Jose Mourinho has made his first thinly disguised attack on Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola since Real Madrid's 5-0 defeat at the Nou Camp on Monday, claiming: "It's one rule for me and another rule for the rest."
Preparing for tonight's difficult home match with Valencia, Mourinho, who has already been banned for four games this season, was asked about his poor disciplinary record and hit back with a reference to Guardiola's conduct during El Clasico.
The Real coach said: "I can't leave the technical area, I can't grab the ball when a rival player wants it, I can't talk with the fourth official. Everyone else can do whatever they like. There is one rule for me and another rule for the rest of the coaches."
Guardiola was involved in an incident with Real's Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday when he kept hold of the ball at a throw-in and was pushed by the Portugal international as he grabbed it back.
Asked about his two-match Champions League ban, awarded last Tuesday for instructing two of his players to get deliberately sent off against Ajax , Mourinho said: "The ban is history for me. They can ban me at any time now during the next three years. It's like a medal for me more than a ban. My grandmother always told me when I was young that if people envy you then you should be happy. That is what happens to me and I'm happy."
Mourinho had already missed two games in Spain after being sent off in a Copa del Rey game against Murcia before being hit with the two-match Uefa ban which will see him miss the team's final group match against Auxerre and a second game if he reoffends in the next three years.
Tonight he has the novel task of lifting his team after a comprehensive defeat. "I spoke with my players after [the game] in the dressing room of the Camp Nou for three or four minutes and I have not spoken about it since. These things happen in football," Mourinho said.
Real will be without Gonzalo Higuain who needs back surgery and that has reduced Real's striking options to just Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. It now seems certain that reinforcements will be sought in next month with Werder Bremen's Portugal international centre-forward Hugo Almeida top of the list.
Barcelona also have a difficult post-Clasico comedown. They will play in freezing conditions in Pamplona tonight against Osasuna who held them to a 1-1 draw at Estadio Reyno de Navarra last season. Guardiola has told his players "We have to go into this game as we did on Monday."
In Italy, Milan go into their match with Brescia tonight with vice-president Adriano Galliani admitting it would be a dream to partner Mario Balotelli with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. After Filippo Inzaghi was ruled out for the season by injury, supporters have told the club to go after the Manchester City striker. Galliani said: "He is a dream for the fans and maybe I am getting carried away too, but Balotelli is a Manchester City player. They have only just bought him and they will not be selling him."