La Masia poster boy and current manager of FC Barcelona, he is quite literally the gold standard for a academy graduate. Originally a right-sided midfielder, it took the close observation of Johan Cruyff to transform him into a modern-day pivot.
Under the tutelage of the Dutchman he would eventually captain the side which would come to be known as the Dream Team in Barca folklore. Very much a hero among his fellow Catalans he has also been the idol of La Masia alumni’s such as Xavi, Iniesta, Mikel Arteta or Cesc Fabregas who modeled their game after Guardiola.
He wasn’t blessed with soaring pace or incredible power, but so are most La Masia kids, but read the game better than most of his compatriots and embodied Barca’s philosophy of receive, pass and offer to perferction.
With virtually no experience at managing a top-flight team, let alone an European giant, Guardiola took over the reins of FC Barcelona in 2008, replacing Frank Rijkaard. In his first full-season as a La Liga manager he guided the Catalan team to the first ever treble in Spanish football, the fifth overall. At the end of 2009 his trophy-haul swelled to an unprecedented six cups, a record in club football that cannot be bettered.
Two years into his managerial career and Pep Guardiola is recognized as one of the finest managers in the game. He is one of the very few professionals who can claim to have won the Champions League, both as a player and manager. Pep might be the only individual who can boast to be formed at that very club. Carlo Ancelotti for instance, won the CL with AC Milan as a player and manager but he received his football education from AC Parma.
In 2010, still very much in charge of FC Barcelona, Pep has to tackle his toughest challenge, or better yet, opponent so far – Jose Mourinho.