Pep Guardiola is already hailed by many as the best manager in the world.
From a tactical perspective, Pep Guardiola brought world football into a new era during his time in Barcelona. When he left for Bayern Munich, coaches around the world studied his philosophy in an attempt to overhaul their outdated methods.
The rules of the game even changed to promote his style of total football. Most recently this manifests with the way goal kicks are taken allowing goal keepers and defenders the possibility of playing the ball even deeper from the back.
At Bayern Munich, his success continued as he earned the respect of players who credited him for changing the way they played and understood the game.
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Still, there was something missing. The Champions League trophy.
Even as Pep Guardiola made the Bavarians into a higher quality team, he was never able to achieve European glory.
At Bayern Munich, winning the Bundesliga is pedestrian. The true objective is to prove that they’re the best club in the world, and the showcase for that is the Champions League.
With Manchester City he now has an opportunity to prove that his revolutionary tactics can consistently manufacture the best team in the world, even when you don’t have the best player in the world. I’m talking about Messi here.
City is a better fit for him than Munich.
In Manchester, he has been given the freedom and time to truly cultivate and foster an environment that is his own.
Last year his team broke the points record in the Premier League, but were tripped up in Europe.
This year they received fierce competition from Liverpool and no one will blame them for losing out. In fact, since the restart the Citizens have looked the better team. Next year we should be in for a colossal battle.
But right now Pep Guardiola has a moment that could earn him the status as greatest of all time in the eyes of many.
If he loses, however, critics will question whether there is enough substance behind the style.
Bottom line, he needs to beat Lyon convincingly. This will be a massive challenge because any team that makes it to the quarterfinals will be brimming with belief in their ability to pull off a win.
But Manchester City is the better side and he needs to prove it beyond doubt with a display of top class soccer, and by the score sheet.
After that he’ll have an even better chance to show the world his genius by taking down one of his former clubs. It would be quite the statement to show them what they’re missing.
Both Bayern Munich and Barcelona to this day show the remnants of Guardiola in their style. But they have also shown that they have drifted away from his trademark tactics, and to varying degrees of success.
If he can get past them, and then hammer home a victory in the final in Lisbon, Pep will be a true legend of the game. Perhaps the best ever.
Time to seize the moment.