Mancini v Mourinho takes top billing
- Tue 18 Sep 2012, 7:59AM
- Posted by Mark Booth
No disrespect to the Spireites, but 14 years ago this week, City were facing Chesterfield in the third tier of the league.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past month, you'll know that the Blues take on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League tonight and you don’t need to be a Hollywood screenwriter to locate the storylines.
Let’s start with the men in the dug-outs.
“When José Mourinho replaced Roberto Mancini at Internazionale in 2008, the tension between them was acknowledged without being explicit,” writes Cox.
"They weren't jilted lovers, rather rivals in a complex love triangle – with Inter at the centre."
...Michael Cox on Mancini v Mourinho..
“They've had some interesting battles: in their Uefa Cup meeting 10 seasons ago when Mourinho's Porto beat Lazio 4-1 on aggregate.
“’They played a 4-5-1 in the first game, then switched to three at the back for the return leg!’ raved the Portuguese.
“’They [Italians] think of football in relation to the opponent, and change the way they play accordingly.’ It takes one to know one.”
In the Blue corner, Roberto has compared his City team to a Ferrari in a bullish press conference ahead of the game.
"If you drive a Ferrari you can win. We used to drive a Fiat Cinquecento and then it's not so easy; now we are driving a Ferrari."
Call it a premonition, a compliment, or perhaps just some of his legendary mind games, but in the white corner, Jose has proclaimed that City are destined to be Champions League winners sooner or later, as reported in the Manchester Evening News.
"Roberto (Mancini) came and he has done a very good job. He has created a great squad, the first cup then the first title arrived," said 'the Special One'.
"I don't know if it is this season or next season with Roberto, or with another person in the future, but normally in the direction the club is going, sooner or later they will win the big cup."
Another one of tonight’s storylines is that time-honoured tale of “the one that got away” – in this case, David Silva, the player rejected from Real Madrid’s academy at 11-years old for being “too small”.
Silva quashed any notion of him switching Manchester from Madrid by signing a new five-year contract at City yesterday, news brought to you first by mcfc.co.uk.
In yesterday's column, we told you that Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail predicted that David would sign on the dotted line before long and now that he has, Ladyman calls it a "signal of intent" for the club.
"Silva’s contract will theoretically tie the 26-year-old to City until beyond his 31st birthday. They could well be the best years of his career. City, at the very least, can now rest assured that if he does look elsewhere in the future then he will be sold only on their terms."
Javi Garcia’s return to Real Madrid is yet another tantalising storyline ahead of tonight’s game. The 25-year old midfielder graduated from the club’s academy in the Spanish capital but couldn’t nail down a regular starting berth before leaving for Benfica in 2009.
After getting off the mark for City on an impressive debut at Stoke, Garcia will be putting sentiment aside when he returns to his former home.
"It will be a special game and nice because I have friends at Real Madrid and I hope to have the opportunity to say hello to everyone," Spanish paper AS reports.
"I will give everything to win the three points."
Oh, and In the interest of good housekeeping, City drew 1-1 with Chesterfield back in 1998.