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Even Jose Mourinho will be sad when Leo Messi eventually stops playing

Mourinho hated facing Messi, but he's a big fan

Manchester United v Manchester City - EFL Cup Fourth Round Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho is quite a character, but he's not an idiot when it comes to football stuff. Even when that stuff is about his worst rivals.

The current Manchester United manager had a giant rivalry with Pep Guardiola and Barcelona during his time as Real Madrid coach. Mourinho's three seasons in Spain were marked by controversial interviews, a 5-0 loss at Camp Nou and plenty of El Clásico moments that will live forever.

Mourinho's toughest job as Madrid manager was trying to contain Lionel Messi. At the time Messi was dominating the entire sport playing as a False Nine, and Jose struggled for three years to find a way to stop the best player in history. He couldn't for most of the time, unless Pepe kicked the hell out of Leo.

One would think Mourinho doesn't really like Messi having spent so many sleepless nights thinking about him, but that's not the case. Mourinho mentioned Messi in his press conference on Friday before Man United's Premier League match against Burnley. Jose was asked about longtime United midfielder Michael Carrick, who's 34 years old and on his way to retirement, but is a club legend and still a decent footballer.

Mourinho was asked about how hard it would be to replace Carrick on his team, and he decided to compare him to Messi, but in a good way:

That's a little bit of a surprise coming from Mourinho, but it's the reality. Leo Messi will eventually decline and stop one day, and when that happens we're all going to cry.

Even Jose.

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