And he did it again; Pep Guardiola has bagged yet another La Liga title, his third in as many seasons. Since the former La Masia youth product took charge of the Blaugrana he has led FC Barcelona to nine trophies out of a possible 12. Come May 28th he could claim his second Champions League triumph as a manager (his third overall).
To put his achievements into perspective, FC Barcelona have been crowned La Liga victors 21 times and have only won the Champions League trice.
As a player and manager, Pep Guardiola has played an integral part in winning nine La Liga trophies and two Champions League triumphs. He is, without a doubt, FC Barcelona’s golden boy/talisman/legend.
If Johan Cruyff is the Godfather of FC Barcelona’s playing philosophy, then Pep Guardiola is the embodiment of the (Catalan) club. While Pep himself has indicated that his time as Barca’s manager is coming to an end, his long-term future surely lies with the Blaugrana.
Quite a few (current Barca president Sandro Rosell amongst them) predict that Pep Guardiola is destined to become the president of FC Barcelona at a later point in his career. For now, Culés are relieved to know that they can count on his services for at least one more season.
A year leaves more than enough time to formulate a contingency plan in case Pep Guardiola decides to call it a day. Join me in my search for FC Barcelona’s next manager.
The hot seat of FC Barcelona is among the most courted jobs in football. Rumor has it that Jose Mourinho’s apparent bitterness towards FC Barcelona stems from the fact that he wasn’t employed to replace outgoing manager, Frank Rijkaard.
As the legend goes, Johan Cruyff didn’t endorse a potential move for the Special One because of his defensive-minded approach and penchant to stir controversy.
Besides, managers who want the post of FC Barcelona’s manager must adhere to Barca’s philosophy and not the other way around. It’s the unique requirement that narrows down the potential list of candidates considerably. Let’s meet the five most likely choices.
Out of all previously mentioned candidates, the Frenchman ticks all the right boxes.
Free-flowing football? Check.
Emphasis on possession? Check.
But there is a huge question mark over his transfer dealings as well as his ridiculous over-30 policy. The latter may have cost him several titles in recent seasons.
Likelihood of Arsene Wenger joining FC Barcelona…very little.
The current but outgoing manager of FC Barcelona B is linked to a host of La Liga sides, most notably Atletico Madrid, who are rumored to keep tabs on the former Barca captain.
Three years of managing FC Barcelona B surely improved his tactical skill set. Not to mention, he is loved and admired within the Catalan shores and knows the club well.
FC Barcelona and Dutchmen, a winning combination as history has proven time and again.
Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona are uniquely intertwined. Some of Ajax’s finest players went on to either play for or manage FC Barcelona, sometimes even both.
The Dutch giants' greatest player ever, Johan Cruyff, would forever shape and alter FC Barcelona’s philosophy. It is not an exaggeration to say that without the Dutchmen, FC Barcelona wouldn’t have accumulated its success nor its distinct playing style.
That said, Frank De Boer has led Ajax Amsterdam to their first league title since 2004. In direct comparison, Frank Rijkaard could be considered more of a gamble than Frank De Boer.
While FC Barcelona have a long and distinguished history with Dutchmen, players and managers alike, why not employ a German for a change?
That said, Jürgen Klopp can’t boast the most impressive of CV’s, neither as a player nor manager (in terms of prestige, not results), but his Borussia Dortmund side have been without a doubt one of Europe’s most attractive clubs in 2010/2011.
Working with an almost non-existent budget, he created the meanest defense in Germany as well as a cohesive attacking unit.
Under his guidance, Bayern Munich reject Mats Hummels has developed into one of Europe’s finest center-backs. In a way, Hummels progress under Klopp is akin to Gerard Pique’s development under Pep Guardiola.
Furthermore, Culés would welcome a buy one get two deal. Jürgen Klopp and Mats Hummels, that sounds just about right.
My personal choice and a fellow protégé of the late Sir Bobby Robson, the Portuguese manager is rapidly becoming a hot commodity in football.
He started out as a protégé to Sir Bobby Robson but honed his skills under Jose Mourinho.
However, Andre Villas-Boas prefers eye-pleasing attacking football, against any side, on any turf. From what can be gathered by the press and media, he is no less meticulous or detail-orientated as Mourinho.
But that’s where the similarity in approach starts and ends. Judging by the set-up of his FC Porto side, he is more in the mold of Pep Guardiola and would suit FC Barcelona’s philosophy perfectly.
Nevertheless, FC Porto will not let their manager leave without putting up a fight.