As a Manchester United fan, it is unfortunate to see that one of the best team in the modern era had dismantled Manchester United in 2 final and denied Fergie and United the ultimate glory that the team so long craved upon, winning 2 consecutive European titles and Fergie was denied a great chance to equal Bob Paisley record of winning 3 European trophies. The team that had dismantled Fergie United is none other than Guardiola Barcelona, one of the great club football team ever. They had outplayed and destroyed United in the 2 final in 2009 and 2011. Guardiola had managed Barcelona from a team that is 18 points behind in 2008 and languishing in 3rd place to a team that had won 2 European trophies in just 4 years and also becoming the first club team to win 6 trophies in a single season in 2009. What makes them so good?
Going back to the foundation of Johan Cyruff
The late Johan Cyruff had been an influential figure for Barcelona in the early ’90s. He had been the founding father of the La Masia Barcelona football academy where Lionel Messi, Gerrard Pique, Pedro, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Victor Valdes, and many more player had been graduated from this academy. Cyruff also demanded that Barcelona played some style on every level from the kids to the first team where it is 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 which emphasizing possession of the ball and player abilities. Cyruff also had stubbornly said that the players should be judged on their skill and not on the physic or height. Based on this principle that a young Guardiola had become a captain of the Dream Team and Guardiola is fully influenced by Johan Cyruff’s footballing style. The La Masia player too had become the key players during Guardiola managerial time.
Popularizing back the False No 9 style.
When the false no 9 introduced to the world in 1953 at Wembley where Hungary become the first foreign team to beat England at Wembley, it had dumbfounded the English defender that had resulted in England been defeated 6-3. In that team, Nandor HIdeguti is the false no 9, who drops deep and creating space for Ferenc Puskas to unleash his goal-scoring abilities. Guardiola too had introduced the false no 9 style in one of the famous games where Barcelona beat Real Madrid 6-2 in Bernabeu in 2009. Lionel Messi was instructed by Guardiola to play in the false no 9 positions and his movement had created confusion in the Real Madrid defense lead by Fabio Cannavaro who is World Cup winner 3 years before as he is unable to predict Messi movement and was frequently pulled out from his position that had led to a heavy defeat by Madrid in their home stadium. The false no 9 positions had made Messi become one the best player in the modern era and this position unlocked his full potential.
Many teams used to play possession football, but Guardiola Barcelona had taken possession football to a new level. They can deprive the opposition of the ball for a long time and enjoy bossing around with the ball whether in Nou Camp or at the away game. If they lost the ball, Guardiola would instruct them to press high to stop the opponent from counterattacking them or to get the ball back and starting the passing carousel again. The Spanish media had called this style of play “death by thousand passes” and true to the label, any team that had to play Guardiola during the time will be tired of chasing the ball for so long and giving up once Guardiola Barcelona had scored. Even with the opponent is playing defensive football, his team somehow managed to find a way to score a goal. For Guardiola, he always instructs his team to have the ball as by having the ball it will increase their chance to score a goal and at some time he is stopping the opponent from scoring against them.
The player’s abilities to understand his style.
For Guardiola Barcelona, his forward line is the first line of defense and his defense is the first line of attack. Based on this principle, their forward line will start the high pressing once they’re had lost the ball and their goalkeeper Victor Valdes is the one who needs to initiate the attack. Victor Valdes had been instructed by Guardiola to play out from the back and although Valdes was worried to play in that way Guardiola’s persistence and belief on his style had led them to be able to executive this principle perfectly. Guardiola’s abilities to make the player understand his philosophy and the player believing in the Guardiola system is one of the key factors that makes his team so good during this time.
Guardiola Ruthless Nature
Many footballing fans deemed to ignore one big statement. When Guardiola takes over Barcelona from Rijkaard the team is in shamble and does not have any passion. The team had languished in 3rd place and is 18 points behind Real Madrid. The first task that Guardiola is promoting the La Masia player to the first team like Sergio Busquets, Pedro and many more, selling prima donna players like Deco, Ronaldinho, Philip Marques, Ludovic Giuly, making a good buy in Dani Alves, and giving special training to Messi to makes what he is today. Before Guardiola comes in, Messi has the potential but he is an injury-prone and Guardiola training had made him less injury-prone and with the false no 9 style play, Messi had become one of the great players that had led to Barcelona dominance under Guardiola. With the promotion of Sergio Busquets, it had formed one the great midfielder quarters where Busquets is anchorman and both Xavi and Iniesta who is the one who runs the midfield. Dani Alves is the offensive full-back who provides a great width from the right-hand side. And the defensive duo of Puyol and Gerrard Pqique is the perfect combination of ball-playing defender and a traditional defender making them well balanced in every part of the field.
The combination of all the factors above had led to Guardiola Barcelona to be so revered and so successfully overtaking the Dream Team of Johan Cyruff. The is one more misconception of Guardiola where it had told in many media that Barcelona able to win because Messi but in truth under Guardiola is where Messi become what he was now and although many managers had come and gone since the departure of Guardiola none of them had been able to create dominance and paying a brand of football that is been so revered and analyzed since the day of Guardiola. Guardiola should be given credit where it is due that he is a key man that had led to the creation of these wonderful team.