Pogba v Mourinho: Casillas, Ronaldo, De Bruyne and Jose's biggest bust-ups
A terse training ground exchange on Wednesday gave little indication that the relationship between Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba will improve any time soon.
Mourinho has stripped Pogba of the club's vice-captaincy in the wake of some outspoken interviews from the France international midfielder – although he maintains there has been no fallout.
During the most successful phase of his career, Mourinho was viewed as a coach who defended his players to the hilt, fostering a close bond with and loyalty from his squads.
But since his appointment at Real Madrid in 2010, bust-ups with star names have increasingly been a part of his make-up. We look at how some of those played out as the Pogba row potentially edges towards its endgame.
THE BUST-UP: As Mourinho confronted Pep Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona team at Real Madrid, he could not allow any potential marginal gain to slip from his grasp. If this meant upsetting a club great, so be it, and Casillas' close friendship with his Spain team-mates in the Barca side reportedly angered the Portuguese. Madrid took LaLiga back in 2012 but the effort seemed to leave the dressing room drained and frayed. Casillas was dropped in December 2012 and, on his return from an injury, new signing Diego Lopez was preferred amid allegations the senior goalkeeper was the source of stories leaked to the Madrid press documenting disagreements between Mourinho and senior players.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: The dispute loomed large over Mourinho's departure at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, but Casillas never regained first-choice status and, after helping Madrid to Champions League glory in 2013-14, he signed for Porto in 2015.
Dos jugadores impresionantes! Dos grandes personas! Muchas gracias por todo queridos @21LVA & @3gerardpique ! Que momentos vividos juntos en @SeFutbol ! Suerte en lo que os queda de carrera! pic.twitter.com/6g4u42MJFq— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) August 13, 2018
THE BUST-UP: The two countrymen generally kept their relationship on a level in public during what were arguably the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's peak playing years, even though mediation from their mutual agent Jorge Mendes was reportedly required. But the Casillas affair took a wider toll in terms of Mourinho's standing with his senior players, with Ronaldo among those to renege on an uneasy truce.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: Following his Madrid departure, Mourinho seemed to relish the opportunity to send a barb in Ronaldo's direction. "He did not accept what I had to say. That might be because he thinks he already knows everything," Mourinho reflected when discussing his tactical criticism of Ronaldo. He referred to Brazil international Ronaldo as the "real" Ronaldo, while he dismissed the prospect of Cristiano signing for United this year as "never on the table".
Kevin De Bruyne
THE BUST-UP: De Bruyne began the 2013-14 season in Mourinho's Chelsea starting line-up, having impressed on loan at Werder Bremen. He fell from favour and, after Mourinho criticised his performance in a League Cup win at Swindon Town, the Belgium midfielder sought pastures new for fear of ending up on Chelsea's loan carousel. He signed for Wolfsburg in January of that season.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: Adapting quickly to his new surroundings, De Bruyne was named Bundesliga Player of the Season in 2014-15 as Wolfsburg finished as runners-up to Bayern Munich. That persuaded Manchester City to make the playmaker their record signing and he was integral to their dominant Premier League triumph under Guardiola last term.
Dreams come true pic.twitter.com/l1DlML7C7C— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) May 14, 2018
THE BUST-UP: Amid Chelsea's shambolic Premier League title defence in 2015-16, Mourinho's relationship with Hazard came to appear strained. After the forward impressed in a 2-0 Champions League win over Porto, he reacted to his late substitution by shunning Mourinho's handshake. Five days later during a 2-1 loss to Leicester City, Hazard left the action after half an hour with a hip problem despite Mourinho cajoling him to return to the field.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: The Leicester loss left Chelsea hovering improbably above the relegation zone and Mourinho was sacked, with technical director Michael Emenalo citing "palpable discord" within the squad. Hazard bounced back as a standout performer in the Blues' 2016-17 Premier League title win under Antonio Conte.
37 - Eden Hazard has scored in more home Premier League games without ending on the losing side than any other player in the history of the competition (37 - W34 D3 L0). Charm. pic.twitter.com/fIjWJN7gOs— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 15, 2018
THE BUST-UP: Shaw began Mourinho's United tenure as his first-choice left-back but was soon out in the cold, with Mourinho casting aspersions over his attitude, commitment and "football brain" in various broadsides. When Shaw was hauled off at half-time during last season's 2-0 FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion and his manager said the decision was in "relation to trust… relation to class", there seemed no way back.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT: Refusing to be cowed, Shaw has knuckled down and is once again the go-to starter on the left-hand side of United's defence. He has been one of the few undisputed bright spots over the opening weeks of the season, with the 23-year-old's form earning an England recall.