Well, I’m sad to say this is the final comparison between the teams of Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola, so that can mean only one thing…the managers go head-to-head.
Before I start, I must say that I am a huge fan of both, and am hugely grateful to them both for leading this club to the best years in its long and illustrious history. Both are disciples of the great (unless you are the Ajax board) Johan Cryuff, and their playing styles reflect that.
It’s an understatement to say that Barca fans have been lucky to have two mangers who would rather die, than serve up the anti-football dross that a certain Portuguese manger has become accustomed to…
Back to the point, it is hard to compare two managers who use the same system (virtually), and have even had relatively similar players. So, I am going to start with work-rate.
I’m not too sure about Rijkaard, but it is clear that Guardiola lives, breathes, eats and sleeps Barcelona. The fresh-faced manager we recruited has visibly aged a good 10 or so years since he took the job.
Sure, that could be down to the pressure, but as I am told from people who know Pep, he obsesses about every little detail. Though, when it brings you the sextuple in the first season in charge, it’s clear that it pays dividends.
Rijkaard no doubt worked hard to make Barcelona successful, but as much as Guardiola
I don’t think it’s humanly possible.
Rijkaard was however the first Barcelona manager to win the Champions League – note Champions League, not European Cup. The former Dutch international thrived at Barcelona, but given his unconvincing record since, so could his success at Barcelona be mainly attributed to the players?
Whatever the case, Rijkaard had a win percentage of 58.61%, but compare that with Guardiola’s 73.21% for wins, and his 80% trophy win percentage (not including this seasons unresolved competitions) and its pretty clear that Guardiola is in a different league altogether.
Guardiola also won the Champions League, and in doing so became the youngest manager to do so. He has the full backing of the players and there have been countless instances, usually around the period of uncertainty before Pep agrees a new deal, stating that all the success is down to his hard work, and how they can’t imagine the team without him, but if they did it would be considerably worse, blah blah, I get it, and I agree.
He is something special, and after his 6-2 win over Real at the Bernabeu he ensured that he would forever be a legendary Barca manager, so when he bettered that win with a 5-0 at the Camp Nou, over "The Translator", he made sure he reached the next level.
And on my scale that rates somewhere alongside God. Or Leo Messi.
So for that reason, he defeats Rijkaard.
Winner: Pep Guardiola
Next week, a recap of the series with the results from the votes!
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