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Pep Guardiola praises Man City football director Txiki Begiristain ‘exceptional’ and ‘humble’

‘Without him I wouldn’t be here’: Pep Guardiola praises ‘exceptional’ and ‘humble’ Txiki Begiristain … with Manchester City manager insisting that his ‘gratitude is eternal’ to the club’s football director

  • Pep Guardiola spent four years with Txiki Begiristain at Barcelona
  • The Manchester City manager is now in his fifth season in the top flight
  • Meanwhile, Begiristain is the football director and joined the club in 2012.
  • Guardiola also insisted that coaches can be senior managers without winning titles.


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Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to Manchester City football director Txiki Begiristain, saying: ‘Without him it would be nothing’.

In an era when coaches from Europe’s top divisions lose their jobs with increasing frequency, the City Guardiola manager is now in his fifth season at the club. Previously, he spent four years with Begiristain in Barcelona.

When asked about the relationship before Wednesday’s Champions League tie with PSG, Guardiola said: ‘You can’t imagine. One of the reasons I extend my time here was because of him. We met when I was 19 and have been close friends. We work well together. We analyze why when we win or lose and do not judge the other.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City boss

City football director Txiki Begiristain

City football director Txiki Begiristain

Pep Guardiola (left) paid tribute to Manchester City football director Txiki Begiristain (right)

Previously, Guardiola (right) had spent four years with Begiristain (left) at Barcelona

Previously, Guardiola (right) had spent four years with Begiristain (left) at Barcelona

Previously, Guardiola (right) had spent four years with Begiristain (left) at Barcelona

“They have judged me by the results, but we both work for the best of this club. He is the most humble person, always behind the scenes, never in the media. I think of him so well, he is exceptional, what he did in Barcelona and what he did here.

‘Working here with people like Txiki is a joy. They are hard to find. We met almost 30 years ago, we played together and had a relationship in Barcelona. He trusted me when I was nobody, training in the fourth division.

He trusted me and my gratitude is eternal. Without him I wouldn’t be here. He showed me who he is in the bad times. City are incredibly lucky to have him supporting the academy and many things behind the scenes.

‘It is the ideal situation when the sports director trusts the coach. We know that if we don’t win, both of us will fire us, but until then he supports the coach in everything.

“The players and the people know that there is no bad influence and this is very important.”

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino arrives in Manchester on Tuesday with his future in doubt

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino arrives in Manchester on Tuesday with his future in doubt

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino arrives in Manchester on Tuesday with his future in doubt

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives in Manchester on Tuesday with his future in doubt. Manchester United have identified him as one of the main targets to replace the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Coincidentally, the power of PSG sporting director Leonardo is one of the things that PSG coaches can have a difficult time dealing with and Pochettino’s position at the club will only be strengthened if he wins big trophies.

When asked at lunchtime Tuesday if a coach can ever be considered elite without picking up the silverware, Guardiola said: ‘I’m pretty sure the coaches get better every year. Every season we go through, you learn a lot. I’m pretty sure he’s an excellent coach.

Yes, you can be a senior manager without titles, of course. The coaches who have the opportunity to win titles are the best, the best clubs with good investments and exceptional players. Otherwise, it is impossible to win.

Guardiola will again face his former Barcelona star Lionel Messi at the Etihad

Guardiola will again face his former Barcelona star Lionel Messi at the Etihad

Guardiola will again face his former Barcelona star Lionel Messi at the Etihad

‘That does not mean that the coaches in the Championship or in the Premier League, but outside of the top six at the top they cannot be excellent coaches in tactics and communication, leading the team, as human beings.

“You don’t have to win titles to be a superior coach.”

Guardiola will once again face his former Barcelona star Lionel Messi at the Etihad on Wednesday night. Messi scored a decisive and spectacular second goal when PSG beat City in Paris in September.

When asked what was the best way to stop Messi, Guardiola said: ‘It’s so difficult.

“Sometimes when he has the ball, he doesn’t know what to do. He can go to the right or to the left, but even he doesn’t know it.

‘It also happens with Neymar, Mbappé, Di María. All four are on the same team and each could be a star in the whole world.

“I am happy that he is still playing at this level and it will be good to face him again.”

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