Guardiola / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Josep Guardiola, visibly satisfied with winning his thirteenth title as FC Barcelona’s manager, emphasized the importance of his players. For the Barça manager, the team’s value comes from the competitive mentality of the squad.

Guardiola talked about the transcendence of what his players have done: “What one most admires is the continuity, the fact that we’ve been so competitive for so long. 13 out of 16 titles are stats that speak for themselves, you can only achieve them with a strong competitive mentality. It comes from that urge to go on, to play well. If you’re here this long it’s because they are fantastic players. I’m not sure if they are aware of what they have accomplished, but in time they will be.”

The manager said that the atmosphere in the dressing room is complete happiness, because of winning the second Club World Cup but also for breaking “the bad luck and winning it in Japan.” He added: “We are very content with the great game we played. We played a fantastic football game, and the whole world saw it. The truth is that we minimized Santos’ great football. To win two titles like this in three years is reason enough to be satisfied. I can only congratulate these extraordinary players.”

Collective Merit

Guardiola attributed the merit of beating Santos to the team’s collective play: “We’re satisfied with the overall performance of the group. This team has very good players, that’s key. We studied our opponent and designed a game plan that would allow us to hurt them. It’s true that the players move around a lot, but they move the ball around more. In the end their talent wins out and we try to associate each player through the ball.” The manager shied away from talking about individual performances, but he did say: “Messi played another great game. We already know he’s a different, special type of player. Andres, Thiago, Sergio, Xavi, Víctor... they all played really well today.”

When asked about how he thinks the future will go for his team, Guardiola said: “Everything is too fresh. When one thinks about everything that has been won you think the end is near, it’s unavoidable. The merit is what comes after, if we continue to win titles. But at the same time, if they’ve done so well up until now, why would they stop here? We must continue this desire to keep on winning things. It will depend on our ability to find that demand. Now we return to Catalonia and we have to prepare the Cup tie. It’s a privilege to manage this group of people.”

Guardiola was asked if his team had played better in the final of the Champions League or if they had played better against Santos: “The team played at the required level at Wembley. In all aspects, we played a fantastic first half. When Santos was able to string three or four passes together, they managed to get in front of Víctor. We saw five or six of their games, and believe me when I say that when Neymar gets the ball, you better be ready.”

For those that couldn't make it


Guardiola wanted to talk about those that couldn’t make it to the final: David Villa, Afellay and Tito Vilanova, people that “the team missed.” Lastly, the manager was satisfied with the comparison of his team to the legendary ‘Mechnical Ojange’ side, the Dutch national side of the 70s. “It’s an honour,” he said, just before stating that FC Barcelona had “nine players from the Masía” in the starting lineup.

Ramalho: “The difference is in the quality of the players”

The Santos manager said that FC Barcelona’s quality is what separates both the teams: “The difference is in the quality of the players, and FC Barcelona’s players have more, it was evident this Sunday.” Ramalho highlighted Messi’s performance, “he’s playing at a great level, that can’t be argued.”