Jose Mourinho has never managed Lionel Messi but that has not stopped the Barcelona legend playing a part in his career.
According to Express UK, Jose Mourinho believes Lionel Messi has made him a better manager because it was so difficult to prepare for him.
Mourinho first came up against the genius of Messi when his Chelsea side lost 2-1 to Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in the 2005/06 Champions League round of 16.
The innate skill and wizardry from the Argentine on show that night forecast the troubles Messi would cause Mourinho down the years, particularly when the coach was in charge at Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013.
The Portuguese boss has a respectable record against Barcelona, winning eight, drawing nine and losing 10 across his career.
And the battles against Blaugrana – and Messi, in particular – inspired Mourinho to become better.
“I always say that I owe so much to my players, and to those who haven’t been my players but those who created problems for me,” Mourinho told EFE.
“For example, Messi never played for my team, but he played against me and he has made me a better coach for having to prepare matches [to stop him].
“When I say Messi, I also mean the other great players I’ve faced.”
Mourinho has been dabbling in punditry since getting the axe from Manchester United last December but is eager to return to management.
Outlining what it will take to see him return to the dugout, he said: ““The most important thing for me is that my next role is with an elite club that has an ambition which challenges and excites me.
“I miss coaching a lot, but I won’t return to working just for the sake of coaching again.
“I love La Liga and the pride I have to have won this fantastic league is massive.
“I may have left six years ago but trust me, spiritually, and in the manner I speak of La Liga, I am an ambassador even without the official title of ambassador.”