Josep Guardiola i Sala was born in Santpedor on 18 January 1971. After a highly successful career as a Barça player and then gaining promotion as manager of Barça Atlètic, he won fourteen out of a possible nineteen major titles during his four years in charge of the first team. That record was based on an unyielding commitment to the Club’s youth products and to a spectacular style of play built on possession football, passing and pace, which some have described as a re-invention of the game of football. He was, without a doubt, Barça’s best ever coach
Portrait of Guardiola
- Seasons at the club: 1990-2001 - Games played: 472 - Goals scored: 10 - Trophies: 1 European Cup (1991/92) 1 Cup Winners Cup (1996/97) 2 European Super Cups (1992 and 1997) 6 Leagues (1990/91, 91/92, 92/93, 93/94, 97/98 and 98/99) 2 Copa del Rey (1996/97 and 97/98) 4 Spanish Super Cups (1991, 1992, 1994 and 1996) 3 Copes de Catalunya (1990/91, 92/93 and 99/00).
Josep Guardiola, one of the most important players in Barcelona's history, took over as first team manager on 17 June 2008 after a brilliant season as coach of Barça Atlètic with whom he won promotion to Second Division B. "I can't promise you silverware, but I can say that we'll keep on battling to the end and you'll be proud of us," he said on the day of his first Gamper Trophy. And he was right.
The thirteenth Catalan manager in the history of the club arrived with the mission to end a two-season long trophy drought. To do that he used the same 4-3-3 system he had experienced as a Barça player and which had brought him success at Barça Atlètic, though he was not afraid to occasionally switch to an even more attacking 3-4-3 system.
Guardiola only understands one way of playing football, which is to attack, keep possession and move the ball around so that the other team has to run after it. That's the way his Barça side plays, as did his Barça Atlètic, and they have had more possession and more shots on goal than virtually every team they have played. He appreciates the talent of his players but he puts hard work and individual sacrifice for the common cause first. He sees football as a squad sport in which he has ultimate responsibility for results and is therefore also the leader of the squad.
Guardiola is a meticulous manager who sees to the tiniest of details. He gets ready for every game with videos of the opposition and never thinks beyond the next match. He is a brilliant motivator who brings the best out of each player in his squad. This philosophy brought him success with the first-team in his first campaign in charge as Barça lifted the treble of Spanish Cup and League and the Champions League (the first ever in Spanish football’s history) in the best season in the club's history, the 2008/09 treble season.
Those three titles, together with the Spanish and European Super Cups, as well as the World Club Cup, made 2009 the most successful year in the history of the Club, becoming the legendary Year of the Six Cups.
That excellent campaign meant that Guardiola became the third manager after Cruyff and Samitier to pick up the League title after having also won it as a Barça player. He also become the sixth man to win the Champions League as a manager having previously done so as a player, the first manager to win the treble in the 21st century and the only one to win six titles in a season.
Guardiola’s second season - 2009/10 – saw his team retain the league title, the 20th in the Club’s history. The team needed a result in the final game of the season and the 4-0 win over Valladolid meant they could celebrate the title in front of their home crowd, something that hadn’t happened since the 1993/94 season.
Things didn’t stop there, for in 2010/11 Barcelona retained the Liga, the Spanish Supercup and yet another Champions League. In the 2011/12 season, Barça won the Spanish Supercup, the European Supercup and their second Club World Cup, as well as the Spanish Cup, beating Bilbao 3-0 in Guardiola’s final game in charge with a first half hour considered by many as one of the team’s best ever performances under Guardiola.
Under Guardiola, Barça have not only been winning, but have been winning in emphatic fashion. In these few years, they have managed to smash more than forty Spanish, European and World records, with those 14 titles out of a possible 19. On an individual level, Guardiola’s awards have been numerous.
2011: Medalla de Honor del Parlamento de Cataluña
2011: FIFA Coach of the year
2011: IFFHS Coach of the year
2011: World Soccer Coach of the year
2011: Once de Oro as European Coach of the year
2011: LFP award as Coach of the year in the Spanish League
2010: Gold Medal Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo
2010: Miguel Muñoz Trophy as Coach of the year in the Spanish League
2010: Don Balón Prize as Coach of the year in the Spanish League
2009: Premio Catalán del Año – Catalan of the Year
2009: IFFHS Coach of the year
2009: World Soccer Coach of the year
2009: Once de Oro as European Coach of the year
2009: LFP award as Coach of the year in the Spanish League
2009: Miguel Muñoz Trophy as Coach of the year in the Spanish League
2009: Don Balón Prize as Coach of the year in the Spanish League
Before going into management, Guardiola was a class footballer who played almost all his career at FC Barcelona, which he joined as a child on June 28th 1984. In the 1990/91 season, he alternated between Barça Atlètic and the first team, where he made his debut on December 16th 1990 in a league game against Cadiz. Until he left the Club at the end of the 2000/01 season Guardiola was the team's organiser in his traditional number 4 shirt. His principal quality was the speed of his reflexes, always seeming to know where to make his pass and take the best option. Such was his good positioning that he rarely needed to get into a tackle. Among the trophies he won at Barça are six leagues (1990-91, 91-92, 92-93, 93-94, 97-98 and 98-99), a European Cup (91-92), a Cup Winners' Cup (96-97) and two King's Cups (96-97 and 97-98).
In Italy's Serie A he made his debut with Brescia in the 2001-02 season, followed by a year with Roma before going back to Lombardy. Later on he went further afield to Al-Ahly in Qatar for two seasons (2003-04 and 2004-05) and Dorados de Sinaloa (Mexico), where he hung up his boots for the final time in 2006