Dani Alves Talks 'Football Einstein' Pep Guardiola's Manchester City Move, More

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2016

Barcelona's coach Pep Guardiola (R) speaks with Barcelona's Brazilian defender Dani Alves (L) during their Spanish league football match beetwen Sevilla and Barcelona at Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla on May 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has hailed his former manager Pep Guardiola as a “football Einstein” and backed him to be a big success at Manchester City next term.

The Bayern Munich boss is set to leave the Bundesliga giants at the end of this season and join the Premier League outfit. Guardiola’s first managerial job was at Barcelona, where Alves has long been a key player, and the Brazilian told the Times (h/t Tom Matson of Goal) he’ll implement plenty of positives at the Etihad Stadium:

His secret is he gets you to see things differently. He is a football Einstein.

For him it’s a change and that’s what he likes. Guardiola likes to move to places where he can make a revolution. I have no doubt that he is going to achieve it because he is a freak of football.

[He will want] everything his way, and when you get to a place where they are going to allow that—because in England they respect that—it will be ideal for him.

Bleacher Report UK had some fun with the claims made by Alves with this post on Instagram:

Although there’s still a long way to go in the Premier League season yet, plenty of fans are already looking ahead to 2016-17, when Guardiola will sample English football for the first time.

It’s no surprise there is excitement. After all, this is a manager who sets up his teams to play not only fantasy football, but winning football, too. Barca and Bayern have won a plethora of honours under Guardiola’s tutelage and done so with a swagger.

As noted by BreatheSport, his record when it comes to winning silverware is pretty special:

Still, there is a lot of work to be done at City. As was evident in their 3-1 loss to Leicester City last weekend, this is a team that lacks energy, impetus and youthful exuberance. So while there is undeniable talent to work with in the squad, there is a full rebuilding job to do at the Etihad Stadium.

Alves feels as though Guardiola is capable of such of a feat, although he’ll have to draft in his own personnel to do so.

Big things will be expected of Guardiola at City.
Big things will be expected of Guardiola at City.LUKAS BARTH/Getty Images

“It will be difficult because he will have to find the pieces. It was difficult for Guardiola when he left here because he had a philosophy and knew players were going to follow him,” said the Barca star. “Elsewhere, they are of a different mentality. If you have a puzzle and cannot find the right pieces, the thing will never fit.”

Naturally, plenty of players have been linked with moves to City since Guardiola was confirmed as the club’s next manager. Ian Ladyman and Neil Ashton wrote in the Daily Mail that both Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and Everton centre-back John Stones are on the manager’s radar.

Pogba has already been linked with a move to City.
Pogba has already been linked with a move to City.FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/Getty Images

Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones took a look at what the appointment of Guardiola may mean for one of City’s longstanding key men, Yaya Toure, who played for the manager at Barcelona:

Alves is one of a select few players lucky enough to have worked under the iconic coach, and it’s intriguing to hear him offer such effusive praise. They’re anecdotes that will only add to the expectation when Guardiola does rock up in east Manchester next season.

City surely represents his biggest challenge to date, though. Granted, the infrastructure is in place for success and there are tremendous players to work with, but this is a team that needs some significant reshaping in a division that is ferociously competitive. It’s going to be a massive test of Guardiola’s managerial mettle.