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Jose Mourinho goads Barca
Real Madrid players during a training session, on Sunday. (AFP)

Barcelona: Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is goading his former employers Barcelona ahead of the Spanish league “clasico” between the two teams on Monday.

The self-proclaimed “Special One” reminded the Catalan club that Inter Milan — then coached by Mourinho — had denied Barcelona a chance at history last season.

Inter beat Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, depriving it of a place in the final at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium. This will be Mourinho’s first return to Barcelona since that match.

“When I went to Barcelona with Chelsea or Inter it was fun, but now it will be even more fun,” Mourinho said. “Barcelona have won everything but it never won the Champions League in the Bernabeu and maybe in another 30 or 40 years they’ll get another chance to do it.”

Mourinho's arrival at Madrid has certainly increased the antagonism between the two already bitter rivals. And while Mourinho accused Barcelona of being “obsessed” with winning the Champions League at the Bernabeu, Barcelona has also become an obsession for Mourinho.

The Portuguese coach appears to enjoy provoking the club where he got his start as a translator for Bobby Robson before working as an assistant to Louis van Gaal. His visits before were in the Champions League with Chelsea and Inter, but this time it’s a 13th-round league match with Madrid leading Barcelona by a single point in the standings.

“This time it’s different. This is just one more match amid 38 in the league, it won’t be decisive,” said Mourinho, one of only three coaches to win Champions League titles with two different clubs.

Spanish newspapers have lapped up Mourinho’s addition to the always dramatic national derby, painting it as a Mourinho vs. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola matchup. A sports daily has even portrayed the pair back-to-back in a wild west showdown.

Barcelona’s players, meanwhile, were trying to stay focused on the task ahead after getting too wrapped up in the Mourinho effect during last season’s Champions League semifinal.

“We’re not playing against Mourinho, but against Real Madrid,” Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said. (agencies)

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