Why Pep Guardiola Should Return to Barcelona

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IFebruary 9, 2015

Pep Guardiola enjoy unqualified success at Barcelona.
Pep Guardiola enjoy unqualified success at Barcelona.Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Pep Guardiola will almost certainly always remain as the benchmark for future Barcelona managers to aspire to.

His template was so intense yet so beautiful and most importantly, it worked.

For anyone that decries Pep's achievements with a throwaway remark such as "well anyone could manage that team," we only need remind ourselves of the struggles that Tata Martino eventually endured, and to a lesser degree what Luis Enrique has already struggled with this season.

Things didn't work out for Tata Martino at Barcelona.
Things didn't work out for Tata Martino at Barcelona.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Indeed, Martino was even moved to note per an interview with Clarin via Marca:

I didn't make any mark on Barcelona, it was a bubble in my career in terms of what I did as a coach.

I went to a team that always won and didn't win anything while I was there. [...] All I learned in Barcelona was about being surrounded by stars, by the best in the world.

I made some monumental mistakes with Barcelona.

While the top stars that Martino alluded to can generally be relied upon to provide an elite level of footballing excellence, to get such inflated egos to perform at the very top of their game week in and week out, and with such intensity and tempo, whilst also being confidante, friend, father figure and more to them...well that takes something very special indeed.

Lionel Messi's respect for Guardiola was obvious.
Lionel Messi's respect for Guardiola was obvious.MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

Guardiola had that ingredient.

A hold over his staff quite unlike anything we have seen before with the possible exception of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign at Manchester United.

Players that would put absolute trust in methods that were perhaps hitherto unknown, because there was a willingness to do whatever it took for a manager who had convinced them to a man that his was the way forward.

Remember too that there were question marks over Pep's usage of players such as Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodriguez, who had only ever played at the youth levels of the club. Yet here they were on the biggest stages of all and not looking out of place.

Who was anyone to argue as title after title was secured and lorry-loads of silverware were delivered on a regular basis to the Blaugrana side of Catalonia, adorning a by-now heaving trophy cabinet.

It's a moment in time that most experts will say can never be repeated. To that end, should a player or manager ever really consider going back to a club expecting to replicate their achievements from yesteryear? 

Per Mundo Deportivo via The Guardian, Pep himself seems to have ruled out a return:

"In principle I won’t coach Barça again. I think that there are cycles in life and that mine [at the club] finished."

Yet, with club elections just around the corner and a potential bid for the club presidency from Joan Laporta, it could be the right time for Guardiola to reconsider.

Guardiola's judgement was backed all the way by Joan Laporta, who may make a bid for the Barcelona presidency again this summer.
Guardiola's judgement was backed all the way by Joan Laporta, who may make a bid for the Barcelona presidency again this summer.MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

Look at his words again. "In principle I won't coach Barca again." Not "I definitely won't coach Barca again."

Yes, the goalposts have moved.

The players that he had at his disposal are all seven years older than they were when he first took charge of the team and it's fair to say that they're not close to the team that Pep built upon his acceptance of the top job at Camp Nou.

But therein lies the challenge.

To pick up where he left off. To take a new crop of disciples and fuse their talents with the skills of Lionel Messi, Neymar et al.

After all, Bayern Munich isn't offering him anything like the challenge we might have expected in the Bundesliga.

Where's the excitement in coaching a side that has only lost once all season, conceding just nine times of which four came in the same game?

Surely the carrot of proving your managerial credentials beyond any doubt, by underpinning a regeneration of the current Blaugrana to somewhere approaching the one he left behind, is far more appealing?

That has to be the reason why Pep Guardiola should return to Barcelona.


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