Mourinho v Ranieri is a veritable grudge match
Even Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have got on better of late and the only coach to have real gripes with new Argentina boss Diego Maradona is Scotland no. 2 Terry Butcher.
The feud between Mourinho and Ranieri, which comes to the boil in Saturday’s match between Serie A leaders Inter and in-form Juve, originated at Chelsea where the Special One took over from the sacked Italian in 2004 and promptly went and won two Premier League titles.
The usually modest Ranieri feels he deserves more credit for building up the Chelsea team ahead of Mourinho’s arrival (Petr Cech and Arjen Robben for example) but the confident Portuguese is having none of it, saying Ranieri’s English at Chelsea was laughable and implying the 57-year-old is past his sell by date.
Their contrasting styles and the already strong rivalry between the two clubs promises fireworks this weekend, with Juve able to join Inter at the top with a win. ‘Grudge match’ is a horrid cliche, but just this once I think it applies.
Inter v Juve is actually known as the ‘Derby of Italy’ because they have battled against each other for the title so often.
The rivalry is fiercer than Inter v AC Milan in many respects. Remember, Inter were given the title when Juve were stripped of the scudetto and demoted in 2006. Inter then signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Patrick Vieira off their rivals to further infuriate fans of the Turin-based club.
Despite talk of the two managers making peace, they will probably end up disliking each other even more after Saturday.
PHOTO: Claudio Ranieri blows a kiss to Chelsea fans knowing his days are numbered at the London club back in May 2004 REUTERS