It’s almost nine years since Pep Guardiola departed Barcelona for the last time as manager.
In his four trophy-laden years, he managed to win 14 titles, the final one coming in the 2012 Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club, Pep’s last game in charge.
Coincidentally, both teams meet in this year’s Copa del Rey final on Saturday night, with the Basques having only lost the delayed 2020 final a fortnight ago.
Reminiscing about his time at the club with Catalan media outlet TV3, Guardiola recalled the desire of his squad at the time when he departed.
“I remember when I went out on the pitch, I saw the tension of the Athletic Club players,” he said, reported by MARCA.
“The Barcelona players, on the other hand, seemed to be playing a friendly match. They were used to it, they knew they were going to win.”
“I would tell you with total certainty that it was not like that [going easy in the second half].”
“Marcelo Bielsa’s teams are educated in resilience and they never give up and those Barcelona players would score five goals if they could and if they could score eight goals they would.”
“They were lovely people, but on the pitch those players were f***ing murderers.”
Since then, a handful of teams have come close to equalling the majesty that the 2012 side displayed, not least Guardiola’s subsequent teams, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
At this point, the Citizens are still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple of Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League which, if they were to succeed in winning all four, would arguably take City’s 2020/21 vintage beyond that of his beloved Barca.