For every detractor, there is a supporter. The question about Guardiola pops up every now and then, taking up hours and hours of football fans discussions.
Pep Guardiola came through La Masia and was the poster boy for Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona dream team. He established himself as a midfield general and always looked ahead. Alongside other CDM’s of his era, he redefined his position for others to follow.
The main man in Barcelona
After hanging up his boots, his footballing journey continued. Barcelona B and then the first team. He could not have asked for more but lady luck continued to smile. La Masia was bursting with talents, and Guardiola had the best footballer of all time is his dressing room.
Fortune favors the brave, and it did. Unprecedented title success came his way. The Catalan was etching his name in history books for all the right reasons. Barcelona were playing the best football seen in over a generation, and there was no one twenty paces behind them, not even hundred.
That was great start and his next destination was similar. Bayern Munich are record Bundesliga winners. With deep pockets, they have robbed the German top flight of their jewels and accumulated them at the Allianz Arena.
With Pep on the bench, domestic success was guaranteed but nothing happened on the European front. The foundations he laid are still very much there, and Bayern have racked up domestic titles in the same mold.
Premier League’s fast pace
The English Premier League has proved to be tricky. The competition is great and any team can beat you on their day. In addition, you have to pit your wits against the best coaches in world football every weekend.
Pep Guardiola learnt these facts the hard way. A ‘small’ fortune was spent and Manchester City turned into a team capable of following his orders. Two successive titles were secured.
The third does not look likely with Liverpool racing ahead. It is not an indictment of the Catalan manager’s abilities that the Reds are playing the best football of their long illustrious history.
With two Premier League titles, two EFL Cup triumphs, the FA Cup and back to back FA Community Shield trophies, make it seven winners’ medals for Pep at the Etihad Stadium. Not a bad haul. And more to come with FA Cup and EFL Cup distinct possibilities.
But it is not domestic cup competitions that Pep Guardiola’s legacy will be centered upon. He is a great manager. But not a legendary one. Not at this moment.
He needs the Champions League to go along with his numerous domestic triumphs. And it is success in the elite European cup competition that has eluded him ever since he left Catalonia. Once European success is in the bag, the old debates will finish.