Josep (Pep) Guardiola

Pep Guardiola

© FC Barcelona

As former captain and current Head Coach of FC Barcelona, it would be difficult to find a more treasured contemporary figure in Catalan football than Josep Guardiola Sala. Young, successful, handsome, and a sharp dresser, ‘Pep’s’ popularity transcends even the boundaries of sport (just ask your girlfriend). But it was his industrious and inspirational performances on the field during Johan Cruyff’s tenure in the Nineties that truly captured the imagination of culers* everywhere, most of whom were overjoyed to witness Pep’s promotion from Barça B team coach to first team nanager in the summer of 2008.

Born and bred in Santpedor, a provincial town of Barcelona, Guardiola came through the ranks of FCB’s renowned youth academy. As a local boy, he knew what it meant to wear the blue and maroon shirt, and it wasn’t long before his talents were sought by the first 11—he was handed his debut by Cruyff at just 20 years old. He never looked back. Guardiola became an instant favourite, the rock of Cruyff’s triumphant 'Dream Team', and led the side to four La Liga titles (1991-1994) and one European Cup (1992) under the Dutchman. It was a golden age for the club, and a defining period in the career of Guardiola, his name etched in history as part of the first Barcelona team to win the coveted Champions League.

More success was to follow. Guardiola captained the blaugranes** to consecutive league titles in 1998 and 1999 before finally leaving his boyhood heroes in 2001 with more than 400 appearances to his name. His heroic status was secure in Catalan. Following short spells in Italy and Qatar, Guardiola retired from playing in 2006, aged 35.

Although his tenure as manager at FC Barcelona got off to a shaky start in September 2008, the season ended with Barça's greatest ever year, with the Spanish league title, the King's Cup (like the FA Cup) and victory in the final of the UEFA Champions League against Manchester. More success was to follow - by May 2011, Guardiola's team had won 10 of 13 possible finals and trophies, including another Champions League against Manchester United, two more league titles and the World Club Cup in 2009.

* culers is one of various nicknames to describe Barça fans. It originated from the times of the team's former football stadium, which had open-backed benches for spectators and so one of the typical images associated with FC Barcelona on match day was row upon row of backsides (in Catalan, culers).

** blaugranes: a nickname for the FC Barcelona team which refers to the Catalan words for the colours of their strip - blau (blue) and grana (dark red).

Pep Guardiola

Courtesy FC Barcelona

No more Pep talks - Guardiola to step down as Barcelona manager

In today's press conference, Pep Guardiola announced his intentions to leave Barcelona at the end of the season, citing the need to "recharge his batteries." Assistant manager, Tito Vilanova will succeed his tenure. more

Apr 27, 2012 4:59 PM Team Talk - sports blog 1 Comments

Guardiola's gamble backfires as Barcelona suffer second league defeat

Barcelona's title hopes took a severe blow as they were defeated 3-2 by an impressive Osasuna outfit at the Estadio Reyno de Navarra more

Feb 13, 2012 9:12 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Leo Messi

Courtesy FC Barcelona

Messi and Guardiola claim Fifa Ballon d'Or accolades

Messi claims third consecutive Ballon d'Or award as Guardiola is acknowledged as coach of the year more

Jan 10, 2012 4:35 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Pep Guardiola

Courtesy FC Barcelona

Why does Pep Guardiola refuse to sign a long-term contract?

Even in the boardroom, FC Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola uses his tactical approach to negotiate his own contract more

Nov 24, 2011 10:12 AM Team Talk - sports blog

Barcelona News: Friday 4th November

General election campaign kicks off - Fire services make 300 call-outs due to rain - Barcelona mayor to ban coaches at Sagrada Familia more


Pep Guardiola

© FC Barcelona

Thursday 8th September

Politicians' wealth information starts to appear on internet - Guardiola awarded Medalla d'Or from Catalan parliament - Spain seeks ways to get more tax from the rich more


The FC Barcelona open-top bus takes to the streets once again

Photo by Adam Lukacs

Brilliant Barça

Pep’s side lift the Champions League as United have no answer to Catalan quality more

May 31, 2011 10:34 AM Team Talk - sports blog

War of words

Guardiola loses his cool ahead of Champions League semi-final more

Apr 27, 2011 3:51 PM Team Talk - sports blog

Thursday 20th January

Fall in the creation of new Spanish companies - Barça loses for first time in 29 matches - Generalitat president says Spain responsible for Catalan budget deficit more

Jan 20, 2011 10:15 AM THE INFORMER NEWS BLOG

Monday 10th January

Fourth day of pension negotiations between government and trade unions - Number of potential new foreign voters to rise significantly in May council elections - Winner of Golden Ball to be announced today more

Jan 10, 2011 10:29 AM THE INFORMER NEWS BLOG

Wednesday 5th January

Artur Mas says Generalitat deficit bigger than expected - Kings' Day processions to take place throughout Catalunya - Guardiola warns Barça could be eliminated from Copa del Rei today more


Wednesday 17th March

Catalan public-school teachers on strike for fourth time in two years – High risk of power cuts in Girona area until summer – Spanish congress rejects opposition efforts to stop rise in VAT more

Mar 17, 2010 10:44 AM THE INFORMER NEWS BLOG

As the city goes football mad, with FC Barcelona flags flying from every balcony, we talk to the Brazilian defender Sylvinho about the upcoming match more

May 27, 2009 1:16 PM LIVING

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