PEP 💬 Football is not about defensive, offensive, you cannot win titles (without a good defence) and we have concede few goals and few chances.
This team (Everton) scored three at Old Trafford and five against Spurs and a team that can create chances.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 17, 2021
Josep Guardiola is certainly a footballing legend. Not only was the Barcelona man an iconic player in the number six position, winning La Liga and Champions League titles, but he seamlessly transitioned into management. At the time of writing, Pep has won 30 trophies with three different clubs in three separate countries.
The man will undoubtedly go down in sporting immortality as one of the best. However, can Guardiola lay claim to the mantle as the GOAT regarding his managerial career? He wouldn’t admit it openly, yet it’s an essential debate for fans and pundits because these debates are at the heart of what makes the game great.
An English Legacy
British fans expect players and managers to perform in the Premier League because we see it as the world’s number one division. While it isn’t necessary – no one can say Lionel Messi is unproven because he’s only played in La Liga – Guardiola did make the transition in 2016.
After a shaky start, Man City have gone from strength-to-strength under his leadership, becoming only one of a handful of teams to win back-to-back EPL trophies. Also, his City side have accrued the most points in a season (101) and their domination doesn’t appear set to end with the Premier League betting odds placing Guardiola’s men at 1/66 for the title this year. Manchester United, who are second in the league, are 33/1.
Nobody looks likely to usurp Sir Alex Ferguson regarding the longevity of the Scotsman’s career, especially in today’s ruthless climate. One thing Guardiola has done, however, is to create a legacy that won’t be forgotten for decades due to some of the records his team has broken.
Pep’s Career in Numbers
Break Pep’s career down to the bare bones and it’s frightening. For instance, he already has five European titles to his name, two behind Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti. He has two Champions League winner’s medals, one behind Zinedine Zidane, Bob Paisley, and Ancelotti.
Overall, Guardiola has amassed 30 major trophies, which is only 19 behind the former Manchester United legend. At his current rate of winning cups and leagues – 2.7 per season – he will surpass Ferguson within eight to nine seasons.
Of course, Sir Alex did this in a near three-decade spell at one of the biggest clubs in world football. Guardiola has been around for 13 years.
Relight My Fire
After signing a new contract at the Etihad Stadium, the Man City boss told reporters he would only walk away if his fire or desire disappears. At the moment, that doesn’t look likely as City is built around him, with an infrastructure perfectly suited to his managerial style.
But if he did walk away, it could only increase the odds of him adding to his CV. Guardiola’s only sabbatical is after he walked away from Barcelona in 2012. After a year of reflection, the best manager in the world came back stronger with Bayern Munich. During his tenure, he won three Bundesliga titles on the bounce, as well as DFB-Pokal, Super Cup, and Club World Cup silverware. Resting appears to only do him good, which is bad news for any team that doesn’t acquire his services.
Is Pep Guardiola the greatest manager ever? If he isn’t now, it surely won’t be long before he’s the undisputed champ.