What makes Pep Guardiola so great?
Here’s what Messi, Xavi, Robben and Neymar all have to say about the Catalan legend while Jurgen Klopp has a few words of warning for the 45-year-old before he takes over at Manchester City next season.
‘ALMOST A SICKNESS FOR FOOTBALL’
“He doesn’t give himself a minute’s rest.” said Barca legend Xavi, who explained some of the secrets to his success, adding: “He’s pig-headed, football is his everything and he puts so much intensity into everything. Pep’s almost got a sickness for football.”
It’s a sickness that’s brought an incredibly healthy and unrivalled haul of major trophies that Man City fans will be confident he can replicate when he takes over at the Etihad. They will also be licking their lips at the prospect of new signings and given Neymar’s words about Pep, stellar players will be keen to follow.
The Brazil striker said: “Guardiola is a guy that I really admire and who I would love to work with.”
PRIDE, AMBITION, HUNGER
Neymar’s probably heard a lot of Pep talk from Lionel Messi and the Argentine has praised the ethic Guardiola instilled during his spell as Barca, saying: “Pep immediately transmitted an enormous amount of pride in our work, ambition and hunger.
“He won our confidence from the first day because we could see that things were being done correctly and then when results started to flow the confidence grew with them.”
Bayern’s closest equivalent to the mercurial Messi, Arjen Robben said of his manager: “We have one of the best coaches in the world…It is a lot of fun working with him.
“Tactically he is maybe the best. And I don’t say that just because he is our coach at the moment.”
‘A REAL COMPETITOR’
He is “one of the best managers in the world” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp who made the move from the Bundesliga to the EPL four months ago. “He will enjoy the league because it is a great league and a real competition and he is a real competitor,” said Klopp. “That is what he wants. I don’t think it will be the same situation as he had in Spain, with Barcelona on the top level, or in Germany with Bayern on the top level, but of course Man City has good possibilities.”
“I don’t have to tell Pep Guardiola anything because he is that experienced. [But] the number of games is the biggest difference.”
‘FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL’
He continued: “In Germany, when you tell people about the FA Cup that if you draw you play again they say: ‘What?’ Here you have penalties and extra time, but only after the second game. That’s the thing, the number of games – football, football, football. With a perfect pre-season you are prepared for a long, long journey. We knew about it, but to feel it is different.
“Pep is so experienced, for sure. I’m sure he will buy a few players and have a good team, have 35 players or whatever! What I can say about here is very positive. It’s a great country, great people, the food is much better than everybody said and the weather is not great, like everyone said.”
By Joe Cahal