“We had a great time when Pep was here (Barcelona). We won a lot of titles and I grew a lot – that was the time when I grew most as a footballer. We had a fantastic relationship when he was here.”
“If Pep told me to throw myself off the second tier at the Camp Nou, I’d think: ‘There must be something good down there.’”
– Dani Alves
“He doesn’t give himself a minute’s rest. He’s pig-headed, football is his everything and he puts so much intensity into everything. Pep’s almost got a sickness for football.”
“Pep is the secret weapon of this group. Leaving aside the sheer quality of players, he is a very special talent, along with the rest of his coaching staff. Pep Guardiola is one of the best secrets and the most important member of the team.
– Victor Valdes
“Pep doesn’t just give you orders, he also explains why. That makes you a better footballer because you learn the reasoning behind his instructions.”
– Gerard Pique
“There is one thing you can be sure of — he wants to dominate. People associate his teams with the number of goals they score but his teams also don’t concede a lot. He always wants to be on the front foot, having the ball, possession, and he wants to dominate.”
– Thierry Henry
“He gives you so many solutions for when you are then in the middle of a game, and nearly all of them turn out to be the right solutions when you apply them.”
– Andres Iniesta
“Guardiola is one of the greatest coaches in the history of football and I feel proud to have worked with him. His style is to have the ball, try to be offensive and attack, and when you lose the ball you have to recover it as soon as possible.”
– David Villa
“I have always said there are just two persons who could make me change my decision to stay at Barcelona. One of those two persons is my wife. And she is happy here right now, so I don’t think there will be any issues on a personal level. On a sporting level, that other person is Guardiola. It’s clear that I owe Pep a lot and I would be honoured to work with him again.
– Sergio Busquets
“Intelligence is often expressed in how well you adapt to where you are, to your circumstances. And he is very, very intelligent. He would adapt to any football anywhere. He is a perfectionist, obsessive: he keeps going until he gets it right, no matter what he’s doing. If Pep Guardiola decided to be a musician, he would be a good musician. If he wanted to be a psychologist, he would be a good psychologist.”
“Guardiola is a guy that I really admire and who I would love to work with.”
“He is an incredible coach on a completely different level in terms of tactics,” he said. “He’s a brilliant coach and I’m sure he’ll do a great job [at City]. “He really helps players develop and he even helped me improve at the age of 30. With Pep it’s more than just about winning trophies. You’re always measured by the number of trophies but he developed a lot of players with the way he thinks about tactics, the way he analyses games and prepares teams for particular opponents.”
– Phillip Lahm
“I had to learn a few things in the first couple of months but Pep was able to see he could get the best out of me to help the team. I’m in my second year with him, I’ve learned a lot and working with him has been just what I needed. Pep looks at everything we need to do. I watched what I ate and I trained at home. I know the little things are important too. Pep thinks about football 24 hours a day. He covers every angle to the smallest detail and he always demands 100 per cent in training and in games.”
– Robert Lewandowski
“I have learned a lot from Pep. He’s a genius. I can learn more from him in an hour than from others in one year. He not only lifts you to the next level on the pitch, but also in your mind. He has revealed totally new options to me. I did not know that was possible when I got to Munich. He found a new position for me.”
– Douglas Costa
“Since he came I think I’ve improved my game — especially technically. I think we’re all really thankful that he was here for three years and he made everybody better in the game and us as a team.
– Jerome Boateng
“We have one of the best coaches in the world. As many of our players have said, we all want him to stay. It is a lot of fun working with him. Tactically he [Guardiola] is maybe the best. And I don’t say that just because he is our coach at the moment.”
– Arjen Robben
“He’s the world’s best in terms of analysing the opposition, game preparation and coming up with solutions.”
– Toni Kroos
“The coach is very demanding but it’s really amazing to train with him. It’s like he reinvented football. He thinks about football 24 hours a day, he’s always explaining to us on the screen what’s the best way to attack, best way to defend, the best way to play with the ball.
– David Alaba
“Pep brought greater emphasis on putting value on possession and controlling the game. “The Bundesliga has always been a competition of strength, power and goals. He changed the concept of German football in general and they found a harmony that saw them go on to become world champions.”
– Thiago Alacantra
“We all wanted Guardiola to remain. He is the best coach I’ve ever worked with.”
– Xabi Alonso
“I value more my friends than my enemies. Pep is a good friend of mine. I always thought that he is the best manager.
“This year I reckon those people and everyone out there will see what kind of a manager he is. For me, Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world. So, from a coaching aspect, I learn more from Guardiola than anyone else. He’s an inspiration to loads of coaches, including myself, because he’ll do things a lot of other managers wouldn’t dream of doing.
– Craig Bellamy
“[Pep] helped me so much. I can say he changed my game completely, I improved so much with so many issues, and he still tries to be perfect and to give me pressure. I think I need it too. He reminds me all the time to work more, work harder, and think about what I’m not so good at.
– Leroy Sane
“He is more like a genius who reads the game and covers every situation imaginable. He is always showing us how to create space and find solutions and there is no manager like him, which makes him probably the best in the world.”
