Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gracias Pep

The man has come this far.

11 years ago, nobody knew much/or ever heard of the name Pep. When you said the name almost everyone would give me a stone face, with the exception of perhaps my fellow longtime Barca fan WX.

Now, because of the team he has built, the football philosophy he has passed on and instilled in his charges, the man that is Josep Guardiola is a household name to all footy fans.
The former captain of the Catalan giants has indeed put Barcelona's football on the world map.

Even the Barca fan in me had my reservations when Pep was installed as manager in 2008 due to his only experience as B team manager.

But now with 4 years gone and 13 titles already, it would perhaps be fitting if Pep signs off with a last Copa Del Rey trophy.

As a player, his major achievement was being part of the 1992 European Cup winning team. A deep lying midfielder whose tacking is not the best, Pep's game revolved around his vision and his eye for the killer pass. Keeping things simple. However serious injuries curtailed his contribution for the Catalans though I believe he played enough during Van Gaal's time to lift the La Liga. His successor in the Barca team was a certain Xavi Hernandez, a player in the similar mould who was to ultimately surpass his master.

As a manager, his contribution to me are numerous:
- Rebuilding the post-Frank Rijkaard team by installing confidence
- Bringing back Gerard Pique
- Important signings in Seydou Keita & Dani Alves
- Discovering and promoting many B team players
- Ultimately creating a team centred around Messi and moving his from a wide attacker to the main forward
- A remodelling of the usual 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 to utilise the talents of his team

The misses would include:
-Getting rid of Yaya Toure for 24mil pounds
- Not managing to integrate Alex Hleb
- Dud signing of Dimitry Chrgrynsky for 27mil  

Still in all, it has been a brilliant 4 years to put Barca on firmly on the world football map. 
Gracias Pep!
Visca Barca, Visca Catalunya!

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