Pep Guardiola’s appointment at Manchester City has turned the club into European contenders, admits Thierry Henry.
City have failed to go beyond the Champions League round-of-16 stage despite Sheikh Mansour’s large investment in 2008 but the former Arsenal man thinks Guardiola’s arrival can inspire the club to become champions of Europe.
Henry played under Guardiola at Barcelona and thinks the Spaniard can win the Champions League at City, like he did twice at the Catalan club.
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Speaking to Sky Sports, Henry said: “The thing that I hope he can do if Man City does not win the Champions League this year, I think in the three years they will be very close to winning it.”
The Frenchman compared Guardiola’s appointment at City to 2008, when he became Barcelona boss.
He arrived the season after the Spanish club failed to win a single trophy, finishing 18 points behind rivals Real Madrid in the league.
Henry continued: “People always said it was an easy job at Barcelona, it wasn’t an easy job at Barcelona, trust me.
“After my first season [before Guardiola took charge], it was very difficult, the fans were really unhappy because we did not win everything.
“But he was from there and people were patient with him. But I can assure you that what he brought was outstanding.
“Now to compare the two teams - he is going to come to a team that can really play already with players that have won stuff with experience. So it’s pretty similar.”
Guardiola will find himself in a similar situation to the one he arrived in in 2013, when he was appointed Bayern Munich boss. Jupp Heynckes left the club after winning the treble and, with City still competing on four fronts this season with one final already awaiting, there’s every chance the 45-year-old will join a club looking to build on a trophy-filled season.
Guardiola’s true mission, though, will be to turn City into a European heavyweight.
Despite winning the Bundesliga in his two seasons in Germany, Guardiola’s spell as Bayern boss could be considered a disappointment if he fails to lift the Champions League in May.
The Bavarians reached the semi-finals in 2014 and 2015 before succumbing to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
But with City’s resources, Champions League glory will be his minimum target.