A lot will change upon the arrival of the former FC Barcelona coach. The 42-year-old is not only expected to maintain the success from last season, but also stamp his own philosophy on the record champions.
So who is Josep Guardiola? bundesliga.com has compiled a list of the most important facts about the Catalan native.
Guardiola was born on 18 January 1971 in the small village of Santpedor (6,500 inhabitants), just 45 miles north of Barcelona, to the bricklayer Valentini and housewife Dolor. He has two older sisters and a younger brother. His passion for football developed at an early age and as soon as he began to spend every given hour kicking a ball around the central village square, the whole village knew him. The village’s sports field has since been named after him.
Guardiola has been married to his wife Cristina Serra since the age of 18. The pair got to know each other in Cristina’s parents’ clothes shop in Manresa, the neighbouring town, just five miles from Santpedor. They have now been married for 24 years and have three children: Maria was born in 2001, Marius in 2003 and Valentina in 2008.
It soon became clear that Guardiola had immensely strong leadership qualities. When playing football for his village team, he would be the one to pick the teams. He was the class spokesman at school, but his gift was best defined by his former player Gerard Pique: “He has a natural, extraordinary authority. He doesn’t have to raise his voice or bang on the table - the players just trust him.”
Guardiola is a minor linguistic genius. He grew up speaking his mother tongue Catalan, and Castilian. At the age of seven, he picked up his first English words at a Catholic boarding school, he learned Italian during his time with Brescia, and is now working hard on mastering the German language. Insiders claim he will already be speaking proficiently when he starts work with Bayern.
Not many football memorabilia and posters decorated Guardiola’s childhood bedroom. Yet there was a large picture of Michel Platini - Guardiola’s idol in his early days - hanging on his wall. As a ball-boy at Barca, he even got the chance, and took it, to ask for an autograph of the current UEFA president and former France legend, but Platini did not oblige.
Guardiola’s private life is a well-kept secret. However, it is known that he likes art. He dedicated a lot of his time, particularly during his sabbatical year in New York, to this pursuit. One of his best friends is director and author David Trueba. He once sung about his friend: “If you want to analyse or judge Guardiola, you’ve got to know that, under his elegant suit, his cashmere jumper and tie, he is the son of a bricklayer. Beneathe the expensive Italian footwear stands a heart in Espadrille shoes.“
Guardiola does not give individual interviews as a general rule. Yet Pep is always talkative when it comes to press conferences and there are no questions he tries to wriggle his way out of answering. He has been this way since the very beginning. Apparently, one of his friends gave him the following piece of advice several years ago, and Guardiola has followed it: “Don’t give any interviews, but never think you are any better than the journalists and that your job is any more important than theirs.”
In Barcelona, Guardiola had up to 24 assistants at any one time for different roles. In terms of match analysis, though, he only trusted his own opinion. That is why he had a 20m² room (without windows) set up within the Camp Nou stadium into which he would retreat for several hours on end just a few days before every game to study DVDs of the upcoming opponents. He would leave this room (almost) every time aware of the right tactics for that game.
Overall during his spell as FC Barcelona coach, Guardiola won 14 out of a possible 19 titles. He also became the first coach to win six titles in the same calendar year: the Spanish league title, the Spanish Cup, the Champions League, both the Spanish and European Supercups and the World Club Cup (achieved in 2009).
While Guardiola had an illustrious career as a player, his international career was comparably modest. Because of injury, he only picked up 47 caps for Spain, scoring five goals. He missed out on the World Cups in 1998 and 2002 and was only involved in the 1994 World Cup in the USA. However, he did win Olympic gold at the Barcelona Olympics of 1992.
Compiled by Michael Reis