Man City have surpassed Guardiola’s Barcelona challenge five years earlier than anticipated

Pep Guardiola

When Pep Guardiola joined Man City in 2016, FC Barcelona were still the envy of Europe, and Germany were the defending world champions and a semifinalist in the European Championship.

Guardiola’s fingerprints were all over the two best teams in the world, after he arrived from Bayern Munich, who have such an impact on the German national team. Seven years later, those two teams have gotten worse, ever since Guardiola hasn’t had an impact on their structure. Man City, in the meantime, have steadily grown stronger.

Bayern continue to rule the Bundesliga but haven’t been as dominant in Europe since winning the 2020 Champions League. Barcelona, who have the La Liga title of the last season under their belt, have only seen upsets in the UCL since 2015 and recently even played in the Europa League for the first time since the 2003/04 season.

With Xavi Barcelona might look to replicate Guardiola’s City

In recent years, Barcelona have acquired multiple players from Man City like Eric Garcia, Ferran Torres, Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, and Joao Cancelo. Gundogan stands out in this the bunch, after leading the Sky Blues to a remarkable treble last season. With Cancelo’s signing, they have really strengthened their squad. Xavi now, also has the choice between playing a standard right-back or an inverted full-back, a role which Cancelo has mastered.

Xavi, a Guardiola disciple, combines the Barcelona legacy with modern tactics as manager. This was kind of like hiring Guardiola, without actually hiring him.

Gundogan acknowledged that Barcelona’s current goal is to match City’s level under Guardiola. If it happens, it will be comparable to the heights attained by Barca during that Golden Era under the legendary manager.

As of last week, Gundogan said

“There have been maybe two or three teams like City last year – at least since I’ve been following football. Barcelona around 2011, among others.”

He further added saying

“I am convinced that Xavi is addressing the right things. With us experienced players, there can be a good mix. I believe that we can reach a similar level to City in the next few years.”

Hansi Flick is also a great admirer of Pep Guardiola’s tactics

Back in Germany, according to a report published, Hansi Flick has drawn inspiration from Man City, in an effort to improve his country’s halting form. Germany beat Peru after exiting the World Cup before the knockout rounds. But now, they have gone four games without a victory in friendlies, leading up to the Euros next year.

According to Bild, Flick, who reportedly drew inspiration directly from Guardiola, wants to assign Joshua Kimmich the role of an inverted right-back for the German National Team. According to the story, Flick demonstrated his squad, a footage of City to support his argument. Flick reportedly gave special emphasis on John Stones‘ roving shift from right-back to midfield.

Both Barcelona and Germany are looking to use the Man City model of playing style

Even when Guardiola took over at the Etihad, it was inconceivable that Barcelona and Germany would use the Man City model to reclaim the top spot in the league. However, Guardiola’s impact and game-changing strategies have been so successful that the only way to compete with City’s level is to join it.

Guardiola stated that Man City were still miles away from Barcelona’s level in 2016. At that time, City’s trophy cabinet had just one Carabao Cup.

Before Basel hosted the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 match against City, Guardiola said

“They have won a lot in the past. We are new – we’ve won one title but it is not a [fair] comparison.”

He continued saying

“It is not good for us comparing [ourselves] with that Barcelona team. That team dominated the last decade, 15 to 20 years with different managers, different players. We have just won the first title. To join this kind of team you have to be there a long time.”

If a decade of dominance counts as success, Man City still has a few more years and a few more Champions League titles to win before they can be ranked amongst the bests.

For more sports updates, follow us on Twitter.

For more sports updates, make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

To Top