Two and a half years at the helm as FC Barcelona’s head coach, 1000 days. Josep Guardiola. A seemingly meteoric rise from Barca’s youth team and B team yo being considered one of the top managers in La Liga and Europe. Surely, with the talent that he’s had at his disposal anyone can look like a genius, right? I’m not sure. One things is – The numbers following Guardiola’s 33 months with the club are incredible.
La Liga Titles – 2 (2009, 2010), the third one is well within grasp, having a four point lead with a game in hand, 11 games before the season ends. Perfect so far.
Champions League – 1 (2009). Barcelona were knocked out by Inter in last season’s semi final. Barcelona have reached the quarter finals and are considered the favorites to win it this year.
Copa Del Rey – 1 (2009). Barcelona have reached the final this year as well and will face Real Madrid, the first time since 1990 that both of the Spanish giants will meet in the Spanish Cup Final.
UEFA Super Cup – 1 (2009).
FIFA Club World Cup – 1 (2009).
There’s also the Spanish Supercopa (2) but you get the picture. Since his arrival, without changing the personnel radically, Barcelona are back on top of the European game, as they were during Rijkaard’s 2005-2006 season. Remember, just about half a decade ago Barca were the fashionable club, with Ronaldinho getting the best-ever comparisons, just like Messi. Things deteriorated quickly with that star studded team, mostly due to a destructive social situation.
Guardiola joined the senior club after two years of finishing behind Real Madrid and that humiliating 4-1 loss at the Bernabeu after the Barcelona player had to give Real a champions welcome. Since Guardiola’s coaching the senior side (he was Barcelona B head coach before), Barcelona have won all five matches with Real Madrid, including a 6-2 win at the Bernabeu and the most recent win, a 5-0 demolition with Jose Mourinho on the Real sidelines.
In terms of the match records, Barcelona have played a total of 166 matches in all competitions, winning 122, drawing 29 and losing 15, winning 73.5% of his matches. In the league, Guardiola has coached 103 matches, winning 82, drawing 14 and losing only 7(!!!) in nearly three seasons. They have won 84.1% of the possible points. Style and scoring? This Barcelona side, with the changes it has seen up front (Eto’o-Henry in 2008-2009, Zlatan Ibarhimoic in 2009-2010 and David Villa this year) have scored 419, conceding 121, averaging over 2.5 goals per game.
Barcelona were always a trendy club, known for it’s style and commitment to attacking football. The last few years, under Guardiola, it’s been taken to another level, which brought Barcelona a lot more neutral fans but also a lot of haters, around the world. Because they really are too good sometimes, almost to a point it isn’t fair on some nights (like the way they dominated Arsenal last week). Because it seems they get preferential treatment from the refs and the FA (true. They don’t win just because of it, but it certainly helps). Because perfection, which Barcelona do achieve on some nights and afternoons, brings adoration and flattery from those suppose to be objective, and it does get a bit much.
How long will Guardiola stay at the Nou Camp? He’s insisting on renewing his one year contract each year, nothing longer. Other plans, countries, roles in mind? As long as his Barcelona machine keeps ticking like it has since his arrival, I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Bad news for La Liga and Europe.