Greatness of Guardiola

Josep “Pep” Guardiola Sala is not even 14 years into his managerial career at the top level. Yet he is already one of the greatest managers ever. Some argue that if he were to be replaced by some other manager, they could have had similar success if not the same, given the sides that he managed. But the fact that he got the reigns in the first place speaks volumes about the brilliant mind that he possesses and one becomes Coach of the Century for nothing (Globe Soccer Awards). He has managed in Spain, Germany, and England. What’s more, he has dominated the leagues for most parts in all those countries which is a feat in itself.

Management Style

Pep has been an astute reader of the game ever since his playing days. However, it is not talked about enough. He was pretty good as a player as well, but let’s keep that aside for some other times. What he did beautifully was, translate the insights of a player into his managing repertoire. He reads the opponents thoroughly and likes to surprise them by the choice of formation and use of players. Sometimes those strategies don’t come off, but most times they do. His management style is possession-based. He likes to starve the opponents of the ball, making short accurate passes starting from the defense all the way to the net on the other side. He brought tiki-taka back in Barcelona and made it ever so appealing to the viewers.

Advent of Guardiola

After managing the Barcelona reserves for just a season, he got the responsibility of the main team the very next year in 2008-09. He didn’t disappoint at all. During his four-year spell with the Culers, he won a staggering number of trophies and hearts alike. It established him as a top-level manager. In Barcelona, he won the La Liga and Champions League in the very first season. Then he won 2 more La Liga in consecutive seasons and the Champions League again in the 2010-11 season. Additionally, he won Copa Del Rey (3), Club World Cup (2), UEFA Super Cup (2), and FIFA Club World Cup (2) during that stint. He won almost 3 out of every 4 matches with Barcelona. Impressively, he has been able to maintain throughout his career, Bayern Munich and Manchester City included.

Image source: Reuters

Continuing the Merriway

Speaking of Bayern, he managed the German giants for 3 years, winning the League title each time. His win percentage at Bayern was the best (75.16) winning 124 out of 161 games. He also won DBF-Pokals (2), one UEFA Super Cup, and one FIFA Club World Cup with them. After the 3 year stretch at Munich, he moved to Manchester City and has been their mainstay since 2016. And Manchester under Pep has been a force to reckon with. They have won 3 titles in 6 years and are currently leading the table comfortably.

Manchester City starts each season with the tags of favorites. They seem to like that and they have been living up to those expectations for the most parts. Winning the 17-18 season with a 100-points with a margin of 19 to the runner-ups (most ever) and 32 wins (joint-most, the other time a side managed to do so was the following year by City themselves) was absolutely remarkable. Having won 242 out of 324 games (74.69) with the City so far, he has created a squad so fierce that even the bench gives the opponents an actual headache. With City, he is far from done and that is a scary proposition.

Image source: Premier League

More to come

After having won 545 competitive games out of 732 that he has managed, Guardiola is already in the elite category of managers, at just 50 years of age. Not to mention, you can say that 50 for a manager is probably the same as 25 for a player. So, he still has a lot to offer to the game as long as that is what he wants to do. With a heart on his sleeve, cool head on his shoulder, and age on his side, hopefully, we will get to witness more of his magic and more of his greatness for many more years to come – whether that will be at Manchester City or somewhere else is a matter for some other time.