Thursday, June 17

Guardiola looks again to the top

The Manchester city arrives this Saturday (9:00 pm. Movistar) not only to their yearning for the beginning of the year, but to the place where they have longed to be for almost a decade. In September 2012 he landed at the club Ferran Soriano, with Little Begiristain as a squire and the firm intention of taking the celestial to the highest of the continental panorama. The journey included Pep Guardiola, captain of a ship dreamed of to endow the celestial with a superior sophistication. Along the way they had to wait, and bet on Manuel Pellegrini. Persistence paid off. The last delivery can be picked up this Saturday at Port. Whether they succeed or not, at least they know that the coach will continue in Manchester, as he assured yesterday.

Guardiola returns to a Champions League final after a decade of absence, a path through which many things have passed. He is not the same coach who in 2009 infected his squad with a motivational video before stepping on the Olympic in Rome. Well known was its impact in the first minutes of the crash, reported by the protagonists. Currently, Pep transmits the naturalness of who knows where he is.

“In my experience, you have to prepare for the final as if it were another Premier match. The Champions League by itself magnifies everything. The most beautiful thing about the final, or so I remember since I played the first one at Wembley, are the 10 days before the game. Prepare the final, dream it, think about it and live it, “he reflected in the previous one, in statements to TNT Sports.

Lillo’s joke

In this it has undoubtedly helped him Juanma Lillo. The Basque coach, current Manchester City assistant and one of the keys they have found in the club to satisfy Guardiola, has found the formula to supplement and control intensity with which the coach of Santpedor lives. Sources close to the City bench recognize one of the most notable episodes on the way to the final.

The quarterfinals were approaching, the glass ceiling of Pep’s City in the Champions League until this year. The Borussia Dortmund de Haaland He was the rival, and internally it was evident in the Catalan environment the transcendence with which he faced the crash. In the previous days, between the joke and self-control, Juanma Lillo challenged Pep: “Let’s see if you can do all the talks to the squad without saying the word Champions League.”

Guardiola laughed at it, aware of Lillo’s trick, and accepted the bet. A few days later, the Basque coach took another turn of the screw: “Now see if you can not mention Haaland”. Between the jokes of the staff, Pep Guardiola fulfilled the promise again. From the club they can only praise Lillo’s work in the club.

“Juanma has a great ability to analyze the game, but also another great virtue: he never speaks ill of anyone. He always sees the good things in others, and that helps me a lot. I am always more negative according to what things, and he manages to turn it around. You don’t know what a gift that is, “Guardiola confessed to DAZN.

The City was loaded to the Dortmund already the mental barrier of the quarterfinals. There a new horizon opened. I expected Neymar and Mbappé’s Paris Saint-Germain, but the serenity and lucidity of Guardiola, who appealed to Cruyff’s ‘come out and enjoy’ at the press conference prior to setting foot in Paris, conjured the celestial to overthrow the French.

Fortune also accompanied him in key moments. Pep Guardiola knows it like no one, who won the semifinals by registering a single shot on goal at Stamford Bridge and lost others, also against Chelsea, despite completing 47 attempts. This is the Champions League.

Reunion with Tuchel

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Fate turns him against the ‘blues’ again. This Chelsea, however, is very different, supported by the stamp of the brilliant Tomas Tuchel who has already beaten Pep twice in England.

The Germanic has never hidden his admiration for Guardiola. They met in person over dinner at Schumann’s Bar in Munich. They say that the after-dinner lasted four hours, with both technicians simulating movements and tactics with glasses and cutlery. This Saturday at your disposal will not have glasses of wine, but several of the best players in the world. Nor will a German waiter wait for them, with the bill in hand, but the orejona will do it, the holy grail of European football, waiting for one of these tactical geniuses to lift it to the sky of Portugal.

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