Ruud Gullit: Pep Guardiola hasn't lifted CL since 2011 because he doesn't have Messi

It’s a bit much to say that things haven’t gone right for Pep Guardiola since he left Barcelona but he hasn’t quite achieved what was expected of him.

Guardiola has undoubtedly boosted his reputation since – his Bayern Munich and Manchester City sides have shattered records in their title wins, after all.

Bayern were utterly dominant under Pep, winning the Bundesliga in all three seasons and making it look so simple that it was easy to forget Borussia Dortmund had recently won it back to back.

Then City won the Premier League title in style, cruising to the trophy in a way not really seen since Jose Mourinho’s first stint with Chelsea.

He hasn’t, however, lifted the Champions League since leaving Catalonia.

Guardiola won it twice with Barcelona, first in his debut season in 2008/09 and then again in 2010/11.

He’s yet to even reach a final with either Bayern or City, in fact, and hasn’t managed to win a knockout game away from home.

And the legendary Ruud Gullit, twice a European Cup winner with AC Milan, believes there’s an obvious reason why: he doesn’t have Lionel Messi anymore.

“Guardiola doesn’t win the Champions League because he doesn’t have Messi and that makes a big difference,” he told beIN SPORTS. “He tried at Bayern Munich and he was close every time, but he did not succeed.

“Winning the Bundesliga with Bayern is no longer an achievement because they win almost every season.

“When Barcelona [games] were tight, Messi appeared; Messi was vital for Barcelona in many games during the Guardiola era.

“You can’t buy a team that does that and I feel bad for him because I see his passion and I see his motivation.”

It’s both a hard one and an easy one to argue with – not having Messi is clearly a disadvantage, but other teams have made it without him.

Perhaps the problem is that Guardiola learned to win it with Messi. As Gullit says, if the game was kept tight, Pep could rely on Messi doing something magical to see them through.

He hasn’t had that luxury since, of course, and perhaps it’s time he had a rethink on his Champions League strategy.

The current one doesn’t seem to be working.

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