If you look only at the Premier League, you might be forgiven for thinking that Pep Guardiola has beaten Jose Mourinho in the style wars extensively. It's a theory that gets plenty of time in the run-up to the Sunday derby.
It has become a cliché that Guardiola's tactics spring from the digital age, while Mourinho is more of an analog time trainer. And it's a glimmer of truth, these broad statements. It's hard not to see the year 2008 when Guardiola took over as the turning point of football in Barcelona, when the passing became dominant again, the technique surpassed the body and pushed up the pitch.
It is unsatisfactory that many coaches, especially Marcelo Bielsa and Juan Manuel Lillo, have come out of Guardiola's revolution, as well as Ralf Rangnick and Jürgen Klopp, as far as the urgent element of the game is concerned. However, it is a point where these ideas have become much more fashionable and influential and ultimately successful. Guardiola's two Champions League wins in his first three win of the season in Barcelona signaled that this was a confirmation for the Johan Cruyff school.
Pep Guardiola (left) and Jose Mourinho's quest for Champions League fame continues
Their styles are different in contrast to Guardiola, who had more recent success in Germany
In England, Manchester City's astounding football last season and the way Guardiola imposed on the Premier League is the theory. It's hard not to remember the words of Cruyff's son Jordi when Guardiola launched in 2016 in the city. "It's not like that coach [we were talking about Pep] have to adapt to English football, "he said. "English football has to adapt to the different, new things in football."
The duel between Guardiola and Mourinho is undoubtedly compelling on both a human and a tactical level. Jonathan Wilson's new book "The Barcelona Legacy: Guardiola, Mourinho, and the Battle for the Soul of Football" is where the whole thing can be explored.
But if the Guardiola revolution really won, you can ask why it is not dominant in the Champions League. There was a time when Guardiola had created the blueprint for the achievements of the World Cup. His two Champions League victories preceded the Spanish World Cup titles in 2008 (Euro) 2010 (World Cup) and 2012 (Euro).
Obviously, Guardiola has not since won the Champions League. In his three seasons at Bayern Munich and in the second round at Manchester City in the semifinals.
Guardiola changed football with the way Barcelona won the Champions League in 2009
Mourinho won the Champions League a year later with Inter Milan – pragmatic
One might think that the second half of the proposal was fulfilled by Jose Mourinho being a long way from the Champions League guru he once was. From 2004 to 2014, he led ten full campaigns, won the trophy twice, and reached the semi-finals eight times. Since then he has fallen in the last 16 with Chelsea 2015 and United last season.
Still, he can hardly be blamed for being missed in 2016/17 when he took over United when he won the Europa League, the tournament United had qualified for this season. This could easily be a hit. It's certainly not statistically significant, having only completed two full campaigns since 2014. Even if that were the case, one could argue that it was not Mourinho's style that went out of style, but the man himself, and that even He is not the charismatic, motivating coach he once was.
The analysis of the coaching styles of the Champions League teams over the last five years is difficult, as on one level, all you can say is Zinedine Zidane (and in the latter case Carlo Ancelotti) and Real Madrid; Four victories in five years tell at least one side of the story.
As far as Zidane and Real Madrid had a defined style, this was certainly not a model of Guardiola's football. At crucial moments, they have the ball possession and countered. So Carlo Ancelotti 2014 beat the Guardiola-Bayern with 31 percent possession in the second leg, they had won 4-0. Zidane also did this against Jupp Heynckes & # 39; Bayern in the last season. He won 4: 3 with 40 percent possession on two legs.
Zinedine Zidane won an unparalleled title in three Champions League titles in Real Madrid
Of course, Real Madrid will dominate ownership with the best players and the largest budget. But it's not an ideological obsession with Zidane, and he seems more of a pragmatist. And he is currently much more successful than Guardiola (or those who play like him).
The most successful coach of the Champions League in the last five years (apart from Zidane) with regard to the semi-final were Max Allegri (three), Diego Simeone (three), Guardiola (three) with Heynckes and Ancelotti on two appearances (Luis Enrique, as Winner in 2015 with Barca in the highest style deserves a mention, but even that was not the pure Guardiola / Cruyff football).
Allegri played Zidane last season and was happy to have 44 percent at home and 38 percent away. Simeone is certainly the heir to Mourinho, an archpragmatist with the same boast and alchemy that the United manager had in his prime. If pragmatic football (or even traditional English football virtues) needed a standard bearer, then this would be Simeone, the leading exponent of deep sitting (in the final stages of the Champions League), with a great center-forward and a modern twist on 4 -4-2 ,
It could also be said that Heynckes is a pragmatist because he has absorbed styles from around the world, but his restart at Bayern in 2013, when he won the tournament, owed Klopp and Rangnick more than Guardiola. The intense pressure and the high line were always more in response to the threat of Borussia Dortmund as an attempt to beat Guardiola.
Max Allegri will reach his fourth Champions League semi-final in six seasons this season
If you analyze it, even though Guardiola had a tremendous influence and great success in Germany and England, his ideas have not yet overwhelmed Europe since leaving Barca. There may be some reasons why this style of football at the highest level and under extreme pressure outside the Barcelona model and without Lionel Messi is neglected, and they were discussed here last season.
A personal view is that Guardiola will put things right this season: I would still count Manchester City among my favorites. However, there is a danger that especially in the Manchester derby football can be seen through an Anglo-centered prism, as if one style was now dominant and another on cooldown. From a European point of view, it just does not look that way.
Nobody can deny the monumental reach and influence of Guardiola and his mentor Cruyff. But there is more work. A victory in Madrid in June would be something, a demonstration that his superiors succeed in overpowering what Europe has to offer outside of the Barcelona model. But the fight for the soul of football? That is not solved yet.