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Gerard Pique claims Jose Mourinho ‘destroyed’ Pep Guardiola who now has bigger Premier League legacy with fourth title

Football manager extraordinaire Pep Guardiola has compellingly claimed his fourth Premier League title in six seasons as Manchester City edged out Liverpool for domestic glory in a thrilling cliffhanger sizzling with an unrestrained Steven Gerrard Villa side threatening to pull the plug on the Sky Blues’ title challenge from the get-go.

And while the resourceful Spaniard most consider to be the best manager in football has again pipped his toughest rival in the current football landscape, his latest trophy acquisition has also given him bragging rights over his longtime nemesis – Jose Mourinho.

The latter won three Premier League titles in two spells with Chelsea but

Guardiola’s fourth league title in England means he has now eclipsed the Portuguese’s achievement. The 51-year-old’s Etihad side have broken numerous records including being the only team to win 100 league points during a campaign.

Guardiola is also the first and only manager to win the domestic treble in English football after Klopp came up short in the league again this time around.

There have been spicy tales spun about the way in which Mourinho purportedly put an end to his time in Spain, hence the Spaniard’s latest Premier League trophy would now be especially satisfying for him to successfully overhaul the Portuguese’s success in England.

The Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry reached its heights when the Portuguese was at Real Madrid and Guardiola was at Barcelona, although the origins were already in place before that.

Both being two of football’s greatest managers, Mourinho led Inter Milan between 2008-10 to take on reigning European champions Barcelona in the semi-finals of the 2009/10 Champions League, with cup holders Barca then being favorites to win, after having claimed a win and a draw when the two sides met in the group stages during Pep and Jose’s first meetings as managers but things didn’t quite pan out as expected.

Inter won the first leg 3-1 and the ten-man squad managed to persevere their way into the final despite a 1-0 defeat at the Nou Camp.

“It is the most beautiful defeat of my life,” Mourinho said after. “It is a style of blood not skill. We were a team of heroes.”

Inter clung on tenaciously and went on on to win the Champions League and equal Barcelona’s 2008/09 achievement of winning a treble, which subsequently led to Real Madrid calling upon the Portuguese to serve as their new manager.

The following years saw a fierce rivalry developing between the two managers, with reports of scandalous incidents including eye-gouging and hair jibes. Understandably, with the likes of a feisty, fiery Mourinho in the thick of the action, the reports may contain some vestige of truth!

When Mourinho finally ended Guardiola’s spectacular run of three LaLiga titles, the Spaniard finally decided it was high time to step away from football and opted for a one-year sabbatical.

This is where Gerard Pique, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, believes it was the Portuguese rival’s mind-games that were a leading factor for the Spaniard deciding to call time temporarily on his career.

Pique claimed Guardiola needed a break after his intense battles with Mourinho. Speaking to Gary Neville’s Overlap podcast, Pique said: “We were winning everything at the time and I remember that the first time Mourinho came to Camp Nou he lost 5-0 against us.

“It was a shock of reality that these guys are going hard, but in the press conferences every time he was, you know his style, and I think that for Guardiola at some point it was too much.

“It was more important sometimes what happened off the pitch than on the pitch. Guardiola left.

“Madrid won the league that year and all of a sudden he decided to leave for so many reasons, but I am sure part of it was because with Mourinho it got too much.”

After his New York City sabbatical and a subsequently rejuvenating spell at Bayern Munich, Guardiola arrived refreshed at Man City where he outlasted Mourinho twice as the latter underwent ill-fated stints at Manchester United and Tottenham.

And although unintentional, yet still adding insult to injury nonetheless, Guardiola has recently claimed Jurgen Klopp is the rival he’ll always remember as the man who posed the greatest challenges in his unchequered career. That would surely come as a stinging insult to Mourinho.

“Jurgen, as a manager, has been the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career and I think what both teams propose is good for football,” he said last month.

“The point is not a jibe to Jose.

“He is an exciting manager and I was his rival but I’ve been here five years and played many more times against Liverpool.

“Except the year we made 100 points, the rest were tight. It is because they are good and hopefully they think we are good too.

“I will remember my period here, when I’m retired watching and playing golf, I’ll remember my biggest rival was Liverpool, for sure.”

As a final note of interest, regardless of whoever was/is, Guardiola’s biggest rival ultimately, there’s no denying he got the better of the both of them – another notable achievement in his glittering CV.