Pep Guardiola, former coach of FC Barcelona Pep Guardiola has revealed that he decided to leave Barcelona in 2012 because ” I couldn’t motivate my players anymore.”
When asked about the pressure of having so many football superstars in the same dressing room, the Bayern manager answered, “there was a right carry on at Barcelona whenever I left Messi on the bench”.
When asked about his difficult moments, Guardiola said: “There have been moments of great sadness. Barcelona crashing out in the Champions League semifinals against Chelsea in 2012 was one of them. We were much better than our rivals, but we let in an unnecessary goal in the return game and before we knew it we were knocked out. That was a terrible defeat for me. I felt that I couldn’t gee my team up at all.”
Guardiola, now with Bayern Munich, succeeded Frank Rijkaard as Barca coach in 2008 after an impressive spell in charge of the club’s B team and, in a remarkable four-year spell, won 14 trophies including two Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles.
The Catalan has this to say when asked about problems in the Barca dressing room: “With so many stars in the line-up, as we have at Bayern de Muncich and as I had at Barça, you can find yourself in a situation where such diversity can be destructive. Everyone wants to play. For example, every time I left Messi on the bench, there was a right carry on at Barcelona.”
Guardiola said that match, which had hinged on a Ramires goal on 45 minutes and a Lionel Messi penalty miss after the break, had convinced him he could no longer continue at the club with which he had made his name.
“That was a moment of great sadness – as if suddenly someone had switched the floodlights off,” he told the Audi Annual Report in one of his rare interviews. “We were better than our opponents but in the second leg conceded an unnecessary goal and the next thing we knew we were out of the competition.
“That was a very hard defeat for me. I had the feeling that I was no longer able to reach my team, and if you can no longer reach your players then it is time to move on.”
Guardiola, who was a player in Johan Cruyff’s legendary 1992 European Cup-winning side, said his unprecedented success on the Barca bench ultimately proved his undoing.
“We were incredibly successful – 14 titles within four years meant the best era in the club’s history – but such things can also be a curse,” he said. “I found it increasingly difficult to motivate my team.”
The former Spain international ultimately spent a year away from coaching as he recuperated in New York, during which time he was heavily linked with jobs in the Premier League – notably Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United – as well as AC Milan in Serie A.
However, in January 2013 it was confirmed that he would replace Jupp Heynckes as Bayern coach at the end of the season, and he revealed he had first made contact with the German club’s hierarchy during a preseason tournament in 2011.