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SL's Top Managers: 7- Pep Guardiola

He’s only 42-years-old, and he’s only been a first-team manager since 2008, and so Pep Guardiola’s presence on a list of top managers of all-time is sure to raise a few eyebrows.

But when you consider that it took Alex Ferguson 39 years to win 49 trophies, and Pep got 14 in just four seasons as boss of Barcelona, the question could even be: should Pep be rated higher?

From 2008 to 2012, former Barcelona midfielder, Josep Guardiola, set about building perhaps the greatest football team ever to play the game.

It could be argued that Guardiola only made an already brilliant team better, and that with players like Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta to call on, it was easier to succeed than to fail.

But what success the softly-spoken, immaculately attired Catalan schemer achieved during his glorious reign at the Camp Nou!

A product of Barca’s famed La Masia academy who went on to skipper the club, Pep was a perfect fit to manage the current Spanish champions.

And the manner in which he used Barca’s traditional adherence to the tenets of Total Football to mould the team in his image, produced a side capable of the most paradoxically simple, yet intricate, attacking football ever seen.

 Guardiola’s strengths are canny man-management, preparation, grit and steadfast courage of conviction, and with those characteristics he won major trophies at a rate unprecedented in football.

He picked up three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, three Spanish Super Cups, two Uefa Champions Leagues, two Uefa Super Cups and two Fifa Club World Cups in four short seasons, seducing the football world with his swashbuckling, hard-pressing tiki-taka system in the process.

Passion is another one of Pep’s characteristics which marks him as great, and it was ultimately the intensity of his feeling that led him to resign as manager of Barcelona, with the football world seemingly at his feet.

Thanks to the quality of players at his disposal at Barca, sceptics have wondered if Pep is really as good a manager as his win ratio suggests.

From next season he will be manager at Bayern Munich, a club which stands at the precipice of yet another golden era, having just won a scintillating Treble.

At Bayern, Guardiola will again have the world’s best players and almost inexhaustible resources to work with.

And if he can inspire the Bavarian giants to the same heights he did Barca, by the end of his tenure there it is likely that Guardiola will be a few places higher than 7th on Soccer-Laduma’s list of greatest managers. Perhaps he will even be at the top.

Does Pep Guardiola deserve to be considered one of football’s greatest ever managers?

10- Munoz; 9- Clough; 8- Hitzfeld; 7- Guardiola

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