Rafa Benitez vs Jose Mourinho: The best spats between the managers following 'diet' jibe from Mourinho

The pair have been battling for years

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The Independent Football

Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho have re-opened their long-running feud, re-ignited by the former's wife making a quip about her husband having to clear up messes left by Mourinho. The Special One didn't see the funny side.

Here, we take a look back at some of the episodes in the long running battle between the two coaches.

September 2005: Benitez takes aim at Chelsea’s playing style following their Premier League title win. “To me, Arsenal played much better football two or three years ago. They won matches and were exciting to watch. Barcelona and Milan too. They create excitement so how can you say Chelsea are the best in the world?

April 2006: Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 in an FA Cup semi-final and Mourinho claims: “Did the best team win? I don’t think so. In a one-off game maybe they will surprise me and they can do it. In the Premiership the distance between the teams is 45 points over two seasons.” Mourinho refuses to shake Benitez’s hand, and repeated the snub at the Community Shield in the same year.

April 2007: A year later, the rivalry continued with Benitez taking a dig at the ‘Special One’ in April 2007. “We have our special ones here, they are our fans, who always play with their hearts."

April 2008: Seven months after walking out on Chelsea, Mourinho says in a fiery interview: “How many championships has Benitez won since he joined Liverpool? None. And how many names were suggested by the Press to replace him? None.”

Summer 2010: Upon taking charge of Inter, Benitez tells the press: “There’s the coaches, first Mancini, then Mourinho and now me, and I hope to win more than them. We could win six trophies this season.” Mourinho’s response? “One thing is for certain. Benitez won’t do better than me. Another thing is also true that should he lift the Intercontinental Cup, he will have only won two games compared to my 13. Therefore it will be my trophy and not his.

December 2010: After Benitez does win the Club World Cup with Inter… “I expected at least a thank you for the success that I gave him. Ask all the Inter fans what they think of me and him.”

June 2013: Mourinho’s “win at all costs” persona cannot be questioned - and often it is responsible for his side’s successes. But his rival wasn’t impressed and suggested he wouldn’t want to be associated with someone who adopts such stances.

Benitez jibed: “I know what Mourinho does. I know what I do: I always want to win, without crossing the line of sportsmanship.

“It’s true that I get on better with some coaches than others and I align myself with those that don’t value winning at any cost.”

July 2013: Just months after Benitez won the Europa League for Chelsea, new boss Jose Mourinho comments: “I don’t want to win the Europa League. It would be a big disappointment for me. I don’t want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition.”

October 2013: Chelsea’s quest for this year’s Premier League title stepped up a notch when they beat Manchester City at Stamford Bridge back in October.

Joe Hart’s gaffe gave the Blues all three points but Jose believed his tactics were responsible - slating Benitez’ approach in the same fixtures last season.

“I watched every game of Chelsea against City in the last year. I saw the game at Wembley, the game at home, the game at City, I saw even parts of the friendlies in the States. Mental. Not tactical. Nothing. Mental.

“Afraid to assume. Afraid to go. Afraid to say we want to win, we can win.

March 2014: Benitez discusses his rival’s European record… “Mourinho talks a lot about a lot of people, but I prefer to talk about facts. At Liverpool, with a squad half of the value of Chelsea, we twice knocked his Chelsea side out of the Champions League. Later, with the most expensive squad at Real Madrid, he did nothing in the Champions League. Now he says if there is an offer of hundreds of millions for Hazard and Oscar, maybe he can build a strong squad to win something.”