Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has suggested Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are more alike than some may believe.
Guardiola and Mourinho enjoyed a heated rivalry between 2010 and 2013 during their spells as coaches of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
Alonso has experienced great success under both men while playing for Madrid and Bayern Munich, and the World Cup-winner believes they share a number of qualities that make them exceptional figures in their field.
Speaking to GQ magazine, Alonso said: “The two are natural leaders. They are charismatic people who know how to convince people. Everyone has their own personality but there are many other things in which they are alike. Both are very emotional, for example.
“They’re able to transmit not only their knowledge of football but also the psychological capacity they have.
“To get the team to fight for you is very difficult. And that’s an essential virtue. It doesn’t matter how good you are in training – if the players are not with you, things won’t work.”
Guardiola brought Bayern to Alonso in 2014 shortly after the experienced playmaker had lifted the Champions League with Madrid, and the 34-year-old admits he still misses life in the Spanish capital.
“Of course I miss Real Madrid, they were five very good years. I felt valued and respected there. And that’s the most important thing for me,” he continued.
“They’re a great team, with great players in every position.
“In spite of their bad start, I’m sure they’ll be fighting for everything come the end of the season.”
The former Liverpool man was keen to praise the way Bayern are run, adding: “It’s a powerful club, an insitution which represents the country very well. An impeccable organisation, everything perfectly structured.
“They care about the small details. It’s been a fantastic experience.”