Soccer  

Lionel Messi jokes about ‘special’ Pep Guardiola’s style

Lionel Messi has heaped praise on former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola by jokingly saying that his style of play “did football a lot of harm.”

Messi played under Guardiola during one of the most successful periods in Barcelona’s history, between 2008 and 2012.

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“Guardiola did football a lot of harm because he made it look so easy and so simple that everyone wanted to copy him,” Messi said smiling.

“Later I found many ‘Guardiolas’ out there and you realise what we did and what that was.”

During those years at Barcelona, Guardiola won 14 titles, including the treble in his first season, and ended 2009 with a record-breaking haul of six trophies.

Guardiola left Barca in 2012. He went on to coach Bayern Munich for three seasons before taking the helm of Manchester City in 2016.

His playing style of play revolves around holding possession and applying high pressure to break down opponents.

Asked if the Spanish tactician was the best coach he’s ever had, Messi, who is in his second season at Paris Saint-Germain after his departure from Barcelona, said: “Without a doubt. He has something special, above all how he watched and prepared for matches and how he communicates, because of how he transmitted it to you.”

The Argentina captain declared in the past that having Guardiola and Luis Enrique as managers helped him “to grow a lot in football and in the tactical wisdom that they taught me.”