“Everyone Wanted to Copy Him” – When Lionel Messi Lauded ‘Special’ Pep Guardiola Over Unique Coaching Approach

Published 11/14/2023, 9:50 PM EST

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Lionel Messi had his best season at FC Barcelona under manager Pep Guardiola. Many a time, the Argentinian has been linked to Manchester City citing a possible reunion. In a recent interview, the Inter Miami icon didn’t hold back while praising the Spaniard. The 8x Ballon d’Or winner claimed that he had met ‘a lot of Guardiolas’ throughout his career while explaining how differently the strategy was presented to them in the Barcelona dressing room.

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The Manchester City boss has also praised Lionel Messi in the past interviews. Hence, there is an immense amount of mutual respect between the two icons of the ‘beautiful game’.

Lionel Messi’s words of admiration for Pep Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola has never said a bad thing about Lionel Messi. When asked about his prediction on the Ballon d’Or this year, he gave the idea of giving one to Erling Haaland and keeping the other one reserved for the Argentinian. They both have tremendous respect for each other from their time at Barcelona. Now, in an interview, Lionel Messi has called Pep Guardiola a special coach in the soccer world.

He said,” Guardiola did a lot of harm to football. It seemed so simple and easy that everyone wanted to copy him. I met a lot of Guardiolas around. That’s when you realize. Pep is special in preparing each game and communicating with the players, in the way he gave us the strategy”, as translated by Google Translate. These lines truly signify the huge amount of admiration they have for each other as a player and a manager.

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However, the respect has been there since the golden days at Barcelona. Lionel Messi won a lot of trophies and hit the prime of his career under Pep Guardiola. Let’s roll back the calendar to about a decade ago.

Lionel Messi x Pep Guardiola – One of the most lethal soccer duos?

Lionel Messi and Co. under Pep Guardiola were almost unbeatable. The Spaniard made sure he maximized the capabilities of the La Pulga. The stats of Lionel Messi show proof that he started becoming the best player in the world under none other than Guardiola.

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Pep Guardiola managed Lionel Messi in the period of 2008-2012. In these 4 years, the Argentinian scored 211 goals and provided 94 assists in 219 games. He also had a shiny trophy display with the Spanish manager. He won 4 Ballon d’Or titles and 2 Golden Boots. With the club, he won 14 trophies which included 3 La Liga trophies, 2 Champions League titles, 1 Club World Cup, and 1 UEFA Super Cup.

They also managed to win a treble during Pep’s first season as manager. This was also the first treble in the history of Barcelona. In the next season, they beat their own treble record and won the sextuple which is six trophies in a season.

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Would Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi be able to have won these trophies without each other? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Written by:

Anuj Nikhil Virjiani

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Anuj Virjiani is a soccer writer at Essentially Sports. With a fervent passion for the sport, especially the English Premier League, Anuj has meticulously cultivated his expertise in dissecting the game's technical intricacies and strategic nuances, both on and off the field. Anuj's cherished club is, interestingly, Newcastle United, and he has closely followed and analyzed the club's journey through its highs and lows, and enjoyed witnessing their triumphant promotion from the second tier, their recent takeover, and the remarkable qualification for the Champions League last season.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz

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