“Guardiola is the best manager of his generation.” “There can never be another Pep Guardiola… He’s such a genius.” These hyperboles of expressions are what we hear about Guardiola especially because he won almost everything in Barcelona and collected more trophies in Bayern Munich. But is he really the coaching genius that people think he is?
He was only 37 years old in 2008 when it was announced that Guardiola would be succeeding Frank Rijkaard as the head coach of FC Barcelona. There was mixed reaction to the announcement because he practically had no topflight managerial experience. The only Coaching experience he had was with Barcelona B and many thought he was not good enough for the job. The Catalan coach was quick to make headline upon his assumption of duty as head coach by publicly asserting that Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto’o (all of whom were prominent members of the Barcelona team then) were not part of his first team plans. He eventually got rid of Ronaldinho and Deco to AC Milan and Chelsea respectively but changed his mind about the Cameroonian.
In the long run, the Catalan coach luckily won the treble in his first season and won many other trophies. He became the most successful manager in the history of Barcelona till date. He quit Barcelona after Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid won the league, citing “tiredness” as the reason for his decision.
Afterwards, he inherited a treble-winning, successful Bayern Munich team from Jupp Heynckes. Under Guardiola’s guidance, Bayern lost the German Super Cup to VfL Wolfsburg in August 2015 but won the League in every single season under his reign.
Now the reality is dawning. Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City ahead of this season and had a bright start with the blues, winning his first then (10) competitive matches, making it seem like he is a superstar manager. Not quite long, things began to fall apart as he was only able to win three (3) out of his next nine (9) games. City are currently struggling to stay in the Top four (4) of the Premier League. He lost the FA Cup semifinal to Arsenal and was knocked out of the EFL Cup by rivals and eventual winners Manchester United. More embarrassingly, Manchester City were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by a relatively inexperienced and young Monaco team after a 5-3 home win at the Etihad Stadium. Ultimately, Guardiola cannot win any trophy in his debut season with Manchester City.
Rightly, Guardiola has won numerous trophies throughout his career but do you really think his Manchester City malaise is a sharp coincidence? Are there reasons to suggest that Manchester City have classily revealed how average Guardiola is? Do you not think that a real ‘genius’ or ‘superstar manager’ would transform this Manchester City team to winning Juggernauts like he did in Barcelona and Bayern Munich?
Former West Brom coach Pepe Mel said about Guardiola’s reigns in Barcelona ‘You put Messi into a team that is already very good and it becomes a great team. I’m sure Luis Enrique is a better coach because he has Messi. Pep was a better coach with Messi. I would have been a better coach with Messi.’
“This is not Germany. In Germany, Bayern Munich start winning the league in the summer. Every year they buy their rivals’ best player. One year it’s Lewandowski, the next year it is Gotze. The next year it is Hummels” Jose Mourinho said about Bayern Munich. After winning the Premier League in 2015 with Chelsea, Mourinho also pointed out how easy it was for Guardiola to win Titles with Bayern Munich. He said “For me I’m not the smartest guy to choose countries and clubs. I could choose another club in another country where to be champion is easier… Maybe I will go to a country where a kitman can be coach and win the title.” Jose Mourinho is very correct indeed. For a team like Bayern Munich, ironically, it is more challenging not to win titles than to win in Germany because they are by far superior to every other team in the division and Bayern even weaken rivals further by signing their top players every year. Now do really think a ‘kitman’ cannot win the German League or DFB Pokal with Bayern Munich?
Guardiola had three (3) seasons in the UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich to prove if he was a genius, but he failed miserably in all three seasons. In the 2013/14 season of the Champions League, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich were humiliated and mortified by Real Madrid. Bayern Lost 5-0 on aggregate to the Spanish team. The following season, he fell short again in the Semifinals against Barcelona. Messi singlehandedly helped Luis Enrique’s Barcelona to demolish Guardiola’s Bayern Munich 6-2. In his final season with the Bavarians, he lost yet again in the semifinal tie against Athletico Madrid, which completed a hattrick of Champions League humiliation for the Catalan ‘genius’.
Guardiola’s reign in Manchester City is already in shamble as they cannot even challenge for major honors this season. A team like Manchester City should have done way better.
The Catalan’s success in Bayern Munich and Barcelona are actually flukes because of the given circumstances. It has taken so long to for some to see it this way because he deceived us all along. Therefore, it must be noted that Pep Guardiola is a good coach like every other top coach but he is not a genius. However, if he needs to prove he’s genius, he may have to win a treble with a Messi-less Man City, or win consecutive domestic trophies in a more competitive country like England other than Germany.