Manchester City’s appointment of Pep Guardiola was a significant moment in European football.
If Europe’s elite, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and co., didn’t take Manchester City seriously before, they certainly do now.
Guardiola is the most successful manager in the modern era and anything less than turning City into Champions League winners will be considered a disappointment.
Article continues below
It won’t happen overnight. The Catalan himself admitted it will take ‘decades’ to replicate Barcelona’s success at the Etihad Stadium.
When Guardiola’s philosophy was questioned following Man City’s 4-0 drubbing in the Camp Nou last week, he hit back by reminding everyone of his achievements.
Article continues below
“I’m sorry guys,” Guardiola said, per the Independent. “I won 21 titles in seven years. So it's three titles per year playing in that way.
“If you believe I arrive here and in three months everything is going well and I'm going to win in the Camp Nou 0-4, I'm going to dominate against Messi and Luis Suarez and Neymar is going to create nothing, and Iniesta isn't going to play good - no. I'm good, but it's not enough!
“To achieve what they (Barcelona) achieve, we need decades. Cruyff started when he arrived in 1989/90.
“I am ambitious, but not to change what is impossible to change in the short time. It's impossible.”
Guardiola clearly has big ambitions at City. When all is said and done, he’d love to have a few Premier League trophies and at least one more Champions League winners medal to his name.
However, things could have turned out much differently if the Citizens hadn’t pounced as quickly as they did.
Marti Perarnau, Guardiola’s biographer, has revealed that Real Madrid made an approach to the Catalan when they realised he was planning to leave Bayern Munich at the end of last season.
Los Blancas were searching for a new manager in January after Rafa Benitez’s dismissal and there number one target, apparently, was Guardiola.
"When Benitez was going through a tough spell at Real Madrid there was contact," Perarnau said in an interview with La Sexta, per Marca.
"There was an approach to Pep Guardiola see what he was going to do after Bayern Munich.
"A representative transmitted the message to [Guardiola], but he replied by saying that he was going to Manchester City and that he wasn't going to listen to proposals from anyone."
It’s hard to imagine Guardiola accepting Madrid’s plea. Not only did he manage their biggest rivals, but he also graduated from La Masia and spent 11 seasons in Barcelona’s first team, too.
Would Guardiola have joined Madrid if he hadn't agreed a deal with Man City? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!