Ten years on from the departure of Pep Guardiola, Barcelona fans are firmly in the phase of looking back longingly at his spell there as manager. With Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves (again) still there, perhaps the players do the same thing.
Guardiola has come under criticism over the last decade for his inability to win a Champions League, particularly after Manchester City fell to a dramatic defeat against Real Madrid. Pique at least has little doubts about his ability as a manager.
Speaking to The Overlap, a SkySports interview programme with Gary Neville, Pique detailed what made Guardiola so special.
“He is very clever and he understands the game as no-one I’ve seen before. He gives you all the tools to go to the game and be ready for any kind of situation.”
“He studies very well the other team and from that he starts to tell you, you have to do this in this situation, you have to do that.”
“From that you feel very confident you will be ready for the game, no matter the challenge, no matter how difficult the striker you have to mark, the centre-back you have to face. And this is all because of him, mentally he’s very good, his speeches are very good.”
Neville then pressed Pique for further details on the speeches and what was differential for Pique on an emotional level.
“He touches your heart.”
“I remember that talking, he used the right words every time to make you feel that in front of you, you have a very strong challenge but an opportunity to prove yourself to the world and that you can beat them.”
Current Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez was in that same team with under Guardiola and given both share a similar style of press conference, Cules will be hoping there’s plenty more that Xavi took from his former mentor.