These days, the mind games and war of words between managers are often as highly-anticipated and as talked about as the action on the pitch.
The recent spat between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte has certainly got tongues wagging; with the two trading insults such as “clown”, “little man” and “senile”.
Here’s five of the most infamous.
5. Jose Mourinho vs Arsene Wenger
Mourinho has never exactly been a shrinking violet; when he first crossed horns with the equally stubborn Arsene Wenger, sparks flew. It all started back in 2005. Wenger criticised Mourinho’s defensive tactics with Chelsea; the Portuguese hit back by calling the Arsenal boss a “voyeur”.
The two continued to trade insults, and in 2014 Mourinho produced one of his most famous lines when he called Wenger a “specialist in failure.” Later that year it all came to a head when Wenger shoved Mourinho in a touchline confrontation during Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Arsenal.
Although again the rivalry may not be as fierce now as it once was; don’t expect to see these two out at a candlelit dinner anytime soon.
4. Arsene Wenger vs Alan Pardew
In 2006 West Ham United, then managed by Alan Pardew; scored a late winner against the Gunners in a 1-0 win. Wenger was incensed by what he perceived as an excessive celebration from Pardew; the two pushed each other before being separated by the fourth official.
Wenger then stormed down the tunnel without a handshake; both managers were charged with improper conduct by the FA for ‘aggressive and confrontational behaviour’. Pardew did apologize to Wenger after the match, however, and the two appear to have put their differences behind them now.
3. Arsene Wenger vs Sir Alex Ferguson
It seems almost a lifetime ago now, but during the late 1990s- early 2000s, Manchester United vs Arsenal was the big rivalry; with the two teams constantly battling for silverware. As a result, the managers were never far away from personal clashes. When Arsene Wenger first arrived at Arsenal from Grampus Eight; Ferguson’s welcome was to say “He’s a novice and should keep his opinions to Japanese football.” Charming.
The barbs continued to and fro until the infamous ‘Battle of the Buffet’ in 2004; when after a bad-tempered match at Old Trafford the two teams clashed in the tunnel; with a piece of pizza allegedly being thrown at Ferguson. Fergie later called Wenger a “disgrace”, while Wenger responded by claiming Ferguson had “lost all sense of reality”.
With Ferguson’s retirement, however, the two seem to have mellowed; there are even rumours that they are now relatively friendly with each other.