Xabi Alonso is one of the few men to have experienced life under both Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. He is one of even fewer to emerge from those experiences with fond memories.
The Spanish midfielder won La Liga under Mourinho at Real Madrid and three Bundesliga titles under Guardiola at Bayern Munich but it was when the pair clashed in 2010 that he experienced his lowest moment in football.
Alonso was in the thick of it when Mourinho and Guardiola cast their archrivalry in Spanish football with the latter regularly getting the better of the former as Barcelona manager. That is no truer than in the now infamous 2010 Clasico in which Barcelona stormed to a 5-0 victory.
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From the moment the game kicked off, Barcelona's supreme total football, now synonymous of any team under Guardiola's tutelage, was too good for that of Los Blancos.
Early goals from Xavi and Pedro gave Barcelona a commanding 2-0 lead and Real Madrid stars simply fell apart. Alonso, with the benefit of hindsight, sees that game as the moment they started to turn things around at the Bernabeu.
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He told Sky Sports: "I have memories of the first Clasico between Pep and Jose, it was all about them. Because they are big personalities, and are so attractive to the fans, so there were big expectations.
"The first game was 5-0 to Barcelona. It was my worst experience on a football pitch. After 20 minutes I wanted the game to be over.
"It was a big setback for all of us, and Jose as well, but at that moment we were not at the highest level we could be. We kept going.
"It took about a year-and-a-half for Real to get to where we wanted, and from then we were level with Barca I think. We learned how to control Lionel Messi because he was the one making all the difference."
On the other side
Having suffered the effects of facing Guardiola's team for years, Alonso was given the opportunity to experience life on his side when the charismatic manager successfully brought him to Bayern Munich in 2013. In the same interview, the former Liverpool star explained why he decided to join a man he was once compelled to loathe.
He said: "For years I had been on the other side suffering from how [Pep's] sides were. They had great players, but at the same time you could feel how well they were working. They had to put so much work in and have something different.
"I was curious what it was like to work day-by-day with him, how he was doing things to get to that point, and it was two years with him that I was really grateful for, and I learned so many things.
"From the first day I started with a new perspective, new methods, new movements, figuring out why he gave so much experience to build-up in a game; why he thinks it's so important to press high, and to have strikers who are committed."
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