Pep Guardiola has announced his decision to join German giants Bayern Munich next summer, against what many in the English press seemed to believe would happen.
Why is it a surprise? It is hard to say especially as the Bavarian side is without a doubt Barcelona’s closest challengers to being called the best team in the world, despite Corinthian’s recent triumph over Chelsea.
Pep would have us believe that he wants to prove himself as a manager yet he has taken the next easiest job in the world.
I cannot blame him, after all why hinder your reputation when you also look odds on to become your next national manager, which when you’re Spanish means that you will probably lift the World Cup at the first opportunity?
He transformed an extremely good Barcelona team into the best club side the world has ever seen, aided by the seemingly unstoppable Leo Messi.
His changes seemed to have gone unnoticed, removing some of Rikaard’s most valued players like Yaya Toure, Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto’o replacing them with priceless assets such as Dani Alves and Gerard Pique as well as promoting Sergio Busquets and Pedro from the B team.
On paper, his decisions seemed odd but with Catalan blood running through his veins and those of the team’s, they gelled to form displays of mesmerising, tika-taka football.
Can he do the same at Bayern Munich? The club is run in a similar manner with many players having connections to either the club or at least Germany.
They have the advantage of being far and away the biggest club in Germany, and in fiscal terms can compete with any club in the world, even those with oil elevating them.
Reaching two of the past three Champions’ League finals probably places Bayern as the most consistent team in Europe over the past three years but they have yet to take the final step.
It is looking more and more likely that they will succeed this season which would make it harder for Pep to show that his managerial skills are on a par with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.
We will see in the upcoming seasons how much of Guardiola’s reign was in fact Tito Vilanova. Barcelona seem to have improved even more despite the ageing Xavi Hernandez and Carlos Puyol.
I for one think he will succeed but mainly due to the players at this disposal. It would be impossible for him not to.
The likes of Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger will win games regardless of the manager, add in the defensive solidarity of Manuel Neuer and Phillipe Lahm and you have the recipe for an amazing team.
My biggest worry is that he will attempt to implement his Barcelona system which would require more athletic players than Javi Martinez, but Munich would still be a formidable team for anyone.
For more info on what Pep did at Barce visit http://the4thofficial.co.uk/2012/04/24/should-guardiola-leave-barcelona/