– Ilkay Gundogan
“I had been told really good things about him and he has lived up to them. He’s the best manager I have ever had. He’s really duro [hard, driven]! He pushes everybody. But if you want to get to the very highest level, it’s good for you.”
– David Silva
Working with Pep was sensational. We played the best football out there both in the Champions League and in Germany, better than all other teams. Guardiola deserves credit for that. Guardiola has moved Bayern forward in all aspects. I have learned a lot from him both as a footballer and as a human being.
– Manuel Neuer
“I hope he becomes England coach one day and bring us his style. He can still succeed in England. He could improve in defence because at every ground you come under pressure, but everyone in England loves the way his teams play.”
“What I like about Guardiola is that he had some incredible players at Barcelona who were already there and that he went to Bayern Munich to train in the best team in the league, but when he arrived here, City was not the best team and now he’s very ahead of the others and playing in a way that we had never seen before
– Frank Lampard
“Pep never stops thinking. I will give you an example. We beat Dortmund 3-0 last month. We were on the plane, very happy as we’d beaten our biggest rival, but he sat at the front, opened his laptop and started preparing for the next match. He is obsessed with football.”
– Karl-Heinze Rummenigge
“One thing I have noticed about Guardiola – crucial to his immense success as a manager – is that he has been very humble. He has never tried to gloat, he has been very respectful and that is very important. As a coach he is very disciplined in terms of how his team plays, whether they win or lose he is always the unpretentious individual. And to be honest, I think it is good to have someone like that in this profession.”
“Pep is an excellent man. I know Guardiola very well, but maybe he does not get as much merit because he has impressive players. Let’s not forget though that he is very young and has a great career ahead of him
“Guardiola wants to make football better, to take his team to another level. [ . . . ] He played in the third team back then (when he was given his first-team debut at Barcelona in 1990), and physically he was nothing, but he knew how to help himself with the right movement. And this experience in turning disadvantages into advantages distinguishes him as a coach. To me, he’s one of the best in the world. What is really outstanding about Guardiola is that he doesn’t force his style of football onto his team. He analyses what is best for the team, utilises the special details and through that leads them to the greatest possible success. It’s no coincidence that Spain won the 2010 World Cup with seven of Guardiola’s players, and now Germany with six or seven of his players.”
“Pep’s achievements speak volumes. More than anything, he gets clubs playing a brand of football they have never seen before.”
– Jamie Carragher
“What he has achieved, also for German football, is extraordinary and we’ve got to recognise that. [ . . . ] What he does with his hard work, his dedication and his positive craziness can be discussed, but it cannot ever be questioned.”
– Matthias Sammer
“You shouldn’t make comparisons with me and Guardiola. He has achieved incredible things. Guardiola is a fantastic coach and what he is doing is very impressive.”
“He is a coach with a lot of experience and a great game philosophy. Therefore he always has a great influence on his team. All the players respect him. You only have to look at him and you want to learn from him. I’ve heard that he improves every player. He is a football icon.”
– Paul Pogba
“Guardiola is the coach with the most imagination in football, he is a person who, for me, has great imagination because he manages his players’ enjoyment very well. Enjoyment is related to creativity. The creativity of putting [Arjen] Robben and Douglas Costa out wide one game, and further forward in the next, and having the players understand they are doing so for a reason. He changes wingers for forwards, he puts Lahm in midfield or centre-back, the players go out there and play. Guardiola has a clear concept that the players can understand and not see it as an obsession.”
– Jorge Sampaoli
Now the quotes of players who didn’t really enjoy playing under Pep Guardiola
“The first six months were perfect, then the manager changed system, tactics and it didn’t work for me. I went to talk to him. I’m here to talk, if you think it’s for another reason then we can’t talk.
I said: ‘I believe that you are sacrificing some players for one player, Messi’. He said: ‘I don’t think this is the case but I understand what you say. I will take care of it, no problem, I will solve everything’. I thought it would be OK. The following game I was on the bench. I don’t say anything, I work,” Ibrahimovic added. “Second match bench again. I thought he solved it well and he was not talking to me or explaining. Third match bench. Then the fourth match comes and bench again.
“I think something is strange. From that moment he stopped talking to me, looking at me. I go into a room and he walks out of it. He was not a bad person, but the most immature I’ve had because a man solves his problems.”
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his rift with Pep Guardiola
“As well as asking me to stay at the club, I could never have any hard feelings for someone who is like family to me. I have a really good relationship with Pep due to my relationship with his brother Pere when I was with Nike.”
– Ronaldinho on Guardiola
“I first of all reminded Guardiola that he’d never been a great player. He was a good player, that’s true. I told him. As a coach, he had proven nothing. He came in and didn’t even know the story of the dressing room.
“Guardiola has never had the courage to say things in front of me. He passed by the players. Xavi told me they wanted me to stay but I had to talk to Pep. I say ‘never, if you do not respect me, I do not respect you. Pep told me how to move like a striker. I told him: ‘You’re not normal!’ The true story is that Pep didn’t respect the things in football.
– Samuel Eto’o
Founder and editor of Footiecentral. A voracious reader who loves reading anything and everything related to the history of football. He’s an ardent supporter of Manchester United and rarely misses a match.