Pep Guardiola: The greatest ever or just a glory seeker?

Dean Callus poses the question that few of us are brave enough to ask - Is Pep all that?

Dean Callus

Pep Guardiola was a tremendous midfielder, enjoying a glittering career with plenty of trophies to his name, yet he has gained more recognition as a manager than a player.

There is no doubt that his innovative playing methods have brought so much to the modern managerial game, while his sides have graced the field with flair and elegance.

But how can we measure the greatness of a top boss?

It’s not just about the number of trophies or just a style of play, it is also important to consider the difference compared to who went before him and, in some cases, even who came after.

There is the argument that Pep has so many trophies in his cabinet he has no case to answer, but there is also the view that the Spaniard has only taken the easy option by heading for highly successful teams with resources and players at his disposal.

So just for a moment, let’s consider the impact Pep Guardiola has had at the clubs he has managed compared to the results of his predecessors and the years that followed.


Pep started his senior managerial career with the club closest to his heart, Barcelona, where he honing his coaching skills with the Barca B team before landing the top job at Camp Nou.

He immediately made his presence felt by stating that established players like Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto’o were not part of his plans.

Pep was appointed in 2008 and his last match for the club was in 2012 which amounts to four complete seasons- so how do they compare to the four prior to his arrival as Barca manager and the four that followed?

Barcelona: 2008 – 2012 (with Guardiola)

3 x La Liga titles
2 x Copa del Rey
2 x Champion’s League
2 x UEFA Super Cup
2 x Fifa Club World Cup

Barcelona: 2004 – 2008 (Pre Guardiola)

2 x La Liga Titles
1x Champion’s League

Barcelona 2012 – 2016 (Post Guardiola)

3 x La Liga
2 x Copa del Re
1 x Champions League
1 x UEFA Super Cup
1 x FIFA Club World Cup

Bayern Munich

After deciding to take a year’s sabbatical, Pep Guardiola decided to make a comeback into the world of coaching.

Taking over as manager of Bayern Munich, where he replaced Jupp Heynckes, he would eventually stay in Bavaria for three complete seasons.

It was a tremendous trio of campaigns for the Bavarian side, but where does it rank in recent years?

Bayern Munich 2013 – 2016 (with Guardiola)

3 x Bundesliga
2 x German Cup
1 x UEFA Super Cup
1 x FIFA World Cup

Bayern Munich 2010 – 2013 (Pre Guardiola)

1 x Bundesliga
1 x German Cup
1 x Champions League

Bayern Munich 2016 – 2019 (Post Guardiola)

3 x Bundesliga
1 x German Cup
1 x Champion’s League
1 x UEFA Super Cup
1 x FIFA Club World Cup


Manchester City

Guardiola has enjoyed continued success since taking over at Manchester City in 2016 with much expected of the Spaniard.

So far he has completed four Seasons, thats around the same amount of time that he has with his two previous clubs.

So let’s look at what has gone before at the Etihad and what Guardiola has managed to achieve.

Manchester City 2016 – 2020 (Guardiola)

2 x Premier League Titles
1 x FA Cup
3 x EFL Cup

Manchester City 2012 – 2016 (Pre Guardiola)

1 x Premier League Title
2 x EFL Cup


One of the greats?

Pep Guardiola

Pep has now won a whopping 30 trophies as manager during his stints at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Talking about his victories Pep said: “When I was 14 I said I’d be a manager and win 30 titles. I’m so pleased to have been a part of incredible groups of people at Barça, Bayern and City. I’ll always be grateful. They are incredible numbers in a short time. I have a feeling that every time it gets more difficult. Achieving is so nice, so good.”

But who has had more success than Pep?

The title of most decorated manager goes to Sir Alex Ferguson with a phenomenal 49 trophies under his belt while just one other manager has won more trophies than Pep Guardiola – Romanian Mircea Lucescu, who has amassed an impressive 32 trophies at the likes of Galatasaray and Shakhtar Donetsk.

There might be those who say that Guardiola has opted for the easy road to success and has not yet taken that big challenge needed to elevate him to the same levels of the greatest bosses of all time – but the fact that only two managers have won more in the game than the Spaniard makes that a difficult argument to win.

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