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Pep Guardiola praises former player Javier Mascherano

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Pep Guardiola held his first press conference as Manchester City manager on Friday afternoon.

He fielded a number of questions surrounding his new club and the future of some of his players, while he also discussed many other topics, including his rivalry with Jose Mourinho and other managers.

In a very professional press conference, Guardiola played down the relationship between him and Mourinho, ensured all transfer talk was kept to a minimum and was careful not to get fans too excited about his personal arrival.

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He also had time to praise one of his former players, Javier Mascherano. Speaking about how long he expects his new Man City squad to adapt to his style, Guardiola noted the speed at which the Argentine converted to his ethos.

He said: "Mascherano is so humble. He achieved what we wanted immediately. Javier is one of the most intelligent players I've ever seen in my career.

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"Sometimes you will speak with the players, you want to make an idea or concept but before you've finished he already understands. There are not many, but Javier is one of them."

The pair worked together for two seasons while Guardiola was the manager at Barcelona. They shared huge success, winning both La Liga and Champions League titles. Mascherano became the Spanish coach's first choice centre-back while at the Nou Camp and it's clear that he still rates the defender highly.

The Argentine has been linked away from Barcelona with Juventus rumoured to have been interested earlier in the summer, but the Spanish champions' technical secretary Robert Fernandez has insisted they would like to keep the 32-year-old.

FC Barcelona v Real CD Espanyol - La Liga

After securing the future of Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Rafinha, the Catalan club are keen to offer Mascherano a contract extension as well.

The defender has played 282 games for Barcelona during his six years in Spain, winning every domestic and continental honour on offer.

Should he choose to leave and try his luck elsewhere, it sounds like Guardiola would be more than happy to link up Mascherano again and try to replicate the success they enjoyed at Barcelona.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester City
Barcelona
Jose Mourinho

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