Inter Milan – Barcelona – Xavi, the memory of 2010 and the anti-Mourinho: “My teams will never have this attitude”

An indelible mark. An unforgettable memory. And perhaps a founding element. Whether he watches it or not, Xavi’s career remains marked in a certain way by Inter Milan, whom he will find this Tuesday in the Champions League. And if he has never won at Giuseppe-Meazza in three appearances (two defeats, one draw), it is obviously the double confrontation of 2010 against Inter by a certain José Mourinho which is at the origin of that. “I remember those two games well. (…) Being eliminated after dominating so much was a pain“, thus recognized in 2018 Xavi in ​​the Corriere dello Sport.

Xavi (FC Barcelona) – Marko Popovic (Eurosport.fr)

Credit: Eurosport

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That year, FC Barcelona fell on a bone. Flamboyant, Barça, which had put Europe at its feet and seemed to be heading for a historic double in the queen competition of the Old Continent, broke on the wall defined by José Mourinho. 3-1 defeats in Milan, Xavi and co were unable to reverse the trend of a comeback (1-0) against the “Special One” warriors, despite a clear domination on the lawn. Whether on the tactical level or in terms of the collective strength instilled in his group to erect an impregnable fort, this double opposition remains as one of the masterpieces of José Mourinho’s career.

Who still remembers his Inter European champion? For me he left no legacy

At the heart of the action during the 180 minutes, Xavi has obviously not forgotten this episode. He also made no secret of having been impressed by the “sacrifices” accepted by the Nerazzurri like Samuel Eto’o, who played laterally in a “splendid way”. Years later, when he changed his suit to sit on a bench, he was then able to draw inspiration from it to build himself as a coach. But not asked by walking in the footsteps of the Lombards of 2010. It would even be quite the opposite.

Regularly after this internal failure, the former metronome of the Catalan midfielder returned to this Champions League campaign. And the least we can say is that it only reinforced his desire to see his teams another producer chosen than what he had seen on those evenings of April 2010.José Mourinho is a coach who only focuses on results. He says he’s the Special One, he’s won this and that in a lot of countries, but I don’t like the way the teams he coaches play. Who still remembers his European champion Inter? For me, he left no legacy, like Cruyff did.“, had launched Xavi in ​​the magazine Panenka in 2013.

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I like a different type of football

A few years after his departure from Barça as a player and when he aspired to become a coach, the one who became the coach of the Blaugrana last season had put it back in the Italian daily Corriere dello Sport. “Mourinho is a very defensive coach. Playing against Inter was not easy. It’s his style and he put it into practice with Chelsea and Real Madridlaunched the Spaniard again in 2018. He cares about all the details, he fills in the gaps. (…) I like a different type of football. I’m not criticizing, but I don’t like to play football that way and my teams will never have that attitude.”

If the rivalry with Mourinho during the three seasons he sat on the Real Madrid bench (2010-2013) is obviously at the heart of this observation made by Xavi, this episode of 2010 clearly marked him with a red iron. And that reinforced him in an idea: to put in place a different philosophy of play than that developed by the “Mou”. With clear principles, focused on the game of possession, conservation, high pressing. Like his mentor… Pep Guardiola. “I was raised in a football in which I believe in a radical way. attacking football. (…), he had been recognized at L’Equipe in 2017. I am radical in my vision of the foot. I know there are other balloons, I respect them“. But that’s not what he wants to see from his players. And that’s not the legacy he wants to leave.

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