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5 more players who have 'unfriended' Pep Guardiola

Friday 23rd February 2018

Pep Guardiola has been a very ambitious manager. He has achieved glory wherever he has set foot and done so in his own unique manner. He won it all at Barcelona and shone with Bayern Munich. With Manchester City running away with the Premier League, the Catalan has proved himself again.

Along the way, Guardiola has found many admirers but also made enemies. He has feuded with players from Yaya Toure to Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Joe Hart and back to Yaya again. Here are five more players whom the City boss has rubbed the wrong way.

Mesut Ozil

How could perhaps the shyest player on the planet hold a dislike for a manager he has never even played under? The story goes that following the 2010 World Cup, wherein the German playmaker had established himself among the game's elite talents, Barca initially expressed interest. So did Madrid, who pulled out all the stops for his visit. Barcelona did not. Pep was not there to meet him as Jose Mourinho had been. Nor did he follow up with a call or text message when he returned from holiday.

Unimpressed, Ozil went where he was wanted. The former Werder Bremen star tallied up 47 assists in 103 league appearances under Mourinho and had been rumoured to be considering a move to Manchester United when his contract expired in summer. In the end, he re-upped with Arsenal.

Guardiola had the last laugh in the end. Ozil took only one Liga winners medal and a Copa del Rey from his time in Madrid. Guardiola enjoyed a much larger haul.

Franck Ribery

When Pep arrived at Bayern in 2013, he did not find a project in need of improvement. Instead, he inherited a squad of newly crowned European champions with egos to match. Guardiola's initial plan was to transform the dangerous winger into a false nine. With 10 Bundesliga goals and 14 assists the previous season, the Frenchman was content in the role he held. Pep's complicated system of positional play demanded much more from players who were allowed to freely accommodate themselves under Jupp Heynckes. the squad tightened up noticeably, though not in the positive manner the new boss intended. His departure was not exactly mourned by the Frenchman.

Pep didn't have a long career as a manager. He is a young coach. He lacks experience. Sometimes he talks too much. Football is very simple.

Alexander Hleb

A failure at Barcelona, Hleb should have been perfect for the Blaugrana. A skilled dribbler who played on the wings and behind Robin van Persie at Arsenal, he helped the Gunners reach the Champions League final before becoming Guardiola’s first Camp Nou signing, along with Dani Alves and Gerard Pique. Fast forward seven months, Hleb had only started five league games. Although he ended up winning the treble, he was not content to sit on the bench. The Belarussian openly expressed interest towards Bayern Munich in the press.

He could have won the treble again with Inter. Mourinho had sought him on loan in 2010. Hleb instead chose former club Stuttgart before ending up at Birmingham. Unwilling to take responsibility for his disappointing spell in Catalunya, Hleb criticised his erstwhile boss.

He coached the best team in the world with the best players and that's why he won. It's hard not to win with a team like that and Vilanova will have the greatest success. The best coaches in the world are Mourinho, Ferguson and Wenger.


After scoring tons of goals for Barca's youth side, Bojan Krkic became the youngest Blaugrana player in its Liga history. Frank Rijkaard gave him his debut against Osasuna in 2007. He went on to become the first player born in the 1990s to score in the Champions League. When Pep took over the following season, fans were delighted. A homegrown coach was inheriting the original Messi and his clone. Bojan made over 100 league appearances under Pep but still felt somehow mistreated.

He was not fair with me on several occasions, and this is one of the reasons that I decided to leave.

Scoring a goal every four games while playing alongside Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta suggested he was overrated. The youngster should have considered himself lucky to share in three Spanish titles and two Champions League medals. Instead, he was sold to Roma, then Milan, then back to Barca, next to Ajax, and finally to Premier League side Stoke City, His fifth and least glamorous club before his 25th birthday.

Thomas Mueller

The Bavarian favourite was often benched by Pep during his Bavarian reign. Pep didn't like Mueller playing the attacking midfielder role and wanted Robert Lewandowski to get out of his penalty box, drop deep, and act as a false nine, like Lionel Messi. Lewi's effort failed to satisfy Pep.

Guardiola also attempted the same experiment with Thiago Alcantara and other wingers but never gave Mueller enough minutes for the World Cup specialist to show his talents. Mueller's tactical and spatial awareness are magnificent. he should have perfectly suited Guardiola's needs. 

Ancelotti is a bit closer to the players. Pep was somewhat in his own world.

Mueller admired the manager's dedication to the art, but couldn't have been pleased with being painted out of the picture.

Harsh Vardhan

A pilot in the making residing in India, Harsh is also an ardent follower of European football and his heart resides in Manchester, particularly the blues. He has deep passion for writing, with special admiration for combined-elevens, while also contributing to the sports column of a local daily.

Total articles: 67

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