With all eyes watching to see what Pep Guardiola pulls out of his hat when he ascends onto Bayern Munich in July after agreeing to a 19 million euros per year deal for three years, I shudder to think whether he can mimic the successes achieved at Barcelona.
Guardiola has lived many dreams. He was part of the Barcelona Dream Team that won the European Cup for the first time under Johan Cruyff. He succeeded Frank Rijkaard as Barcelona coach in 2008. In his first season at the Camp Nou, he won the treble with Barcelona, namely, the La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League. He made history by becoming the youngest manager to win the UEFA Champions League. The next season he won the Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, making it six titles in six competitions in the same year. He received the FIFA World Coach of the Year in 2011 and led Barcelona to 14 titles in four years. He was also the longest standing coach of Barcelona, a record formerly held by Joseph Samitier. Quite a resumé and one not be reckoned with.
With an attack like Barcelona, who continues to win games despite the exit of Guardiola, will Bayern Munich be able to show better form and achieve glory so desired by the fans of the Allianz Arena under Guardiola? Is it the mindset of players? Is it the motivation from managers? Is it the pressure from fans? Is it the skill and talent of the first team and bench? Or is it just the combination of all of the above? What makes a good coach?
Guardiola is young, talented and good looking. Some critics have even called him gifted. It seems that younger coaches meet players on a better level than older, experienced coaches. The likes of Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho are indeed better coaches on paper and their titles and achievements are endless. Pep Guardiola has achieved glory that many only dream of, and that is what makes him unique, which is quite admirable.
But how far does talent take you as a coach? Is it possible to be stern Alex Ferguson who has won many titles over many years? Can you be the “Turnaround Man”, Harry Redknapp, and save Tottenham Hotspurs from their demise, take them to Champions League qualification within a season and then show Europe that ANY team can get to the quarter finals of one of the most prestigious competitions in the world. Not any coach has that type of skill to motivate players to believe in themselves and instill a turnaround strategy within months.
Now Redknapp is the man to bring QPR back on its feet after Mark Hughes made them crawl down the road less travelled. Roberto Di Matteo turned a down-in-the-dumps Chelsea to win the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, and still lost his job. It makes one wonder, what skills are required to be an exceptional coach, where the whole world sits up and takes notice. This can only be achieved by repeated wins, and only titles and trophies bring celebrity status. I remember a friend telling me that he never took note of Jose Mourinho before Porto won the Champions League. I was not one bit shocked, as I did not know him before then either.
Many would like to see if Guardiola can mirror the successes of Barcelona at Bayern Munich. Some of us would also like to see his fall from grace, just for the world to see that he might just be an ordinary coach, that he might just not be a super coach, but was rather, the coach of a super team.
About the author: Gracia Michaels is a freelance writer, SAFA Cape Town football referee, former semi pro footballer and works full time in media monitoring. Follow her on Twitter @Gracia_Michaels