Pep Guardiola & Jose Mourinho in La Liga..

Pep Guardiola & Jose Mourinho could start Manchestser rivalry in China friendly

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Pep Guardiola is set to face his first Manchester derby in the faraway land of China as both United and City plan to travel there as part of their pre-season preparations, reports the Daily Mail. 

The game is likely to take place as part of the International Champions Cup and will be played in either Beijing or Shanghai on July 29 or 30.

It will represent one of Guardiola's first games in charge of the Citizens and could quite possibly be one of Jose Mourinho's first games in charge of United as well. It sets up the tantalising prospect of the arch-rivals meeting for the first time since the 2013 UEFA Super Cup.

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In that game, which saw Europa League winners Chelsae face Guardiola's Bayern Munich, the Spaniard came away as the winner after Romelu Lukaku missed the decisive penalty in a shootout following a 2-2 draw.

Of course, the game will not be near the same levels of ferocity as a competitive encounter, but it will certainly be one of the most hotly anticipated friendlies in many years. The fact that it is in China, a rapidly emerging market for Premier League clubs, will see officials from both the Etihad and Old Trafford rubbing their hands together.

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The market

China represents a market with huge potential for the Premier League, especially as the state has decided to aggressively expand its share of the global football market.

Manchester City will be paid several million pounds to play in the tournament while they must also appease the China Media Group, who paid £265million for a 13% holding in the club in December.

United, of course, are similarly keen to grab some of China's 700m football fans. The Red Devils have stolen a march on their competitors and currently have the biggest fan page on Weibo – China's answer to Facebook – with over 13m followers. City are some way behind but still retain second place.

State Visit Of The President Of The People's Republic Of China - Day 5

The rivalry

United and City's rivalry has only grown more intense since the latter's emergence from relegation candidates to title contenders. Far from the 'noisy neighbours' that Sir Alex Ferguson once talked bout, City are now threatening to take over the neighbourhood.

Mourinho, of course, has not been confirmed as their new manager and it seems genuinely true that Louis van Gaal will retain his position if he guides United into the top four. However, it is no coincidence that talks between the Special One and Ed Woodward started days after City confirmed Guardiola's impending arrival.

The 13-time Premier League champions are now playing catch-up and may have been left in City's wake if they didn't respond. Mourinho is not the perfect candidate, of course, but he's the best chance they've got.


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Manchester United
Premier League
Manchester City
Jose Mourinho

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