Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pep Guardiola

Throughout his career as both a highly successful player and manager, Pep Guardiola has managed to carry himself with a huge degree of dignity. His choice of Bayern Munchen as his new managerial post merely serves to reinforce that opinion.

There has probably never been a manager before with such an array of options before him previously or one who was so coveted. Regardless of that, Guardiola took the time he needed away from the game before choosing his new destination.

Whilst Germany and it's all it's teutonic precision might not look the most obvious place for a man preaching such Mediterranean footballing artistry, there is no doubt that Bayern are a classy choice for the Catalan.

Few clubs in Europe can hope to stack up to Bayern in terms of history, success and stature. Only the two Spanish giants, AC Milan and Juventus from Italy as well as ManYoo and once upon a time Liverpool and Ajax can compare. Bayern are a true giant of the game and German football it would seem is in rude health.

German football has seemingly lagged behind the 'big three' leagues of Spain, Italy and England for some time now. The reality is however with the footballing pedigree that the Germans possess - coupled with a period of definitive reorganisation after major tournaments disappointments between 1998 and 2002 - and the economic reality of the current Euro zone, it is unlikely that they will continue to lag for much longer.

Italian clubs play to often mainly empty stadiums last upgraded for Italia '90 and Spain suffers from the lopsidedness of the domination of Real and Barca. English clubs have also in the main failed to embrace the economic reality despite the enormous revenues that the Premiership brings, it may be the perfect time for Guardiola to move to the Bundesliga.

Whilst we have touched upon the cultural differences between Catalonia and Bavaria, one should also however note the similarities between Barcelona and Bayern, too highly successful clubs whose periods of dominant success have been built on a back bone of home produced players. Both clubs have experienced periods of dysfunction but there is long term planning at both clubs.

The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea may be gnashing their teeth this morning but the reality was that neither club was probably ever seriously in Guardiola's thoughts. The short termism at Chelsea in particular has done nothing but tarnish the club's reputation no matter the success in terms of silverware.

It is also possible that Guardiola gave much thought to the Catalan fans that he was leaving behind. Given the brash rivalry of recent years between Chelsea and Barca, how would they have felt seeing their favourite son in the Stamford Bridge dugout?

Few teams can compare with Barca and the Nou Camp but Bayern as an institution command the respect of all in football. The Barcelona fans would stop short of wanting to see Bayern winning the Champions League but they may well be adopting the red shirts as their second team - No Nonsense.