Jose Mourinho’s feud with Arsene Wenger shows no sign of abating after the Arsenal manager would not let Mourinho sit next to him at a UEFA conference. Spanish newspaper Marca claims Mourinho arrived late at a speech being delivered by one of his Old Trafford predecessors, Sir Alex Ferguson. Spotting a seat opposite Paris Saint-Germain manager Unai Emery and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and next to Wenger, the 53-year-old asked if he could occupy the space. Marca reports that, without batting an eyelid, Wenger replied: ‘No, it isn’t possible.’
Wenger is regarded as having ‘won’ the exchange, with other managers in the room laughing at his response to the Manchester United boss. It is a role reversal for the duo, with Mourinho often being perceived as the aggressor in a relationship that has been strained since his arrival on English shores in 2004. As recently as his second spell at Chelsea, Mourinho referred to Wenger as a ‘specialist in failure’ and rarely avoided an opportunity to point out his lack of Premier League titles since 2004.
The rivalry began with Wenger criticising Mourinho’s defensive playing style. In August 2005 he said:
‘I know we live in a world where we have only winners and losers, but once a sport encourages teams who refuse to take the initiative, the sport is in danger.’
Mourinho fired back two months later, saying:
‘Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have this big telescope to look into the homes of other people and see what is happening. Wenger must be one of them – it is a sickness.’
Wenger shoved Mourinho during a high-tempered contest at Stamford Bridge in October 2014 as the rivalry resumed once Chelsea had re-hired Mourinho. As recently as September 2015 Mourinho took a dig at Wenger, saying he was the only manager in the Premier League who could get away with not winning the championship.
Old foes meet again!