Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and the sport that modified the whole lot

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Pep Guardiola in the Barcelona dugout
In four years at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola won 14 trophies, including three La Liga, two Champions League and two Copa del Rey titles

A decision in time sends history down two very different tracks.

In 1998, a Hollywood film starring Gwyneth Paltrow catapulted the term ‘Sliding Doors’ into popular lexicon.

Ten years later, football had its own Sliding Doors moment.

In the summer of 2008, Barcelona – managed by Frank Rijkaard – were a club stalled and set to fall.

A second trophyless season in succession had ended with Barca third in La Liga and suffering ignominy at the Bernabeu.

With Real Madrid confirmed as champions in the days before, Barcelona had to give their arch-rivals a guard of honour on to the pitch before their league meeting.

Barcelona give Real Madrid a guard of honour on to the pitch before the teams' league meeting at the Bernabeu in May 2008
Barcelona’s 4-1 humiliation at the Bernabeu in May 2008 was followed by manager Frank Rijkaard leaving the club less than 24 hours later

The embarrassment didn’t stop there. A 4-1 thrashing followed, with the Madrid fans chanting “Laporta please stay!”…