The back pages are salivating over the prospect of the two sides meeting tonight, and each take slightly different angles to the pre-match comments of the two bosses.
The Real coach has endured a chastening start to the season, with his side picking up just four points from their first four games in La Liga, and slipping eight behind rivals Barcelona in no time.
Not for the first time, he’s chosen to take the fight to City ahead of their Champions League opener at the Bernabeu.
While the Portuguese said that City winning the Champions League had an air of inevitability to it, he stopped short of saying it would be the current manager who achieved it.
“I don’t think it’s very different. When Roman bought the club, Claudio Ranieri was coach. After that I come, we won the first league, the cups, more titles. Carlo (Ancelotti) came and kept winning and finally (under Roberto Di Matteo) they won the Champions League.
“With City, Mark Hughes was first coach with the new owners who started to spend money and buy good players, then Roberto comes, doing good work, spending more money, buying better players and building an incredible squad. The first cup coming, the first championship coming, also the Charity (Community) Shield.
“I don’t know if it will be this season or next, whether with Roberto or somebody else, but sooner or later they can win the Big Cup (the Champions League). I don’t know if it will be Roberto”
That, say The Times, was Mancini being ‘goaded’ by Mourinho.
The Daily Mirror, by contrast, play up the ‘City will be Kings of Europe’ angle (though to be absolutely clear, that’s not technically what they’re playing to become).
Other papers concentrate on what Mancini himself had to say in his press conference, and having given them the two-yard tap-in of a fast car reference, who can blame them?
Can City win the Champions League, Mancini was asked: “If you drive a Ferrari you can win. We used to drive a Fiat Cinquecento and then it’s not so easy; now we are driving a Ferrari.”
“Top Gear City”, oblige the Daily Mail, while The Independent opt for “City swap Fiat for Ferrari in race for ultimate prize”. The Daily Star’s effort is “City have got va va vroom”, which given that’s an ad for a car which is neither a Fiat nor a Ferrari, doesn’t really work.
The Sun, meanwhile, has a line on Arsenal rather than the City game, with Arsene Wenger voicing fears that fans jeering Theo Walcott could make it harder for the club to extend his contract.
Walcott has less than a year left on his deal, and Wenger says the boos his winger received when coming on as a substitute in the Premier League match against Southampton from some fans were unhelpful.
“It is a worry,” said the Frenchman. “You want your players to be supported no matter what contractual situation they are in. I hope it does not affect me or his fans.”
There’s a selection of transfer titbits from the back pages this morning, although with the transfer window not open again until January and the small matter of some actual football to discuss, it’s relatively thin on the ground.
The Daily Mail report that Nigel Reo-Coker, now a free agent after being jettisoned by Bolton, is on the verge of joining Charlton in the Championship, while another former Premier League man without a club, Royston Drenthe, is set to join Greek side PAOK Salonika.
And in ‘deals that never were’ news – Jan Vertonghen says he rejected a move to Arsenal to join Tottenham in today’s Metro, while Liverpool were considering a move to re-sign Fernando Torres this summer – a move which never got off the ground because the man behind it, director of football Damien Comolli, was sacked in April (Daily Mail).