Pep Guardiola, speaking to ESPN in comments carried by Diario AS, has opened up on the relationship he had with his players during his four years in charge of Barcelona. He admitted that their dealings weren’t always idyllic, as some put their own well-being above the good of the team.
“At Barcelona I had much closer relationships with some players than with others because there are many players who think of the common good, and I feel much closer to this type of player than to those who only think ‘I, I, I’,” Guardiola said. “These, when we have to use them, we use them, and when we don’t have to use them, we don’t use them.
“Throughout the seasons, relationships with players always leave scars, but also lots of learning. You learn from everything. But the relationship between the coach and the players depends on them and not the coach. There are players who deserve to have a close relationship and others a more distant relationship.
“Football is a business that consists of the day the referee whistles and the game starts, you win. Apart from that, it doesn’t matter whether we’re friends or not. This is a business. And I’m here with the ambition of getting the best out of the players. They have to play well for the benefit of our club and for the fans to be happy. Having good relationships is great. But for me, good or bad it’s the same, because this is a business.”
Guardiola coached Barcelona for four seasons, between 2008 and 2012. During that time they won it all. Specifically, the Catalans, who Guardiola also represented with distinction as a player, won three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, three Supercopa de Espana titles, two Champions League titles, two European Super Cup titles and two Club World Cup titles.
After leaving Camp Nou citing burnout, Guardiola enjoyed a year out before pitching up in Germany at Bayern Munich, where he spent three years. He joined his current club Manchester City in 2016, continuing in the vein of earning incredible success everywhere he goes. City are still capable of winning all trophies they’ve contested this season heading into April.