Far more unites Bayern Munich manager Louis Van Gaal and his Inter Milan counterpart Jose Mourinho than their mutual desire to win the Champions League final.
The 58-year-old Dutchman and 47-year-old Portuguese share a friendship dating back to when Mourinho was Van Gaal's assistant at Barcelona in the late 1990s, and Van Gaal still regards his young protege as a soulmate.
Whatever the outcome on Saturday, their friendship will remain intact, even though Mourinho would love nothing more than to put one over on his old Dutch master.
Van Gaal, in the build-up to the final, said: “Jose is my friend. He was a scout and interpreter at Barcelona and I made him my assistant.
“In some things we are soulmates. We send each other text messages often. I'm looking forward to seeing him in Madrid. I'd like us to give a joint press conference to show everyone how well we get along. Of course I know he wants to beat me on Saturday, but I want to beat him just as much.”
A decade on from leaving Barca in 2000, Mourinho retains his admiration for the no-nonsense Dutchman, who has overcome a tough start in his first season in Germany to lead them to the League and Cup double this season.
“Bayern have a great team with a lot of quality. They have a great tradition in the Champions League and a great coach,” Mourinho said. “I learned a lot from Bobby Robson and a great deal from Louis Van Gaal as well.”
Both men approach the game with a rare chance of joining exclusive company because one of them will become only the third coach to win the trophy with two different clubs. Van Gaal guided Ajax to victory over AC Milan in 1995, while Mourinho won with Porto.
Only Ernst Happel (Feyenoord 1970 and SV Hamburg 1983) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (Borussia Dortmund 1997 and Bayern Munich 2001) have achieved the feat.
Zanetti to play 700th match for Inter
For Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti, who has been left out of Argentina's WC squad, the final is undoubtedly the pinnacle of his season as it will mark his 700th match in all competitions for Inter. The defender, likely to play in midfield, said he had “run thousands of kilometers to reach this point and it's quite emotional.”
Real to earn millions if Inter win
Real Madrid will earn three million euros ($3.72 million) if Inter Milan win the Champions League, according to AS. The sports daily claimed on Friday that this is the sum that Inter will have to pay Real because of performance clauses in the sale of Wesley Sneijder to Inter.
Real sold the Dutch to Inter for around 15 million euros, plus amounts according to how many trophies Sneijder won.
AS claimed Real would use the three million euros as part of the package to lure Inter coach Jose Mourinho to Madrid, to replace Manuel Pellegrini.
Pellegrini has still not officially been sacked by Real but Spanish media are convinced that he will make room for Mourinho. Real finished second behind Barca in La Liga, and flopped in the Champions League and the Spanish cup.
Rival sports daily Marca, campaigning for Pellegrini's dismissal, claimed next week Mourinho will sign a three-year contract with Real Madrid.