Pep Guardiola — the famed Catalan soccer manager who played for and then coached FC Barcelona to glory with this player named Lionel Messi — is the subject of a rumor reaching a fever pitch level.
Is Pep heading to Turin, Italy to coach the Old Lady, commonly known as Juventus?
Speculation in Italian media is that the current Man City man has agreed to a 4-year deal to lead Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus.
Just last week, Pep reiterated his reported denial of a move to Italy.
“How many times do I have to say? I’m not going to go to Juventus, I’m not going to move to Italy.”
But that was last week. Conditions, like those on the pitch during a game, can change.
While confirmation hasn’t been declared by Pep or Man City, this move would fit with the coach’s recent stints in Germany coaching Bayern Munich for three seasons and just finishing up his third season in England coaching Manchester City. This kind of move seems inevitable as Pep appears to be seeking continental club glory.
And this is why this rumor should, at least, be entertained. Whether a move to Italy happens or not, it fits with Pep’s pattern of coaching European powerhouse clubs in different countries for just a few years at a time.
Here’s a quick rundown of Pep’s trophy case as a head coach:
- FC Barcelona – 14 trophies (2009 Copa del Rey, La Liga, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup; 2010 La Liga, Spanish Super Cup; 2011 La Liga, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup; 2012 Club World Cup, Copa del Rey)
- Bayern Munich – 10 trophies (2013 German Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup; 2014 Bundesliga, German Super Cup, DFB-Pokal; 2015 German Super Club, Bundesliga, German Super Cup; 2016 Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal)
- Manchester City – 5 trophies (2018 Premier League, League Cup; 2019 Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup)
The 48-year-old soccer manager still has at least a couple more decades coaching at the highest level, which is where he’s at right now. And since Pep hasn’t won the Champions League since leaving Barça — getting ever so close in Germany and England — there is a strong chance that the Catalan is yearning to cap his club coaching career with at least one more Champions League title in a country other than Spain without Lionel Messi before tackling a full World Cup cycle(s).
We’ll see if Pep’s pursuit of a return to Champions League glory will be attempted with Man City or Juventus this upcoming season. Something to consider from his perspective is that the chance to coach an in-form 34-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo may prove to be too tempting at this point.
Future Prediction: If Erik ten Hag, formerly of Pep’s coaching tree at Bayern Munich, doesn’t win the Champions League with Ajax during the next few seasons, then it would not be inconceivable that Pep moves to Amsterdam to coach the aforementioned club in the Johan Cruyff ArenA in a few years.
Or, staying in the same time period stated immediately above, Pep could move to Amsterdam but coach the Dutch national team instead to try and help the small yet historically soccer-rich country win its first World Cup. Winning at this level for the Netherlands would make for an incredible full-circle career, doing something special for his late dear friend, former coach and footballing inspiration, Dutch (and FC Barcelona and Ajax) legend Johan Cruyff whose Total Football legacy that started with fellow Dutchman Rinus Michels remains the prominent philosophy over him and modern soccer.
If there’s anyone in soccer who knows with acute detail where the ball will move next, it’s Pep. And if there’s anyone in soccer who knows with clarity and awareness where his admired and prized philosophy is wanted, it’s Pep.
Italian soccer, like Germany and England during the past six seasons, may never be the same again.
Men, suits and ceremonial procedures.
That’s right, Europe’s footballing boardroom views the world’s most popular sport, played outside on grass, as a business. And the sport’s most important trophy for club teams was officially handed-over to its newest host city for the title game: Milan. The four teams that qualified for the Champions League semi-final learned their fate with their next opponent via a lottery drawing today.
Manchester City is the underdog in this high-stakes semi-final, despite its brand awareness. However, don’t completely count out the lone British club. Anything can happen in this sport, especially in the Champions League in the year 2016/two days ago.
(Cough-cough Atlético Madrid beating Barcelona)
Four teams have the chance to earn something supremely life-changing:
Victory gelato in Milan!
Plus, that pretty cool, legacy-defining Champions League trophy.
If you essentially always keep a fork in your left hand after cutting a piece of meat, then that is what everyone expects to see when eating a knife-and-fork meal with you. To try and eat a meal with a fork in your right hand after cutting a piece would be silly.
The thing is that, on very rare occasions in private, you’ve been practicing cutting steak with a fork in your left hand, but eating the succulent piece of meat with the fork in your right hand.
Once dinnertime arrives, what will your guests think when they see this unusual spectacle?
Just ask Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. He found out how that felt last night in the Champions League game at the Etihad Stadium when Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich cut and ate the best piece of steak (delicately covered in seasoned salt and gently dipped in A-1 sauce) from his plate right in front of him, with Robben’s “fork” held awkwardly and unsuspectingly in his right hand in the 60th minute.
One thing is for sure: Hart will be remembered as being one of the rare few who have been scored on by Robben’s nearly invisible right foot.
And not only that, but Hart was beaten near post (ie- the keeper’s post!).
Just imagine the possibilities if Robben continues to attack the goal using his left and right foot…
There will be jubilation for some and chaos for others at many a future dinner party.