Manchester City have appointed the Lionel Messi of football management after announcing the arrival of Pep Guardiola, according to Rio Ferdinand.
Guardiola will join United’s biggest rivals Manchester City at the end of the season and Ferdinand, who enjoyed 12 trophy-laden seasons at Old Trafford, admitted Guardiola’s availability after he announced his intention to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season is the equivalent of Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo becoming available.
Ferdinand also revealed his disappointment that United failed to pursue the former Barcelona boss with more vigour.
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The former defender was asked if United has missed the boat in failing to get Guardiola, to which he replied: “Probably, yeah.
“When someone like him becomes available, it’s like in player terms Messi or Ronaldo becoming available. Man United, you like to think they’d be going for someone like that, of that calibre.”
United are currently fifth in the table, seven points behind their biggest rivals, and many predict the gap between the teams will widen when Guardiola arrives.
But Ferdinand is optimistic United can scare City with a strong finish to the season.
He said: “We’ve got to climb that table and get somewhere near the top, if not the top. That will hopefully be a signal back across the park to Manchester City.”
City supporters have expressed their delight at United’s expense and Ferdinand hasn’t been immune to the banter.
“I’ve seen on social media - I’ve been inundated with tweets and messages here and there from Man City fans but Man United have to get the balance of power back now.
“Man City are probably on the upward path and Man United, we don’t know what’s happening really.”
Many are expecting Guardiola to turn City into Europe’s dominant team. The club’s wealth combined with the 45-year-old’s tactical nous seems to spell disaster not just to the rest of England, but the whole of Europe.
But Ferdinand, 37, is holding off declaring City a superpower now they have Guardiola.
He continued: “We’ve got to wait and see how Pep Guardiola does, the team he creates and the atmosphere he creates at the club.
“Yeah, there’s going to be an upward turn straight away because someone of his ilk coming into the team with what he’s done in the game in the last few years at Barcelona and now Bayern Munich, but you’ve still got to prove your qualities in a new league with a new team.”
Guardiola won three La Liga titles and the Champions League twice with Barcelona before joining Bayern in 2013 and winning the Bundesliga in his first two seasons at the club.
His track record is phenomenal and Ferdinand expects him to bring success to the Sky Blues.
“If you look at his history it tells you that he’s got more than a good chance of [being successful],” the former England international added.
“But I’d like to think that Manchester United would put up a good resistance to that.”
If United appoint Jose Mourinho, does that make up for City getting Pep? Have your say in the comments section below!
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