Tuesday 21 November 2017

Rafa Benitez refuses to bite over Jose Mourinho dieting jibe

Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho: The managers’ overlapping careers have created a friction that still lingers GARETH COPLEY / PA
Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho: The managers’ overlapping careers have created a friction that still lingers GARETH COPLEY / PA

John Percy

Jose Mourinho's bitter feud with Rafael Benitez has been re-opened by the Chelsea manager's third attack on a rival in less than a week.

Mourinho offered further proof that he is in combative mood ahead of the new season by making a remarkable riposte to light-hearted comments made by Montserrat Seara, Benitez's wife, which has reignited a long-running row that stretches back to 2005.

In response to remarks that Benitez was "tidying up" the "mess" made by Mourinho during his spell at Real Madrid, the Portuguese accused him of "destroying the best team in Europe" when he took charge of Inter Milan five years ago.

Mourinho then went further by imploring Seara to focus on controlling her husband's diet in a calculated attack.

The amazing outburst came days after Mourinho highlighted Arsene Wenger's big spending with Arsenal and ridiculed Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini for commenting about him while on holiday.

Read more: 'She needs to take care of her husband's diet' - Mourinho hits back at claims by Rafa Benitez's wife

Mrs Benitez started this latest spat with a remark in Spanish newspaper, claiming that her husband has spent much of his managerial career clearing up after Mourinho at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

However, Benitez was appointed by Real Madrid this summer - two years after Mourinho departed to return to Stamford Bridge and the comments drew a withering response.

Mourinho said: "The lady is a bit confused, with all respect. I'm not laughing.

"She is confused because her husband went to Chelsea to replace Roberto Di Matteo and he went to Real Madrid and replaced Carlo Ancelotti.


"The only club where her husband replaced me was at Inter Milan, where in six months he destroyed the best team in Europe at the time.

"I think the lady needs to occupy her time and if she takes care of her husband's diet she will have less time to speak about me."

Read more: Jose Mourinho's classless attack on Rafael Benitez and his wife was Chelsea manager returning to his old, bad ways

It is not the first time Mourinho has referred to Benitez's time at Inter Milan, where the Spaniard lasted just six months after the Portuguese had led the Serie A club to the treble in 2010.

Benitez refused to bite back, saying: "Mourinho's comments? I'm the Real Madrid coach. I like football, I understand football and for this reason I only speak about football."

"We are here [in China] to prepare for the game against AC Milan and a tour that is going very well. I want to talk about the present and future, which I hope will be here at Madrid for many years."

Meanwhile, Chelsea's preparations for the Community Shield match against Arsenal on Sunday have been disrupted by an injury scare to Diego Costa.

The striker was taken off early in the second half of Chelsea's game against Barcelona in Washington with a hamstring strain and Mourinho is facing an anxious wait to discover if he will be fit to play against Arsenal.

To add to Chelsea's problems, Gary Cahill sustained a suspected broken nose and may have to play in a specially fitted mask.

Chelsea will face Arsenal in optimistic mood after defeating Barcelona 4-2 on penalties.

The game finished 2-2, with Eden Hazard scoring an excellent goal for Chelsea and Cahill snatching a late equaliser which resulted in him sustaining damage to his nose in a clash with Barcelona goalkeeper Jordi Masip.

Midfielder Nemanja Matic is targeting Chelsea's first silverware of the season.

"I think we'll be ready for Arsenal. We know what we have to expect because we are champions," he said.

"Everyone has special motivation and wants to win against us but we are ready for that and we believe in our qualities. We will try to show our quality in the first game." (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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