Dutch legend Ruud Gullit has named the key reason behind Pep Guardiola’s failure to win the Champions League since departing Barcelona.
After replacing Frank Rijkaard in 2008, in what was his first senior managerial role, Guardiola led Barcelona to two Champions League titles before leaving Camp Nou upon four years in charge.
However, the Catalan coach has failed to emulate his European feats away from Barcelona ever since.
At Bayern Munich, Guardiola reached the Champions League semi-finals in all three of his seasons but couldn’t quite manage to reach the final itself.
The 48-year-old has fared worse at Manchester City since his arrival in 2016, with two quarter-finals appearances the best he’s managed at the Etihad Stadium following Wednesday’s defeat to Tottenham.
But Gullit reckons the key factor behind Guardiola’s continued failures in Europe is down to the fact he no longer has five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi in the team.
“It’s because he doesn’t have Messi,” Gullit told beIN SPORTS.
“That makes a huge difference.
“He tried to do it with Bayern Munich. He was close every time, but he couldn’t do it.
“Winning the [Bundesliga] championship in Munich is not an achievement anymore because they win it almost every year.
“And I know that Pep, this is what he wants. He wants the Champions League and I feel sorry for him.”
The Chelsea icon added: “Of course when he was with Barcelona he had an unbelievable team inherited from [Frank] Rijkaard, who Messi had already made his debut under,” he said.
“And then Messi became even more important. And Messi was vital in a lot of games for him when he was with Barcelona.”
Despite the millions City have invested in their squad over the years, Gullit reckons that money alone cannot guarantee success.
“You can’t buy a team to do it,” said the Dutchman.
“That’s what it is. And I really feel for him. I see this passion and I see what motivates him, and this is a huge blow for this team.”
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) April 17, 2019