In a rare, exclusive interview, Pep Guardiola sat down with the Guardian to talk about former coach Johan Cruyff.
Guardiola states that without Cruyff, he would not have been manager of Barcelona, Bayern Munich or his current club, Manchester City.
He added a belief of his to the interview, too, that Cruyff is the best manager of all time. The renowned tactician said he often consulted with the Dutchman when in charge of Barcelona.
“Without him I wouldn’t be here. I know for sureties is why I am, right now, the manager of Manchester City and before that Bayern Munich and Barcelona,” Guardiola said.
“Before he came we don’t have a cathedral of football, this beautiful church, at Barcelona. We needed something new. And now it is something that has lasted. It was built by one man, by Johan Cruyff, stone by stone. That’s why he was special.
“I would not be able to do what he did. You hear all these people saying, ‘Oh Pep, what a good manager he is.’ Forget about it. Cruyff was the best, by far.
“Creating something new is the difficult part. To make it and build it and get everyone to follow? Amazing.
“That’s why, when I was Barcelona manager, I went to see Johan many times. I made especially sure I went a lot in my first year when we won everything, absolutely everything.”
While the above is hardly surprising as it comes from the mouth of a Barcelona man, Guardiola did shock a few when he said he knew nothing before Cruyff.
The Manchester City boss added: “I knew nothing about football before knowing Cryff.”
“He was the most influential person in football history. He changed not one club. He changed two clubs – as a player and a coach.”
The work Cruyff done at Barcelona was tremendous but he will also be remembered as a fine footballer, winning three European Cups at Ajax and one La Liga title with the Catalan giants.
Who do you owe your football knowledge to? It’s difficult to bypass the philosophers that preach the beautiful game on fan channels such as Arsenal Fan TV…