The two men have had a long and storied rivalry, stretching back to their days in the Premier League when their Liverpool and Chelsea teams contested some tense and critical matches.
Their mutual animosity reared its head again recently when Benitez’s wife Montserrat Seara Benitez appeared to criticise Mourinho with some bizarre tongue-in-cheek comments.
“We tidy up his messes,” she began, speaking to La Region [as per the Daily Star].
“If you think about it, of course you end up crossing paths. There are only a few world-class clubs out there.”
Mrs. Benitez’s insinuation is that her husband—who has taken over three sides directly or indirectly after Mourinho—has had to resolve the problems left at teams by his Portuguese counterpart.
Naturally, the Chelsea boss’s reading of the situation is very different, and the manager has responded firmly to her words, slamming Benitez and making a thinly-veiled jab at the Real coach’s waistline.
“The lady is a bit confused,” Mourinho replied, speaking after Chelsea’s Champions Cup clash with Barcelona, as reported by talkSPORT.
“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,” he continued.
“If she takes care of her husband’s diet, she will not have any time to talk about me.”
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The Spanish coach took the reins at Inter Milan soon after Mourinho had won the Champions League with the Nerazzurri, but wholly failed to recreate the Portuguese coach’s superb successes in the European Cup.
At both Chelsea and Real Madrid—as noted by Mourinho—Benitez was merely an indirect replacement.
At Stamford Bridge, the Spanish coach failed to reproduce either Mourinho’s Premier League triumphs or Roberto Di Matteo’s success in the Champions League, while it remains to be seen whether he can bring league success back to the Bernabeu.