Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has claimed that “even Real Madrid changed their style” because of Pep Guardiola.
In a Sky Sports documentary about Guardiola that will be aired by the broadcaster on Monday night, Xavi explained in detail how the new Manchester City boss began a “real football revolution” at Barca and its impact on their arch-rivals.
“Joan Vila, who was my mentor at La Masia, told me, ‘boy, soak up everything you can from Pep … his first touch, how he turns his head before receiving the ball, when he is under pressure, when he has space, his changes of rhythm, how he uses both feet to control the ball’,” he said.
“The first thing I remember him saying as a Coach was that he would not tolerate any player not working hard.
“’This is the only thing that I require, that you work hard for the group [what Pep said].’ This was a surprise for us.
“The high pressing was brilliant. It was a real football revolution, a modern kind of football.
“Within a few years, no one played long balls anymore, even Real Madrid changed their style.
“Pep’s first year started this football revolution. We made history. Not just for the victories, but also for the way we played.
“He changed world football. He did not just change Barca, he changed world football.
“I think he is one of the few people who can change English football.”