I’ll find Wenger and break his face…Shocking depth of Jose Mourinho’s loathing and total hatred of arch rival, Arsene Wenger revealed in damning new book, JOSE MOURINHO – Up Close and Personal.
When you publicly denounce someone as a ‘specialist in failure’ and a ‘voyeur’, it is abundantly clear you don’t like them much.
What must Jose Mourinho’s views on Arsene Wenger be like away from the cameras and microphones? Unsurprisingly, they’re even more damning and the gloves have been well and truly off whenever the matter of Monsieur Wenger has been raised.
A couple of times Jose even talked about wanting to physically fight the Frenchman. That’s how bitter and basic their rivalry has become over the years.
It’s a deep dislike that has festered into one of the longest-running feuds in football, with the pair clashing ever since Mourinho first arrived in England in 2004.
Relations have deteriorated steadily since then and now both men find it impossible to hide their scorn.
In the summer of 2013 Mourinho returned to the Premier League with Chelsea, once again becoming a direct rival of the Arsenal boss. It didn’t take long for hostilities to be renewed.
The following January Wenger spoke out about Chelsea’s plans to sell star midfielder Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37million. Asked if he was surprised at the move, Wenger replied: ‘Yes I am, because they sell a great player to a direct opponent.’
He then made the point that Chelsea had already played United twice that season so Mata could not hurt them but his quality could hurt teams like Arsenal who had only played United once. ‘It opens up again questions about the dates of this transfer window,’ said Wenger.
Mourinho saw this as yet more evidence of Wenger’s obsession with all things Chelsea but for once he bit his tongue. That all changed the following month.
Wenger had made a thinly disguised dig about Mourinho deliberately playing down Chelsea’s chances of being crowned champions because of a ‘fear to fail’. It was too much for the ultra-competitive Mourinho to resist, so when he was asked about Wenger’s comments he let fly.
‘You know, he is a specialist in failure. Eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure. If I do that at Chelsea I leave London and I don’t come back.’
Mourinho had carried out a cold-blooded assassination of his enemy in broad daylight. Inevitably it was too gory for some, who believed Jose’s brutal honesty was too vicious and vindictive. Not to him it wasn’t.
A few days later he was still pumped up about it all, telling me: ‘When Mr Wenger criticises CFC and Man United over the deal with Mata…I will find him one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face.’
Sure enough, a few weeks later Jose did give Wenger a beating. It was March 22, 2014, the day of the Frenchman’s 1,000th game as a manager, and it just happened to be an away match at Chelsea. Final score: Chelsea 6 Arsenal 0.
Wenger was utterly humiliated, so much so that he ducked out of the usual post-match press conference. His excuse was that the Arsenal team coach was about to leave.
Jose was quick to mock Wenger for that, joking with me: ‘Next time I lose a game I don’t go to the press conference because the team bus is waiting for me.’
No sympathy, no remorse, no regrets. Wenger had become the man Mourinho just loved to hate.
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-Extracted from JOSE MOURINHO: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL by Robert Beasley, published by Michael O’Mara on September 29 at £16.99. ©Robert Beasley 2016.