardiola had for Jurgen Klopp.

While not intense enough to be described as hate or even fear, the Manchester City boss spoke about Klopp and his talented Liverpool team in hushed tones.

The rivalry, often described as “mutual respect” will be reignited when the teams meet in the Community Shield on Sunday. Last season’s emotionally draining but endlessly fascinating title race between the North West rivals could be repeated again this term despite the lavish spending seen elsewhere in the Premier League over the summer.

It got us thinking about the great managerial rivalries in club football when managers loved to hate.

Alex Ferguson v Arsene Wenger

The two are seemingly the best of friends these days, with Sir Alex even presenting the Frenchman with a gift on his final visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal boss.

But at the height of their rivalry, these two from vastly different backgrounds would regularly clash on the touchline and press conferences were full of barbed remarks and insults. 

As Manchester United and Arsenal dominated the title races in the 1990s and 2000s, the relationship between the pair became a fascinating subplot and left us with a legacy of enduring images and soundbites.

Pep Guardiola v Jose Mourinho

Mourinho famously courted Barcelona to get the top job at the club where he worked alongside Sir Bobby Robson and his disappointment on being overlooked manifested itself in a war of attrition with Guardiola when the Portuguese boss was the manager of Real Madrid. The two giants slugged it out at the top of La Liga and the verbal battle between the two often dominated the front and back pages in Spain more than the actual games.

While Mourinho was happy to goad Guardiola, the Catalonian often appeared tired of the whole soap opera. The pair would clash again in Manchester but both protagonists seemed rather more mellow than under the heat of the spotlight in Spain.

Brian Clough v Don Revie

A relationship which forms the central thread of the brilliant film The Damned United, Clough’s early admiration of Revie was never reciprocated and led to a deep distrust between the pair.

Despite remarkably similar upbringings and beginnings, the pair simply didn’t get on, clashing over styles and approaches to football. After being sacked as Leeds boss, Clough famously locked horns with his predecessor Revie in a legendary Yorkshire TV Calendar interview which had viewers gripped and deserves repeated viewing.

Clough had only lasted 44 days at Elland Road after Revie’s former players revolted in support of their former mentor. Clough would have the last laugh on his former employers, inspiring Nottingham Forest to domestic and European success.       

Sir Alex Ferguson v Kevin Keegan

When the cracks started to appear in Newcastle United’s title charge in 1996, Sir Alex Ferguson needed no second invitation to get into Kevin Keegan’s head.

The Magpies were twelve points clear of United at one point but when Keegan famously spat: “I will love it if we beat them - love it!” Fergie knew he’d struck a chord.

Manchester United went on to win the Premier League while Newcastle stumbled to the end of the season with Keegan leaving the following season.