“He Couldn’t Help Himself”- Lionel Messi’s Former Manager Informed by ‘Fed-Up’ Dads to Leave Field During Youth Soccer Game in New York

Published 07/06/2023, 5:59 AM EDT

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Lionel Messi has left an indelible mark on soccer. The Argentine wizard has given us countless memories. Messi got to play under many great managers. But it was the four seasons under Pep Guardiola in his early FC Barcelona career that shaped his future. We all know Guardiola as a technical genius. The Spanish manager keeps on inventing new tactics in the game and earned countless accolades. Guardiola is the only manager to win the European Treble with two different teams. His managerial obsession is unmatchable. But do you know it once made him leave the soccer pitch in the US?

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Coaching obsession once led to Pep Guardiola’s expulsion from the soccer field

Guardiola left FC Barcelona in 2012 after winning several major trophies with the club. The Manchester City manager then took a year off before joining Bayern Munich in 2013. He was in New York in 2012 and used to visit his son’s soccer games, just like normal dad stuff. Recently a video surfaced on Twitter where a former youth soccer player shared a gripping story of the Spanish manager.

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Jules Shalhov was one of the players on the team for whom Guardiola’s son Marius played. Shalhov said, “When I was 11, Pep Guardiola was a soccer dad on my U-12 soccer team at Aslphalt, upper east side of New York.” He further revealed that his dad told him who Guardiola actually was and that he managed Lionel Messi. Shalhov stated that the City manager attended every single practice game.

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According to Shalhov, their coach let Guardiola become the assistant coach. However, he remembers one incident that led to Guardiola’s expulsion from the soccer field. Shalhov and his teammates warmed up for the game, but the referee didn’t show up. Guardiola then volunteered to ref the game. But his obsession led to some soccer dads getting irate. 

Shalhov said, “He couldn’t help himself from, like telling the kids where to go, and what runs to make, while on the field as the ref. Some of the dads of another team are getting really fed up, and around half time came up to him, like ‘What are you doing? Who are you to coach our kids? You are supposed to be reffing. Stop telling our kids what to do, what passes to make. We don’t want you reffing this game anymore.'” 

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However, what led to it was no one knew who Guardiola was then. But once they recognized him, everyone apologized to him and took pics with him, according to Shalhov. That was some story about Guardiola and his inability to turn off his coaching mentality.

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WATCH THIS STORY: American Athletes With Ownership in Soccer Teams

Where do you see Pep Guardiola among the world’s top coaches? Will Lionel Messi remain the best player coached by Guardiola?

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Written by:

Nikhil Nibe

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Nikhil is a soccer writer at EssentiallySports, having written over 450 articles that showcase his expertise and love for the beautiful game. With a passion for soccer that spans over two decades, Nikhil is well-versed in covering core sports articles. As a die-hard fan of Real Madrid, Nikhil understands the importance of team spirit and the unwavering support of fans in changing the course of a game.
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Edited by:

Sreeda U M

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