On 1st February 2016, Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola would be succeeding Manuel Pellegrini as head coach of the club. Fans might look back at this day, as the day the fate of this football club was dramatically altered. Guardiola is simply the most successful manager in recent times, by a mile. Since he started his coaching career with Barcelona in 2008, he has won more trophies than any other manager in world football.
In his first few months at the helm of Barcelona, Guardiola made very clear what he expected from his players. He wanted a harder work ethic and a strict implementation of his plans and tactics during a game. He let go of veterans like Ronaldinho and Deco, and instead promoted youth starlets like Sergio Busquets, Jeffren and Pedro into the first team.
Guardiola’s first year at Barcelona was a dream. Having already won the Copa Del Rey, he guided Barcelona to their first league title since 2006. He then finished the season in style by winning the treble, beating Manchester 2-0 in the Champions League Final and became the youngest man to coach a Champions League winning team. That treble winning season is said to be one of the finest seasons in the history of the club.
Guardiola finished the calendar year of 2009 with a record six out of the six available trophies, adding the Spanish Super Cub, Club World Cub and European Super Cup to his trophy cabinet. He ended up winning 14 trophies in just 4 years at the Catalan club.
After such immense success, he decided to take a year long sabbatical and take stock of what he wants to do next. It was announced that his next destination was the Bavarian capital of Munich, and the home of the German Champions, Bayern Munich.
Now what really differentiates Pep Guardiola from other managers is his unyielding commitment and work ethic. I will go into details about what I mean by this. Even before he officially took charge, Pep had already started German classes and wanted to give his first press conference at the club in German. This is unheard of in modern football. He wanted to be able to converse with the german players in their own language and be able to effectively communicate his instructions himself, and without a translator. That speaks volumes about the man.
Guardiola won 5 major trophies in a 3-year spell at the german club, reaching the semi-finals of the champions league in each season. He will be fondly remembered by fans who saw their team play a high pressing, possession based football which was a radical change to their style of play.
Pep Guardiola has finally come knocking to the Premier League, arguably the toughest league in the world. He went from one European giant to another, but his challenge at Manchester City is very different. His previous clubs were established mammoths of European football. Pep’s job here is to take a club in transition, and transform it into a European heavyweight, capable of challenging the likes of Barcelona and Bayern.
Unlike La Liga and the Bundesliga, the Premier League is a far more competitive league. We have close to six teams fighting for the title, which means it’s going to be an exciting season for the rest of us neutrals. City have the money and the raw materials to be a great team. It’s Guardiola’s job to make them one.