Carles Puyol, a former teammate of Pep Guardiola’s at Barcelona, has declared that Guardiola is one of the greatest two or three managers in the history of the sport. Puyol made these comments in advance of Saturday’s Champions League final, in which Guardiola will attempt to win the trophy for a third time.
Puyol was on the Barcelona squad that won the Champions League in 2008-09 and 2010-11 when Guardiola was the manager of the team. During their time together at Barcelona, Puyol and Guardiola were teammates on the team.
“I (played) with Pep for two years, and to be honest, you could already see these leadership qualities in him in all sorts of ways,” Puyol said in his response to a question posed by the Laureus Spirit of Sport Foundation.
“By the way he spoke, his dedication to the team, and the fact that you could immediately picture him as a coach.
According to me, even if he isn’t the finest coach of all time, he’s definitely in the top two or three of all time.
Puyol, who spent 15 years at Barcelona and won six titles in La Liga as well as three Champions Leagues, stated that Guardiola was already the master tactician even when he was still a player under Dutch coach Louis van Gaal. Puyol made these comments after seeing Guardiola play for Louis van Gaal.
“Even though we had a coach like Van Gaal, who I have a lot of respect for, Pep would still switch defenders on us from time to time,” said one player. According to Puyol, “He’d switch us into a back three, and even a back four at times.”
“I vividly recall one match against Atletico Madrid, and I was astounded at how he could be playing while still visualizing the most effective way to defend,”
Since his arrival at Manchester City in 2016, Guardiola has transformed the club into the most dominant force in English football.
It was his 11th trophy for the club, and he has won five of the previous six Premier League crowns. On Saturday, City clinched the domestic double by defeating Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
This next Saturday, Manchester City will travel to Istanbul to take on Inter Milan with the opportunity to match the triple that Manchester United won in 1999.
According to Puyol, despite the fact that City and Guardiola’s Barcelona teams both have an abundance of offensive possibilities, City’s defensive discipline is on par with Barcelona’s.
“Having such an attacking side, you had to be very aware as a defender, and he was always very hot on that,” Puyol recalled. “He was always very hot on that.”
“Many people really focus on how Pep’s teams play, but I think the difference really lies in how they defend, as well as their reaction when they lose possession of the ball.”
Puyol, whose career covered almost 600 official games, was considered to be one of the finest defenders of his generation. However, he acknowledges that he has some compassion for the Inter defenders who are responsible for preventing 52-goal Erling Haaland on Saturday. Puyol’s career included approximately 600 official games.
“I believe that he is a tremendously complete player who will set the standard for a whole age. Puyol described him as a “real predator in the box,” adding, “I love him, he’s so big, it’s really tough to mark him, and you’d have to analyze it well and work as a team.”