Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka insists there is a “genuine rivalry” between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
Karanka, who took charge of Middlesbrough in 2013, worked alongside Mourinho at Real Madrid as an assistant coach for three years.
Mourinho and Guardiola will lock horns in Manchester this season for the first time since the two became fierce rivals in Spain, where they managed Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
The Middlesbrough boss had an inside view of this immense battle between the two managers, and insists that, three years on, a genuine rivalry exists between the two.
“It’s a genuine rivalry and we can’t wait to see them in Manchester,” he said.
“They are two people who are pure winners. Trust me, though, it’s not personal. They respect each other as coaches.”
With Mourinho and Guardiola both descending on Manchester in the pursuit of glory, the derby will consume the footballing world like never before. Their battles in Spain were always hallmarked by two pointedly different styles, allowing for an immense fusion of style and muscle to form. It was captivating, and their renewed rivalry in England threatens to be even more explosive.
Whether Guardiola’s unique possession orientated style will be compatible with the physical, dynamic nature of the Premier League remains to be seen. One thing, though, is for certain: of all managers in England this season, it is Mourinho who knows more than anyone about how to topple the Spaniard.