In just eight years after his breakout season as a first year head coach, Pep Guardiola has become, not just one of the best managers of his generation, but of all time. A former midfielder, he understands the game like only the greats do.
When Guardiola arrived to Bayern Munich after a sabbatical year, the expectations were unreasonably high. The football world awaited Guardiola to deliver non-stop video-game-like years, similar to his phase in Barcelona. Realistically, that is just unlikely to happen.
In three years with the German champions, Guardiola won a total of seven trophies, including three straight league titles. However, to a majority of critics, he’s labeled a “fraud”, simply because he failed to deliver a Champions League trophy. Let alone the fact that seven trophies in three years is an astonishing feat. Guardiola took Bayern to the semi-finals of Champions League three years in a row, twice losing to the eventual champions.
No team has been able to repeat after winning Champions League since Milan in 1989/1990. In the last ten years, the only team that has won more than one Champions League is Barcelona. Yet, many critics demanded that Guardiola needed to make them kings of Europe again.
The man has won a total of 21 trophies as a manager in a span of eight years. He’s won every tournament at least twice, with the exception of the German Super Cup. The only year since his debut in which he did not win the league was 2011-2012 with Barcelona. That’s seven out of eight possible leagues. He’s also taken his team to the Champions League semi-finals every year. That is just insane.
If we want to put his dominance in perspective, since his debut in 2008, no other manager comes close to his dominance. His 21 trophies are clearly ahead of some of the other great managers in the world. For example, Laurent Blanc has won 15, Jose Mourinho has won ten, Carlo Ancelotti has won eight and Jurgen Klopp has won seven.
The most dominant and successful manager of his generation is now considered a “fraud”, because he failed to win a Champions League in three years. Next time you want to call him a fraud or a failure, check his resume. He has probably won more trophies in eight years than your favorite team this last decade.