Pep Guardiola Agrees with Critics Who Say He Depended on Lionel Messi at Barca

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2019

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) and Bayern Munich's Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola stand on the pitch during the UEFA Champions League football match semi final FC Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona in Munich on May 12, 2015.  
AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN        (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said he agrees with critics who say he only won the UEFA Champions League because of the players he worked with. 

Twice during his time as Barcelona manager the coach lifted the European Cup, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta central to the Blaugrana's success.

Ahead of City's meeting with Schalke in the Champions League on Wednesday, Guardiola was asked about the suggestions he was dependent on those players in pursuit of the biggest prize, per Sam Lee of Goal:

"I completely agree with them. Completely agree with them. I would not argue for one second because when I was there I said many times that I had incredible players.

"I did as well with Munich and Manchester, but in Barcelona I was a lucky guy. I'm sorry, I was lucky. I agree with them."

As relayed by Lee, the journalist said to Guardiola that a debate was raging about his Champions League credentials "on Nigerian Twitter space." Here is the exchange between Guardiola and the reporter:

Recently the Champions League Twitter account reminded us how storied a past the City manager has in European football:

The team Guardiola helped forge at Barcelona is regarded as one of the best to play the game. The former Blaugrana midfielder steered the team to the Champions League twice and La Liga three times.

Having midfield maestros like Xavi and Iniesta available to him certainly helped, as did the fact that Messi had emerged as one of the greatest players in the world. Guardiola also had experience to fall back on in the form of Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes.

As relayed by Eleven Sports, in Messi, Xavi and Iniesta, the City boss had the three players who have now played more games for the club than anyone else:

However, Guardiola deserves an credit for the work he did towards Barcelona being the dominant force in European football.

Still, until he wins the Champions League elsewhere you suspect these kinds of doubters will surface. With a remarkable City squad at his disposal and a relatively favourable draw in Schalke in the last 16, Guardiola will feel he has an excellent chance of going all the way again this year.

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