Pep’s the best? Not quite.

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Following Guardiola’s decision to step down, and the knee-jerk reaction from a large section of the media, I decided it was time to bring down the myth about Guardiola being the greatest manager in the world. As we know, a Gowan-born lad has been at the helm for 25 years and shows no sign of letting go…

As Pep Guardiola announced his decision to step down from his post as Barcelona manager at the end of the season, the headlines were ready around the world to celebrate the man that delivered 13 trophies in the last four seasons, as Barca swept aside their opponents – with a few notable exceptions – earning themselves the tag of greatest team of all times.

Whether the Catalans are effectively the greatest football club ever is debatable, whether Guardiola is the best manager in the world,is out of question.

He simply is not.

The former Barca captain surely raised the bar in terms of success and demonstrated that it’s possible to lift trophies – in his case, in abundance – even by sticking to a rigid football philosophy, but his admirers tend to forget that El Pep enjoyed a definitely easy ride compared to some of his colleagues.

Ifย football was to be compared to a social background, Guardiola would definitely be considered as the product of a well-off family.

Sure, the expectations were high as he stepped into the dugout at the Nou Camp for the first in the 2009 season, but the players at his disposal were world class, some fresh of continental glory with Spain – Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol – some on their way to global icon – Leo Messi.

Hardly a bad group of players with which to embark on his first managerial job of his career.

Sure, Guardiola developed Barca into a team that combined style and success like no other before. Yes, there was the romantic aspect of the youngsters stepping into the first team and storming to European and domestic glory, but Pep didn’t decide to field product of Barca’s academy purely out of necessity for he knew the club would back him financially.

When talking of Pedro, Tello and Cuenca – only the first has established himself at Barca for the time being, while the two younger products have enjoyed longer spells in the team this term – it’s easy to forget that David Villa, Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, Adriano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dmytro Chygrynskiy – both far from memorable purchases – and Dani Alves were brought in with hefty price tags around their necks – with Gerard Pique the only exception, as he was relatively cheap.

Guardiola explained that stress and pressure where decisive factors in his decision, something that would have had Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson grinning given that the Catalan spent only four season in charge of Barcelona, compared with the 15 years Wenger has spent at Arsenal and Fergie’s 25 years at Old Trafford.

Claiming that Guardiola has built a cycle is a misleading statement, for he moulded an already excellent side into a fantastic reality, highlighting Barca’s philosophy and expanding to previously unseen levels.

Likewise, it would be disrespectful to consider the players the only reason behind Barca’s achievements but, without taking anything away from Pep, it’s hard to imagine him enjoying a similar vein of success was he to join another club – curiously, the same could be said about one of Pep’s greatest servants, that Lionel Messi that would probably never leave the Camp Nou.

Thirteen trophies in four years are a fantastic achievement and Barca have dominated European football to a level perhaps only seen with Real Madrid in the 1950s, Ajax and Bayern in the 1970s, Liverpool in the 1980s and Milan in the 1990s but quitting after four years leaves behind a sense of unfinished business.

Perhaps, Guardiola’s greatest achievement was to remain always dignified, in victory as much as in defeat.

A successful, classy and humble man, whose name will always be mentioned in the same breath as Barca’s but not quite one of the greatest managers ever.

Not yet, anyway.

Daniele (@MUFC_dan87)

You can read more European football nonsense on http://weshallnotbemoved.wordpress.com/

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15 Comments

  1. Great right up. I agree he really cant be counted as the greatest manager of all time but he did make some bold decisions kicking deco and ronaldinho out of barca- I remember at the time thinking what the fuck, but it worked out well for him.

    On another note I dont buy into the fact barca are the best footballing team in the world. It is true they suffocate opponents but I for one find them extremly boring to watch and they have no idea about a plan b. I am delighted they wont win the champions league this year ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  2. Marin for ยฃ7 million is absolute bargain..Why cant Fergie see value in the market or may be Bebe is better than German Messi in his opinion.. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    • @Owen: Marin showed signs of potential a few seasons ago but has scored 1 goal and contributed 5 assists so far this season. Good player but definitely not world class.

    • @Owen: German Messi… comment of the Year!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

      Marin was interesting a couple years ago. Let’s see if he can make life interesting at the Euros (or if he can even compete for a place on bench). How does he even suit Chelsea’s tactics??? A poor man’s Robben imo.

  3. I literally CANNOT sleep or work or concentrate b/c of tomorrow game. Can’t wait!!! Nervous to bits and fooking looking forward to it at the same time…

    Glory Glory Man United!!!!

    • @RedDevilEddy: Seriously, Eddy, just record the scream (video?) and post it on RR facebook page … otherwise, I struggle to see how you get it past the Great Wall! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. All I can say is do not fucking lose tomorrow lads. I don’t care if we have to punch, kick and pillage our way to a draw, I would take that.

    Now I’m not great at rallying the troops, so I’ll leave that to my good friend Achilles with his nice little pep talk.

    May the spirit of Anderson plague City’s passing tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  5. Too excited!! Too scared!!

    PREDICTION: Whoever scores first will WIN the game, especially if that goal comes in first half!!!!

    because:
    1. City have not conceded a first-half goal in 19 of their last 20 Premier League games, and have let in only six all season

    2. The Red Devils have yet to win a league game after conceding the opening goal this term (D3, L4).

    COME ON UNITED!!! Make us proud!!!

    • @Opti: This is how we beat City EVERY time. First goal! Plus, if it happens in first half, it will be “weird” for them as it happens so infrequently.

  6. I’m watching the game in Beijing… I’ll be listening out for RedDevilEddy’s scream…

  7. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/4287171/City-v-United-Ji-Sung-Park-set-to-replace-Danny-Welbeck-for-derby.html

    Oh christ, please no.
    Absolutely no benefit playing park today, at all. His only asset, his work rate, has completely gone now, his passing is atrocious, and not only would his inclusion leave me moaning all night, it would also be a sign of very little attacking intent from the manager.
    And thats fine if you’ve got vidic and rio in their prime and you’ve got the meanest defence in the world. But as we are now, a disaster waiting to happen really at the back, it just seems relatively pointless taking out someone who contributes to our attacking game (welbeck) for the sake of a work horse who has been a terribly poor all season.
    The same goes for giggs, who really would be out of his depth in a game like this.
    I say, as much as i want us to get away from 4-4-2, that something we need to do only when weve brought in another midfielder or 2, and have moved on from the likes of giggs, park and anderson.
    Until then, i say 4-4-2 all day long. Welbeck and rooney can take the game to city, whose defence is suspect i feel, and we can then think of changing things later on in the game if need be.
    Id just hate to see us go there, set up for the draw, and end up basically handing the title to shitty playing mancini style football.
    Win, lose or draw, weve got to take the game to them, because i feel they are weak mentally and that is something that has been shown before, they dont like it when teams take the game to them, nor when the pressure is on.
    We go 4-4-2, and that side doesnt include giggs or park, then i actually fancy our chances tbh. Of getting a draw anyway, i dont think we’ll win, but i suppose a draw would be enough really.

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