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Jose Mourinho: Champions League is harder to win than World Cup

As reported by Spanish Web site and noted by Deadspin, Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho thinks the Champions League is more difficult to win than the World Cup:

"It [the Champions League] is the most difficult competition," Mourinho said. "You can not compare it with a World Cup because the teams are stronger than national sides."

What do you think? Vote in the poll, and leave your thoughts in the comments.

By Matt Bonesteel  | September 15, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Euro Champions League, World  | Tags:  Champions League, World Cup  
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Apples and oranges - you can't compare international competitions to club competitions, unless FIFA allows countries to "buy" players. Mourinho and His Ego are annoyed that the World Cup drew attention away from his treble-winning exploits at Inter. Once the Special One wins the World Cup with Portugal, then he can crow all he wants about WC vs. CL. Meanwhile, in the immortal words of King Juan Carlos of Spain: ¿Por qué no te callas?

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | September 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

definately champs league. club teams play and train together for much of the year. national teams get together for a week or so every few months.

Posted by: happyneko | September 15, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

He might have a point, because the number of teams that have a chance of winning is smaller for the WC compared to the CL. Then again, he might just be saying that because he's won the CL. Wait until he wins the WC with the USA in 2018.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 15, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

You get 4 times as many chances.

Posted by: Reignking | September 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, you get 4 Champions League finals for every World Cup final so unless the CL is 4x harder to win than the World Cup then it's much harder to become a World Cup champion than a Champions League champion.

Posted by: twhamlin | September 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Miles beat me to it. If England could have bought a young Ryan Giggs from Wales and a young Brad Freidel from the US, who knows what could have happened in 1998 or 2002?

I also agree that if Jose had won two MLS cups and zero Champions League cups he would say the MLS cup was harder to win because all of your talented players go overseas.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | September 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hard for me to decide, I've never won either one...

Posted by: JkR- | September 15, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

what about superliga?

Posted by: stairs | September 15, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I think he's right but not for the reasons stated. The club teams are stronger (didn't Inter start something like 4 or 5 national team captains last year?), but as a matter of logic that does not mean that they are more (or less) evenly matched than the international teams.

I think Champions is harder to win because of the format.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 15, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

But it is easier to win in Europe for European teams...

Posted by: Reignking | September 15, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I think he ruins his own thesis. National teams only have certain players to choose from. A club (with deep enough pockets) can build itself with parts from anywhere.

The national teams have to go through often more difficult qualification processes. And then the tournament comes after the players have just gone through grueling club seasons and have had little chance to train and play together as an actual team.

Posted by: fedssocr | September 15, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The premise of his statement is flawed. The notion is that because club teams can buy players and train together more, the CL is harder to win than the WC. The problem is that all the CL teams can buy players and train all the time. In each competition, each team is faced to compete with each other with the same set of rules. Perhaps the overall soccer is better in the CL because club teams are more prepared, but that does not mean it's relatively harder to win CL than WC.

Posted by: zmbb3 | September 15, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The WC is easier to win because the (1) referee's give you a blatantly offside goal and call back your opponents' goals, (2) the vuvuzelas distract you opponents, and (3) no Jabulani.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 15, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

(3) Jabulani, not no Jabulani. Ruined a perfectly lame joke with bad typing.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 15, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

He's talking about the CONCACAF Champion's League, right?

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | September 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

WC is more difficult.

For one: you can in the CL every year. You can only win the WC once every 4.

Ditto on the players and having them day to day vs. maybe once every 2 months for a week.

Further, in the CL you can have one mediocre or bad game, and still have 5 other group matches or the return leg of the tie to reverse the result, you only have 3 group matches in WC and play one and out after that.

Finally, if your team has a deficiency at a certain position, you can go buy a player(s) to fill the need attaining to certain restictions (Eu player v. Non-EU player, etc.). At the NT level, i.e. England has some great midfielders but all their fwds. suck and if Rooney sucks, it's even worse. They can not go pay someone to change nationalities to play fro England to fill that need. Same for their GK. I bet they would've prefered to have, say, Pepe Reina as GK than the 3 sacks of potatoes they had over the summer.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | September 15, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Shall we ask Zizou or Xavi?

