Jose Mourinho has claimed that Lionel Messi - and not Pep Guardiola or any other manager - is the reason for Barcelona's phenomenal success over the past decade and predicted that the Argentine will never leave the Nou Camp.
Asked if he wanted Chelsea to play in the style of Barcelona or Bayern Munich, Mourinho said: "People think in the wrong way. One thing is a team. Another thing is a team with Messi. It is a different story. He played a Champions League final with [Frank] Rijkaard. He played a Champions League final with Guardiola. He is playing a Champions League final with Luis Enrique. And if one day he plays for Anthony [a generic Portuguese name], then Anthony will go to a Champions League final with him. So when people analyse teams, you have to remember that this boy makes everything different."
Barcelona defeated Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday, with Guardiola in the Bayern dugout. "Messi makes the gap by himself," said Mourinho. "You have doubts that Man City with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Arsenal with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Chelsea with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Man United with Messi can win the Champions League? I think so. I'm not saying they will always win. I am -saying that a team with that boy is a different team, is a different story."
Mourinho was in the unusual position of not having a team in the semi-finals this week but said that he was actually able to take some pleasure in watching Messi. "Watching Messi, you enjoy it so much that you don't think about not being there," he said. "You just think about what the guy did. Every time I played against Messi I spent hours studying and trying to stop him. Many times, we were -successful. Other times we were not.
"With Inter, we stopped him in both matches. The best way to do it is man-to-man because that is better than involving everyone. I played against him dozens of times. Every time I was thinking about how best collectively - I am not saying stop him - to give him a difficult match. That is the best you do against him."
So will Messi ever leave Barcelona? "My opinion, no chance," said Mourinho. "Such a big club, such a powerful club, they can't lose that player, that player belongs to them, belongs to their people. In football you never know, but I don't believe."
Mourinho also said that he was now curious for an explanation after again been overlooked for the manager of the month award, even though Chelsea won four of their five Premier League games in April and drew the other, with Arsenal, before winning the title. "It affects me just because I would like to know why," said Mourinho. "My wife is happy because she says we have too much."
Meanwhile, Mourinho has admitted for the first time that he will oppose the expected sale this summer of Petr Cech, especially to an English rival such as Arsenal, but said that he is not in control of Chelsea's final decision.
"One thing is Jose Mourinho, and another is Mr Abramovich, and another thing is the board because the board is a little bit of me and a little bit of other people," said Mourinho. "If it was my decision, the decision is Petr to stay." Even against his will? "Yes. The club is more important than the player. Without Petr this season I don't think the club would be champions because he played six important matches in the Premier League." Cech has only one year remaining on his contract.