Describing the man Pep Guardiola and what he has achieved in the world of football – both as a player and as a gawker – would be a difficult task for anyone, as you would always wonder which detail to include and which to leave out. Since he came into the game, Pep, as he is affectionately known, has revolutionized the way football is played.
His insistent, ball-possession-based style of play, popularly known as “tiki-taka”, has proven successful for him and his teams, as well as for all those who have used this tactic. It has also been hailed by football enthusiasts as the way forward in the game of football. But football is not all that is needed to know about this former midfield maestro. Read on to find out more.
Pep Guardiola’s Bio, Age
Guardiola was born as Josep Guardiola Sala in Santpedor, Spain. The mercurial manager was born on January 18, 1971, as the son of his parents – Valentí Guardiola and Dolors Sala. His father, Valentí, worked as a bricklayer until he retired at the age of 66, while his mother was a housewife. Guardiola was the third of the four children born in the family. He has two older sisters – Francesca and Olga Guardiola – and a younger brother, Pere Guardiola. Pere is a professional soccer player and is now considered one of the best hands in the business worldwide.
Pep Guardiola’s educational history is not known, and facts about his early years are equally rare, but it is known that his stay in football began at a very tender age. (more on this later). He is of Spanish descent and has Spanish citizenship.
Soccer Career – As a Player
Guardiola played the best part of his football career with the Spanish league team FC Barcelona as a defensive midfielder. He started out as a ball boy before switching to professional football. At the age of 13, he joined the youth team of Barcelona (popularly known as “La Masia”) under the leadership of Johan Cruyff, and after six years he was to be promoted to the senior national team in 1990, due to his commitment and industry.
The trophies came early enough, as he helped the team win the Spanish La Liga four times in a row (from 1991 to 1994, the European Cup was added in 1992 and in 1994 he reached the UEFA Champions League final). The Barcelona team, led by the legendary Dutchman Johan Cruyff, was called ‘The Dream Team’.
Personally, he was appointed to the Spanish national team and was named the best footballer under 21 years of age at the time by a prestigious Italian sports magazine and awarded the Bravo Prize. At the 1992 Olympic Games, he won the gold medal with the Spanish national football team. Injuries clouded his fortunes as he led the Barcelona midfield, leading to his decision to leave FC Barcelona 2001 at the age of 30 after helping the team win 16 trophies.
His fate in Italy with Serie A, Brescia, and Roma teams after 71 matches were mixed, as a combination of injuries, poor form, and the use of banned substances led to his withdrawal from football in 2006 after appearances in Qatar and Mexico.
Hanging up his play boots. Pep Guardiola wanted to become a coach after being appointed head coach of FC Barcelona B’s team. This settled the question of who would prove to be the best manager in modern football. After just one year on the B side, he was given the reins of the senior side in 2008, which included Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, and Xavi.
Although he lost his first game in La Liga, FC Barcelona won the title in style this season with a series of 20 unbeaten games, including his first El Classico game, which he won 6-2 against arch-rivals Real Madrid. This season, FC Barcelona won the Champions League, Copa Del Rey, and La Liga, tripling the title.
This was just the beginning of a trophy-winning coaching career for Pep Guardiola. His team retained the league title for the next two seasons, including a 2011 UCL trophy (his second as a coach and his second against Manchester United, the first with a 2-0 win in 2009). He left Barcelona at the end of the 2011/12 season as the most successful coach in the club’s history, having won 14 major trophies in four years. He also left them a football brand (tiki-taka) that would make them popular with football fans around the world.
Among his successes as Barcelona coach is the fact that he was the first coach to lead a Spanish team to the triple, an astonishingly high score after a single season in the La Liga and the major leagues in Europe at the time (99 points). He also became the youngest coach to win the UEFA Champions League in 2009 and was named FIFA Coach of the Year in 2012, among other achievements.
After a long break from football and related activities, he moved to Bayern Munich in 2013 with a 3-year contract. At Bayern, his success story continued when he won his first trophy – the 2013 UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea FC, who were then coached by former LaLiga rivals Jose Mourinho. He then won the Bundesliga and twice the DFB Cup in the three seasons he spent in Germany.
His next goal was England with Manchester City, where he was in his first season as a manager and for the first time in his career as a manager did not wear a trophy. In the 2017/18 season, his destiny was to change when he won the English Premier League title and the Carabao Cup, breaking a series of records as he left all other teams behind. He finished the season on 100 points, beating his previous record from Barcelona.
Family, Kids, Wife (Cristina Serra)
Pep Guardiola married his long-time girlfriend Cristina Serra in 2014. He met his wife when he was still a teenager (about 18 years old). At that time he was a male model for the Spanish designer Antonio Miro, whom they met in their family’s clothing shop, and from then on their friendship lasted as it blossomed into a relationship.
He tied the wedding knot with his mistress when he was in Germany with Bayern Munich in May 2014. They had a silent wedding ceremony attended by close friends and relatives in the community of Matadepera, a town near Barcelona. They were blessed with three children: Mary, Mario, and Valentina Guardiola.
Salary and Net Worth
After his EPL triumph with Manchester City of England, club Pep Guardiola offered a contract that easily made the former gaffer of Barcelona and Bayern Munich the current best-paid manager in the world. The Spaniard signed a new three-year contract that will keep him with the club until 2021. The contract will be worth around £60 million and will make him the highest-paid coach in world football. His current net worth is estimated at 41.8 million dollars.