FC Barcelona bid farewell to Pep Guardiola with an emotional display of appreciation, before, during and after the game. The boss replied, telling the fans: “you will never lose me”
“Life has given me this present. For five years I have been able to have you close to me and enjoy the great show that these boys have given us during that time. I’ve been no different than you - I’ve been equally privileged. A little closer to the pitch maybe, but I’ll take this privilege with me. You can’t imagine the happiness and pleasure I’ll take with me”.
“Thank you to absolutely everybody, especially those who have been closest to me, because every day we have been working hard so that you can enjoy watching us play. And thank you also to you in the crowd, who maybe haven’t been so close, but who have really made us feel your support”.
“You should know that I will miss you. I’m the person who is losing most, but I am leaving you in the best possible hands – particularly of this group of players. The pressure was strong and I needed to ease it a bit, but you don’t need to do that – stay with us, because this still has a long way to go. I wish you all the best of luck - I’ll see you soon and you will never lose me!”.
That was Pep Guardiola’s final farewell speech made to the fans from the centre of the Camp Nou after tonight’s game, during which the crowd never stopped paying homage to the departing coach for the many wonderful moments he has offered them over the years.
Guardiola’s final party
Before the game, a video with the best images of the Guardiola era was shown at the stadium and with emotions running high, 40,000 flags with the Barça and Catalan colours welcomed the teams onto the pitch.
Then one of the iconic moments of the night, when Guardiola stepped out onto the pitch and took his place on the bench. A massive banner (46x47 m, a total of 2.162 m²) with Pep’s photo and the words ‘T’estimem Pep’ – “we love you Pep” was unfurled as the fans sang ‘Ser del Barça és el millor que hi ha!”.
Once the game was over, the crowd stayed in their seats and after Manel Vic spoke a few words over the loudspeakers about how much Guardiola had brought to the Club with the music of Coldplay and Luis Llach in the background, Guardiola, surrounded by his players waited to take the microphone and make his farewell speech.
There were tears in many fans’ eyes as he spoke and afterwards the players threw him into the air in celebration. Just as they have done when winning so many titles, the players did a lap of honour and then made a guard of honour to see their manager off the pitch and into the history of the Club.