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Mourinho takes cut at Bayern bogey tag

JOSE MOURINHO will sport what he once termed his "ready for war" haircut in Munich tonight.

Cropped far shorter than usual, the Real Madrid coach (pictured below) first adopted the severe style when at Chelsea in 2006, the season before it all unravelled.

And, amid the plaudits and compliments to Bayern Munich, Real's heavyweight opponents in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final tonight, there was a barbed, calculated comment from Mourinho.

Which team, he was asked, are the favourites? "More important than my opinion are those 1,000 opinions that you have from everyone who has something to say in football, who have some credibility in football and whose words you have to respect," was his reply.

He then delivered his salvo. "You hear top people like (Franz) Beckenbauer, (Ottmar) Hitzfeld, Oliver Kahn and (Karl-Heinz) Rummenigge who say that Bayern are stronger, that Real have some sort of complex, that they are our bogey team. It's all been mentioned -- and that we have been knocked out."

There was even a curl of the lip as Mourinho was subjected to a press conference, an event he has shunned of late because of the bad blood between him and the Spanish media.


Why was he speaking, then? "Well in the Champions League I have to speak," he said, referring to UEFA's threat that his absence would be dealt with harshly.

Conflict has often stalked the meetings between these two clubs. Their catalogue of bitter disputes has stretched from Juanito stamping on Lothar Matthäus's head to earn a five-year ban to the entire Bayern team storming off during a pre-season friendly after a player was dismissed for making an obscene gesture to a fan.

The Germans have won 13 of their last 14 games in Munich, where Real have never won in nine attempts, while the Spaniards have only one win from 22 visits to Germany.

What did Mourinho make of all that? "History doesn't count," he said. "It has no meaning."