Pep Guardiola i Sala (Santpedor, January 18, 1971) celebrates an anniversary in Copenhagen: he celebrates 900 games as a professional coach. The first 900. There is no end in sight to the career of the second most successful coach in the history of football –the most successful ever seen in the division between titles won and active seasons-, nor does its tactical formula show signs of exhaustion.
The current Premier champion resumes its impeccable European journey in Denmark after achieving all six victories in the league rounds, and in the Premier League, which is also its own, it is second in the table, with one game less than the Liverpool, which they will pass if they win.
Four at home, eight away
Neither the numbers nor the classification will have altered the meticulous preparation what will he have done Guardiola breaking down Copenhagen on his computer until he finds the weakness where he can be hurt and take one more step on the calendar. Because the City coach is not one of those who takes pleasure in looking back, but rather He faces the next game as the challenge that will judge his career. That’s how severe it is. That’s how aware he is of the voracity of football.
A much less aggressive voracity in England than in Spain, where the judgment, at least in Barça, is cainite like nowhere else in the world. There is no other way to explain why Guardiola is going to serve twice as long in cold, gray Manchester than in today’s dry Barcelona, where his family and friends are.
From “tighten your belts, we’ll have a good time” (August 17, 2008) to “I’ve emptied myself and I need to fill myself up” (April 27, 2012), Barça’s best time is included.
He lasted four seasons at Barça -five, that Guardiola never deviates from the course in which he led Barça B, his first champion team, of the Third Division- and he will turn eight at City at the end of this session, which will have one more year left on its contract until 2025.
Guardiola voluntarily interrupted Barça’s most glorious cycle in terms of titles and quality of football, tired of the insidiousness he detected in the board, starting with Sandro Rosell, the president, and his acolytes and to avoid “hurting ourselves”, term that he used to refer to the wear and tear that bordered on the relationship with some players with the “little faces” they showed for an eventual substitution.
He was “the intern”
Pep sat on the Camp Nou bench in 2008 with part of the environment against him and Laporta, who narrowly saved the ‘match ball’ of the motion of censure that summer, stoned by several who now claim to be his friends . “The intern,” they wrote with disdain of the president’s election.
“Tighten your seatbelts, we’ll have a good time,” Pep predicted at the team presentation on August 17, 2008. “I have emptied myself and I need to fill myself,” announced on April 27, 2012 in his deferred farewell, two months and three days before his contract expired, a modality that was later supported by Luis Enrique and Xavi Hernández.
Three years in Germany
Among the already mythical phrases that coined hello and goodbye, Guardiola’s Barça marked an era that has made it a unique episode in history of football, transcending the expectations of the club itself with the conquest of three Leagues, two Champions Leagues and two Club World Cups and a total of 14 titles. That Barça was the first in history to chain the consecutive sextet (League, Cup, Champions, National Super Cup, European Super Cup and Club World Cup) and to present three youth players (Messi, Iniesta and Xavi) in the first three positions for the Ballon d’Or.
Guardiola recharged himself for a year in New York, spending a semester learning German to join Bayern Munich. He stayed in Germany for three seasons where, of course, he won the three Bundesligas. It introduced changes in the native German football, although it did not obtain the endorsement of any Champions League, where it clashed, successively, with Madrid, Barça and Atlético, the first two champions and the third, finalist of the competition.
Guardiola transformed Manchester. The red city that was United’s has been dyed with City’s sky blue.
While Pep was establishing himself in Munich, there was a gradual Catalan landing in Manchester with the future purpose of attracting the character who would transform the city’s football ecosystem. Guardiola brutally shifted the balance of weights. The red city that belonged to United has been dyed the sky blue of City, whose followers have shed all inferiority complexes with respect to their majestic adversary.
Guardiola spent the first year learning and fitting in, without being able to give the team a title (the only blank season of the 15 already completed), and without hearing any reproaches from the staff, all of whom were devoted to him, or from the stands, undemanding for the little traffic hits towards the east of the city.
A year of adaptation was the 2016-17 academic year, essential training for an unleashed era never seen before at the glittering Etihad, the magnificent stage that hosts to the best English team of the decade, with five Premiers won from the last six, European and world champion, who will visit Copenhagen today, as concerned about getting the tie back on track as he is convinced of his method.
A sextet and two pokers
The insurmountable rivalry that unites Guardiola’s clubs with their opponents (Barça and Madrid, Bayern and the others, City and United and Liverpool) conditions the judgment to the technician’s career. Let the numbers speak, then. Winner of the first sextet of history (2009, later equaled by Hansi Flick with Bayern Munich (2020), Guardiola has two more pokers, with Barça (2011, failed in the Copa del Rey) and City (2023, the English Super Cup escaped).
Above Guardiola is Sir Alex Ferguson, whose 50 titles in a career of 39 seasons as a coach, they top the ranking of successes. The red with which he dyed Manchester with United has been repainted blue by the Santpedor coach, who already has 37 titles in 15 campaigns complete, in the absence of finishing the current one.
The best without discussion
Guardiola has won 12 of the 15 leagues in which he has participated and in comparison with Ferguson he has a higher percentage of victories (72.7% compared to the Scot’s 58.1%), goals scored (2.46 to 1 .85) and lower goals against (0.78 to 0.92).
Compared to his contemporaries, Pep’s 37 trophies surpass the great history of Carlo Ancelotti and his 27 titles in 27 seasons (1995-2024, he did not coach in 2015-16) and the of José Mourinho, 26 titles in 23 seasons (2000-24).