At Barcelona, Pep Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two European Cups, together with two Fifa Club World Cup titles and two European Super Cups, in a four-year spell in charge of at Camp Nou, becoming their most successful coach in the clubs history. This is step one in his future role as the greatest ever manager.
At Barcelona, they sure were successful before Guardiola arrived as chief but never were they aptly named “The Best Club Team Ever” as we here regularly today, this was down to Pep using all the fantastic ingredients he had to hand to create that special team. Tactically it was genius. Revolutionising the sport as we know with a system of play, beautiful to watch and menacing to any opponents in their way.
Create it, he did. The Spaniard made the big decisions by chopping the squad to perfection, Deco, Ronaldinho, Yaya Toure and Samuel Eto’o to name a few, all gone. Quality players, but not right for this exceptional side, controversial choices and there was no guarantee of success. How many other managers would have made these fearless moves?
It is true that the home grown jewels were coming through, but many a manager would misuse, sell or loan these potential stars out. Guardiola integrated them perfectly into the side, first building the team around Iniesta and then introducing Pedro, Busquets and the ultimate star Lionel Messi. This saved the Catalan giants a huge amount of money. Priceless players.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, the number of teams attempting to copy the “Barcelona” way, the system implemented by Pep. A system where you make sure when you lose the ball it is high up the pitch and when you do lose it you immediately pressurise an opponent to make mistakes. Simple system but Guardiola built a squad of players with a certain mentality that could defend in this perfect way.
The doubters will say Guardiola wont be successful as he doesn’t have the players at Bayern Munich to play the like a replica Barcelona. You have to remember that once his Spanish team were the best side in the world he continued to improve them, adapting his system to counter opponents who tried to stop them playing. Pep has shown he can adapt tactically.
The world is waiting to see what the genius does with Bayern