Jose Mourinho has a storied past at Barcelona first as a translator and then working his way up to being an assistant coach.
Throughout his coaching years Mourinho has also come up against Barcelona on many occasions and one genius of a player in particular: Lionel Messi.
[ VIDEO: Messi’s stunning goal ]
During his pre-match press conference before Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) the manager of the newly crowned Premier League champions waxed lyrical about his admiration for Messi’s achievements following the Argentine superstars two incredible goals — his 76th and 77th in the UCL to become the all-time leading scorer — for Barcelona in their 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg on Wednesday.
Asked how much of the gap there is between English and other European sides, due to the fact that no PL team made the UCL semifinals, Mourinho believes one man makes the difference to elevate Barca
“I think this guy makes the gap by himself,” Mourinho said. “You have doubts that Man City with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Arsenal with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Chelsea with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Man United with Messi can win the Champions League? Don’t you think? I think… One thing is a team; another thing is a team with Messi. It is a different story.”
Mourinho also stated his opinion that Barcelona would never sell Messi because “that player belongs to them, belongs to their people.”
How can you stop Messi? Mourinho believes you can’t really halt him and you can only make it more difficult for him. The Portuguese boss looked back to when his Inter Milan side beat Messi and Barcelona over two legs in the UCL semifinal of 2010 and believes man-marking is the only way to go in order to stop Messi, even if he’s had varying degrees of success over the years and trying to thwart his genius. Mourinho also revealed he spent hours in the lead up to games against Barca figuring out how he could devise a plan to stop Messi.
So, do you agree with Mourinho? Would any PL team who possessed Messi win the Champions League?