Madrid/Munich - Although Pep Guardiola does not give interviews, he never shirks questions at press conferences. One reporter who has followed the new FC Bayern Munich coach's career virtually since he started out at FC Barcelona's youth academy is Paco Aguilar, deputy director of Catalan newspaper El Mundo Deportivo.
The 58-year-old has worked for the daily sports journal since 1991, before which he worked with the El Periódico de Catalunya. He has followed FC Barcelona for over three decades and is a respected figure in Spanish sports journalism.
Few know Guardiola better than Aguilar, who spoke at length with bundesliga.com about what FC Bayern and German football can expect when the Pep era gets underway in Munich on 24 June. Here's part 2 of that interview.
bundesliga.com: After ending his playing career, Pep Guardiola was given the opportunity to coach Barcelona's reserves. How did the leap to the first team then come about?
Aguilar: There's a funny story to that. A delegation from FC Barcelona was in Lisbon because they actually wanted to appoint José Mourinho. When 'the special one' was asked who he wanted in his backroom staff, he expressed the desire to have Guardiola as his assistant coach. But Johan Cruyff advised the then president Joan Laporta against appointing Mourinho. Evarist Murtra, a board member at the time, and somebody with a lot of influence at the club, gave Pep his backing. That's how it all came together for Pep to be able to take over the first team.
bundesliga.com: How did he approach the new challenge and what was the first thing he did in charge?
Aguilar: He was very self-assertive. The first thing he told the club bosses was that he no longer had room for Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Deco. With Ronaldinho and Deco, it was no real problem to find takers for them quickly. Eto’o only left as part of the deal to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Guardiola has always had problems with strong-minded players, he prefers those with whom he can talk and build up a good relationship. He mentored Messi like an elder brother. Guardiola risked quite a lot with Barca and made some big changes, like turning Messi into a false nine. It’s got to be said, he revolutionised a lot here and was never afraid to spring a surprise.
Question: In the end, his success justified it all. Can it be said that Guardiola was more than just a coach at Barca?
Aguilar: Absolutely. He was not only the coach, he had everything under control. Imagine, in all his years in charge here he didn't give a single one-on-one interview. That's why his press conferences were always so long. The people here revered him, he's the most successful Barca coach of all time - and a Catalan on top of that. Nobody here will forget the year 2009, when FC Barcelona won all six possible titles (La Liga, the Spanish Cup, UEFA Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and World Club Cup). That had never happened before in world football.
In the third and final part of the interview, Aguilar turns to FC Bayern and what can be expected of Guardiola in the Bundesliga.
You can read part one of the interview here.