Posted by: teo_68 | September 15, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

No matter what y'all think, The Special One wins. After all, we're talking about him.

Posted by: benonthehill | September 15, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I would have to say the Champions League. Realistically there are only a handful of nations that will win the World Cup. That's just the fact based on population, econcomy and culture. We may send 32 ever four years but we all know that outside of Brazil, Germany and Italy there are only a handful of countries with a shot. "A golden generation" can step up for a half dozen or so other European and SA nations. Or a home job can clinch it for a few of those nations (see England 1966).

The Champions League is a very different thing. Currently there are the big fourteen clubs. All with legitmate chances each year. As Europeans seem to embrace freemarktes when it comes to soccer clubs though, several other second tier teams could step up with the right ownership over a series of a few years and compeat. Just because it is so much more wide open I would have to say UEFA CL is harder.

Posted by: scap777 | September 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: stig1 | September 15, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Really it depends on what teams you're talking about. The Champions League is easier to win for Manchester United than it is for say Ireland to win the World Cup. On the flip side it's easier for Germany to win the WC than it is for Schalke to win the CL.

Posted by: stoscarthegreat | September 15, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

stoscarthegreat is right.

but also, Brazil can't buy Iniesta to fix a hole or a gap. A top team can spend money, has flexability, that is key.

Just think if USA could buy a left back, and a forward?

winning CL is hard, but WC is ridiculously hard, Spain just finally won it.....

Posted by: MrCerniglia | September 15, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

enough about that economic crap too, Brazil and Argentina won way too much for that to get so much creedence, and Spain and Italy don't exactly have zing-bang economies.

Posted by: MrCerniglia | September 15, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

benonthehill is correct. If the Special One says it, then it is so. Shut up, numpties!

Posted by: FulhamDC | September 16, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

i would say the champions league is harder. you could defeat spain 1-0 and move to the next round while you could defeat barcelona 2-0 at home and lose 3-0 away. btw there are a total of 38 matches to qualify for the champions league. that's just my opinion. i'm not a football expert.

Posted by: demetrius2 | September 16, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Well Maureen would say that because the CL is the only competition that he's been a part of so naturally, it's the only one that counts. If he takes a team to a WC finals, he'll deny ever making this ridiculous argument.

A more me-centered, publicity hungry person than Jose Mourinho you couldn't find even if you contained the search to an elevator in Oprah's TV studio. He needs only have his mic turned on when the subject is his team and how Real Madrid are now the finest 1-0 merchants in the galaxy.

Posted by: gooner71 | September 16, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Mourinho is probably just tooting his own horn. He's known to do that. But really, it's difficult to answer this question because it's really apples and oranges. The CL in its own way is more difficult because the range of tough teams and top players is much greater. It's more competitive, and in some way, it's actually more prestigious because most of the clubs taking part in it are some of the best clubs in the world. I respect teams like the U.S., Saudi Arabia or South Africa trying to do well at the World Cup. But let's face it, few players on any of those teams have the caliber and talent to be starters or top players in the CL. Yet they're at the WC. So in terms of skill and experience, the CL is harder. Further, the games are much more competitive because the teams practice together everyday, and coaches have the ability to really see who is in form and who isn't.

On the other hand, the fact that national teams only get together once per month, are given limited time to prepare for a tournament and do not have the flexibility to virtually seek out the players they really want, in a way makes the WC (and other continental tournaments) harder. This system is actually what allows teams like Korea, Japan, the U.S. and Ghana to create a few shocks. Because the players on those teams are not as high profile as the sport's superpowers, they are able to do more preparation for the WC. Really when you're playing the CL, fighting for the league title and trying to win a domestic cup, your time for international duty is limited. Sometimes the players get fatigued and injure easily, therefore not letting them prepare adequately. However, if you made the WC like any other league or domestic cup, the chances of the weaker teams doing well would be slim to none. Anybody can lose on any given Sunday, but you give them four or five games and they'll come together.

Posted by: yann_ranaivo | September 20, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

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