Pep Guardiola .

Pep Guardiola gave Barcelona an odd response when offered manager's job in 2008

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Luis Enrique has come and gone. Barcelona are once again ushering in a new era.

Ernesto Valverde is the latest incumbent of a job that is among the most pressured in European football.

Such is the weight of expectation on managers of the Blaugrana that in recent years, both Pep Guardiola and Enrique have left to take a sabbatical.

Judging by Guardiola's frantic behaviour since taking over at Manchester City, the Catalan does not cope particularly well with the levels of stress inflicted on high-profile managers.

Nevertheless, despite a difficult first season in English football, his reputation is still - largely - intact.

Some of his decisions, most notably his preference of Claudio Bravo over Joe Hart, have raised eyebrows, but if anyone deserves to be given time, it's Guardiola.

His reputation was built at Barca, and sustained at Bayern Munich, even if the Champions League continued to elude the Bavarians.

It was Barca, though, who gave him his initial start in management following his work with their 'B' team.

Stunning offer 

As reported in the Daily Mail, former club president Joan Laporta has recalled the moment he told Guardiola he would be appointed Barca boss - and he was met with an odd reply.

Barcelona's former President Joan Laport

"You haven't got the balls to do it," was Guardiola's response to the offer.

It was definitely a significant leap of faith to opt for the then 37-year-old, who had never taken charge of a team at senior level.

And whatever has been said about the players at his disposal, it was a decision that paid off, with Barca winning 14 trophies under his leadership.

Barca overlooked Mourinho 

In fact, not only was it a bold move in itself, it took even more courage from Laporta because it meant overlooking Jose Mourinho.

When asked if he ever thought of that as one of football's great 'what-if?' moments, he added:

Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

"Not even for a second. Mourinho is a great professional but Guardiola was much better suited to our club. Of course, there are other ways of seeing football but we have our own way."

There's something nostalgic about remembering Guardiola's time at Barca, as that was when the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi were at their real peaks. Laporta is confident, however, that his former employee will be able to emulate that success again, predicting:

"Pep will triumph with City, and when he does it will have even more merit because he will have done it without Messi."

Will Pep Guardiola be a success at Man City? Have your say in the comments. 

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