The Portuguese manager has never coached the Barcelona super star but he has revealed how setting up his teams to cage the Argentina international made him a better coach.
Jose Mourinho has expressed that the need to stop Lionel Messi from wrecking havoc against his teams helped him improve his abilities as a manager, Soccernet.ng can authoritatively report.
Mourinho was a former Real Madrid manager and had to face the Barcelona No.10 on a regular basis in numerous El Classico duels.
“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,” the Portuguese 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.”
Jose Mourinho also took time to warn Real Madrid and Barcelona about Atletico Madrid, insisting that Diego Simeone have to be considered as favourites following their excellent start to the LaLiga Santander.
“I don’t think Atletico are an emerging team anymore,” he explained.
“They’ve won the league in the last decade, they’ve won cups, Europa Leagues and have been in Champions League finals.
“Atletico are a candidate for the title. They lost [Antoine] Griezmann, [Diego] Godin but they’ve invested very well.”