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Xavi v Mourinho: Barca star slams Special One’s football legacy

| 08.01.2014

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has re-opened his war of words with Jose Mourinho by slamming the Portuguese manager’s style of football.

The pair clashed constantly when Mourinho was in charge of Barca’s great rivals Real Madrid and now the Spain international has taken another swipe at the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, claiming his side’s do not leave any legacy.

The 33-year-old, who has made 458 appearances for Barcelona since starting his career at the Nou Camp in 1998, cites Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff, both former Blaugrana managers, as coaches who have the right football philosophy.

“Pep Guardiola is an important person for me – Jose Mourinho is a coach who focuses only on results,” Xavi told Panenka magazine.

“He says he is ‘The Special One’ because he won this and that in so many countries but I do not like the way his teams play.

“Who remembers the Inter side who were champions of Europe? For me, he has not left a legacy, unlike Cruyff has in the Netherlands,” the 2010 World Soccer Player of the Year added.

In his second stint as Chelsea boss, Mourinho, who is a two-time Champions League winner, has successfully guided his Blues side to the last 16 of this season’s competition.

Despite defeat to Basel on the opening matchday, Chelsea, who face Didier Drogba’s Galatasaray in the next round, recovered to safely negotiate a group containing German side Schalke and Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest.

And with the Champions League the only major piece of silverware to elude the former Porto boss during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, the 50-year-old will be desperate to put that record straight with the Blues 14/1 to lift the trophy for the second time in their history.

But with Barcelona still in the competition and Lionel Messi set to make his long awaited comeback from injury, Xavi could still have the last laugh in his rivalry with Mourinho and the Catalan giants are 9/2 second favourites behind Guardiola’s Bayern Munich to win the European Cup for a fifth time.

And who knows, on the 24th May at  the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, Xavi and Mourinho could get the chance to once and for all settle their differences if Barcelona and Chelsea go all the way to the Champions League final, which is on at 28/1 with Ladbrokes. Game On!

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Oliver Yew