FwB #11: Pep Guardiola’s Labour of Love


‘Epoch-defining’ seemed to be the term du jour for bed-wetting journalist’s describing Barcelona’s destruction/humiliation/mullering of a a woeful Real Madrid last night. ‘The Orgasm Team’ screamed a gushing Sid Lowe in the guardian, as Pep Guardiola stood and watched a TRULY BEDAZZLING Barca rip Mourinho’s Madrid allstars apart. ‘Labour of Love’ was how Graham Hunter described Pep’s crafting of an all-conquering team on ESPN, and yes, I don’t doubt he’s done a lot. But then again, doesn’t a team containing 8/9 Barca-bred youth players and a bunch of Spanish World Cup medal-winners play itself? Carlton Palmer could manage that team and they’d still be able to pass the ball LIKE NOONE ELSE ON EARTH*.

Anyhow, Graham Hunter was wrong. The Barcelona stars of 2010 are not Pep Guardiola’s ‘labour of love’. His beard is. He’s easily the suavest of all the managers out there, even without a beard. But in a packed-out Nou Camp last night, he’d gone and grabbed himself some ‘air to complement those sharply-cut suits of his. Mourinho’s day got worse today – not ’cause he’s got fined for that red card nonsense last week – but because he realised he wasn’t the sharpest dresser/stubbled/greying manager in La Liga any longer…

I don’t fancy doing the whole career lowdown with Guardiola like I’ve done with everyone else. Instead, I’ll talk about his managerial potential. This is a guy who’s only prior experience was heading up the B team. It’d be like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking over Fergie at Old Trafford, it just wouldn’t happen. They must’ve had some faith in him, some understanding that he’d be able to handle the pressure, deal with the biggest stars in the game, and allow a team to mature quite like Barcelona. The guy’s not even 40 yet and he’s already won La Liga (x2), the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. This latest thrashing of Real Madrid was his fifth straight El Clásico victory, and as a Catalan boy he’s one of them.

Pep’s beard is what makes him. He’s growing that perfect haggard managerial look. But haggard and sophisticated. Fergie’s got a whisky nose, Ancelotti’s got a fat neck, Mourinho’s got an attitude, Pep’s got a beard. Who wins that one eh?

Photo by Tsutomu Takasu

*Possibly not true.


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