“Pep Guardiola is the gifted student of Johan Cruyff, he is the apostle. He is the one who knew how to absorb all the concepts that Cruyff gave us and gave continuity to all that in his coaching methods.“. So spoke Eusebio Sacristan, former teammate of the Catalan in the Dutchman’s Barça. In this almost mystical transmission, some did not forget to go back to the roots of the genius Cruyff: the influence of Rinus Michel. The drawing is moreover become a regular object of sharing on social networks.
On this one, Guardiola’s proclaimed heir is obviously Xavi. Question of Barcelona parentage, of course. However, on closer inspection, the battle of Guardiola’s disciples now looks like a fierce struggle. In his coaching career, which started in 2008 at Barça, the Catalan managed more than 200 players between Barcelona, Munich and Manchester. And almost a dozen have already converted to coaching.
Pep Guardiola Xavi
Credit: Getty Images
Stimulated players, future coaches
Not everyone had the same relationship with the Catalan. Yaya Touré, in particular, will find it difficult to praise his management after Guardiola’s choices in Barcelona and then in City towards him. For the others, on the other hand, it is a shower of compliments. Thierry Henry has already explained how much he had “relearned to play football“during his time at Barça.
“This 2009 season was exceptional for me, I took everything I could takeexplained Sylvinho concerning his only year spent under the thumb of Guardiola. I was already old, experienced enough to observe all the details, to absorb everything. Not just as a player either. I didn’t know I was going to be a coach but I was much more attentive, I watched everything, I wrote everything down“.
Vincent Kompany goes further: without Guardiola, he would never have taken charge of the destiny of Anderlecht then Burnley, brilliant leader of the Championship. “The click is himadmitted the former City defender to the BBC last August. He clearly made me want to be a coach, he was so important to me as a player. He made me see the game differently, like so many players and coaches who attended it. But what’s interesting to me is how I adapt that, what’s doable in my situation. I want to be my own manager“.
Pep Guardiola and Vincent Kompany
Credit: Getty Images
Arteta, the true disciple?
“It was frankly incredible to be part of this team and to see how it was built. I will be eternally grateful to him“, he said a few weeks ago. If Arsenal is there today, it is also thanks to the long time and a project built from season to season, despite the disappointments.
This is exactly the turn taken, too, by Manchester United last summer with Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman had decided to leave the Go Ahead Eagles in 2013, when he had just brought the club up to the Eredivisie. To go where ? Train the reserve of Bayern Munich, in German D4. The presence of Guardiola within the Munich club weighed heavily in his choice and the radical philosophy of the Dutchman since his arrival at MU proves that he has assimilated certain collective concepts from the Catalan.
You created a monster
Arteta – ten Hag: two men currently battling with Guardiola for the same title. The two also share a characteristic that differs from the Catalan City: absolute verticality, a cardinal notion of recent years at the highest level. Arteta’s Arsenal and ten Hag’s MU are two more flexible teams, no doubt, than the Citizens.
Rio Ferdinand had put his feet in the dish last November by evoking Arteta, in a remark which could also stick for ten Hag. “You created a monster“smiled the BT Sports pundit to Guardiola.”No, not at all, laughed the Catalan. He was already a monster“. Dogs are not cats…