Once upon a time in Barcelona lived two masters of the football industry. They worked together to bring some great honors and prosperity to the club that once appeared to have lost its glory days. We are talking about Leo Messi, arguably the greatest player ever, and Pep Guardiola, arguably the greatest football manager of our times. During Guardiola’s time, Messi thrived and Barcelona won so many trophies that they don’t even care to remember. But the fans remember! They remember how Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola the two individuals left a mark on the team so great that it made them realize how strongly their absence will be felt.
Messi once said of his manager that he made the entire team desire more, that he made them more passionate and won their confidence from day one. The praise is not one-sided. The now-manager of Manchester City was quoted having said that Messi’s departure from Barcelona will leave a sinkhole that may never be filled. The feeling of respect between the two is obviously mutual.
No Love Lost:
The relation did appear strained once when Messi was due to face Guardiola as an opponent in the Champions League with the latter coaching Bayern for their game against Barcelona. Messi had said at the time that He and Pep no longer share a special relationship that they once had. Although this may have just been a mind game, it definitely left a lot of fans heart-broken, especially those who dreamed of a grand return for Pep Guardiola to Catalonia.
How Messi was given free reign by Guardiola:
Under Guardiola, Messi featured in almost 160 games and scored 138 goals. He was at the top of his career and his mesmerizing performances were taking the club to unprecedented heights. One of the greatest favors that Guardiola did to Messi was to hand him more responsibility in his preferred position – the wings. Although some may say this was only natural, Pep should be given credit for not forcing his own tactics and allowing the young maestro to work his own magic. Messi responded by a blistering run of performance which made him stand out immediately.
Guardiola’s style of play matched that of Messi. Pep likes free-flow in football. With Messi establishing himself as the talisman in the squad, it was only natural that a lot of flow of the game gravitated towards him. This suited Messi perfectly who loved the ball at his feet and so did the fans.
Messi to Manchester City? A Possibility exists!
Now that Pep is headed towards Manchester City, there are ever increasing shouts and murmurs of the Argentinian striker following his old boss. There is certainly a new found ray of hope amongst City fans who feel it is their best chance to attract the greatest player in the world. A lot of fans, and even City Striker Sergio Aguero have expressed their hope and desire in this regard. While Messi most certainly is happy where he is, and he does enjoy a lot of influence in the dressing room, a move to England to reunite with the man who helped him conquer the football world may not be altogether unrealistic.