Pep Guardiola took Barcelona to new heights in terms of sporting excellence while achieving worldwide recognition for our traditional attacking philosophy. Our legendary manager collected a tremendous fourteen trophies in just 4 seasons in charge, making him the most successful coach in our history. The way Pep Guardiola carried our team on and off the pitch gained respect from football fans not only in Catalunya, but around the world.
But his time at Barcelona is over now for many reasons.
Gerard Pique explained this week: 'Pep knew deep inside that it was time for him to leave, and he will now feel a bit of nostalgia after leaving the club. I hope he will return someday'
And there, in a nutshell, is an interesting point which will damage our club's future if we are not careful: The assumption Guardiola is leaving so that he can come back is false and dangerous at the same time. Sandro Rosell announced Tito Vilanova would be in charge of the team next season and, from that very moment, all the power in terms of new signings, squad management and tactical variations lies on his hands.
Don't be fooled: Guardiola will not be there when ugly decisions are taken in the near future. Guardiola will not answer to Mourinho's continuous attacks any longer. Guardiola has chosen to stop being part of Barcelona and, as a result, he will have no say about our future from now on.
In football, the most important match in the next one. Looking back at what Barcelona has achieved in the past will not help us move forward. Therefore, hoping Pep Guardiola may come back some day as if he was the one and only saviour is pointless.
All I can say is: Gracies Pep, thanks for the memories and all the best for the future.
Tito Vilanova is in charge from now on.
Barcelona Have The Quality To Continue To Be Successful
As the clear 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey final showed, the current Barcelona has reached a point of footballing maturity and excellence which makes this team stand out from the rest.
The mistake would be to assume that everything such dominance is entirely down to Pep Guardiola. Sure, the Catalan Master has played a key role to lead the team forward but he would have achieved nothing without the contributions of many others.
Both Barcelona presidents during Guardiola's time gave him everything he asked for. Laporta appointed Pep as manager despite being totally unproven at professional level, then signed Dani Alves, Keita, Pique, Hleb, Caceres, Henrique and Pinto (2008/09), Ibrahimovic, Maxwell, Keirrison and Chygrinski (2009/10) and David Villa (days before leaving his presidency, May 2010). Since Rosell took over, Barcelona have signed Mascherano, Adriano, Afellay (2010/11), Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez (2011/12) - While some of those players have flopped dramatically, it can't be denied the club has strengthened our squad by investing heavily during the Pep years.
Perhaps more importantly, Guardiola was also allowed to drop Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto'o and Ibrahimovic during his time in charge . The Barcelona board always prioritized Pep's opinion above any player which, as we know, is a rarity in top European football - Simply look at Villas-Boas at Chelsea or Luis Enrique at Roma.
The Barcelona squad doesn't need any major changes. Our four captains (Puyol, Xavi, Valdes and Iniesta) are going nowhere. Their roles within the changing room will be crucial next season, as they need to ensure players pull together to support Tito Vilanova in his new role as main coach. Other experienced players (Pique, Pedro, Busquets, Cesc, Mascherano) will carry the classic Barcelona concepts into the future under our new manager's influence.
Plus, we seem to have a little magician called Lionel Messi who certainly knows how to perform at the highest level. What a luxury.
The Barcelona fans are fully aware that change is inevitable over the years. On that basis, the immense majority of Cules are pleased that our successful footballing model will stay the same: Tito Vilanova belongs to the Cruyff, Rijkaard, Guardiola traditional Barcelona school of thought. The formation or internal mechanisms may evolve with the times, but the essence behind it all remains.
What We Learned
Pep Guardiola's departure closes the most successful era in Barcelona history but I strongly believe our club will continue to be stronger for years to come if those who are now in charge work together.
Barcelona have lost a charismatic leader in Guardiola but Tito Vilanova's appointment ensures the model can continue.
The current squad only needs minor changes to stay competitive.
Cule fans have reached a degree of maturity and togetherness which is previously unseen at the Camp Nou.
Overcoming tough challenges has been a constant in Barcelona's history. We have done it before. Together, we can do it again.
I can't wait for our next season to start.
Bring it on!
Have Your Say
What did you think of this article?
Do you think Barcelona has a bright future ahead without Guardiola?
Can Tito Vilanova earn the respect of the players and take those tricky decisions?
How do you feel ahead of the summer transfer window?
Did I miss out on any important points you would like to share with us?
I welcome and appreciate all respectful feedback.
Posted by: Francesc Tomàs
Founder and Columnist at www.barcablog.com
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