Jose Mourinho was to blame for the culture of hate that developed between Barcelona and Real Madrid players, according to former Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta.
2010 World Cup winner Iniesta believes the arrival of Mourinho at the Bernabeu shortly after Spain’s triumph in South Africa helped increase tensions between the Barca and Madrid players in the country’s national squad.
Mourinho was Madrid manager for 17 Clasicos between 2010 and 2013 before leaving to manage Chelsea.
But Iniesta feels the form of the Spanish squad began to dip due to Mourinho’s influence with Gerard Pique accusing him of “destroying Spanish football” after the three players were sent off in the Super Cup final defeat to Barca in 2011.
It was the match that infamously saw Mourinho prod Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye.
“You don’t have to be for Barcelona or Real Madrid to know that the situation was unpleasant,” said 34-year-old Iniesta, who moved to Vissel Kobe last year. “And the key component in that story was Mourinho.
“Whoever doesn’t want to see that, is radical. You didn’t see the rivalry that always existed before, it went beyond that, you saw hate.
“That atmosphere developed and it was unbearable.
“The Barca-Madrid tension caused by Mourinho did much damage to the national team (Spain) and the team-mates.”