I'm a mancunian for life, says Guardiola

Spaniard loves Manchester and will not coach another EPL team, wants to 'seduce' City to be better

MANCHESTER • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that it would be impossible for him to coach another team in England.

The Spaniard, who led City to the Premier League title last season with a record points tally of 100, signed a contract extension with the champions earlier this year that will take him to the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

One of the most successful managers in world football, Guardiola has been known to keep his coaching stints brief, spending four seasons at Barcelona and three at Bayern Munich.

However, even if he ended his stay at City after five seasons in 2021, he said he could not envisage one day managing a Premier League rival.

"I will be Mancunian for the rest of my life. I will (always) be a Manchester City fan, it would not be possible to train another team in England like Manchester City because I feel love from the people here," Guardiola said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

"When the people say, what do you want? To be loved. The most nice thing is when you feel good with the other people.

"I like to do it better, to seduce them, to make a better club so they can believe we are strong enough to do better things."

LIFELONG CITY SUPPORTER

I will be Mancunian for the rest of my life. I will (always) be a Manchester City fan, it would not be possible to train another team in England like Manchester City because I feel love from the people here.

PEP GUARDIOLA, Man City manager, on why he will remain loyal to the club.

THE SECRETS OF CRUYFF

He gave us secrets, because they were things nobody else saw. The way he saw football was totally different; he had a lot of power in that way.

PEP GUARDIOLA , on the late Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, who was his coach and then coaching mentor, at Barcelona.

The 47-year-old won 14 trophies as Barcelona coach and seven while at Bayern, but said that a less intrusive media landscape made it easier to settle as a manager in England.

"I understand why in England you can stay at a club for 20 years in one place," added Guardiola, whose team face Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday morning (Singapore time).

"Here during the week, I don't see the journalists and, for example, we had maybe some problems in the locker room, sometimes we have to be tough with players - but nothing goes out. Just a few times.

"In Barcelona or in Bayern Munich, everything that happened, the next time (day) it is in the media. So here you are more comfortable."

Guardiola said he identified even more strongly with the city after the bomb attack at Manchester Arena in May last year which killed 22 people.

The City boss was at home when he received a phone call from his wife, Cristina, who was at the Ariana Grande concert with their daughters Valentina and Maria.

She told him that something had happened but the line went dead, and it was several minutes before she was able to call again.

"I was at home with my son and my wife and daughters were there," Guardiola said. "She told me, 'Something happened and we are running, but I don't know what happened', and the line broke.

"We tried to call her again and it didn't work. We went to the arena. After five or six minutes, she called me again and said, 'We are out, we are out'.

"At the end, we were lucky. Unfortunately, (there were many) people who suffered."

In the interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, the former Spain international also discussed his favourite songs, his childhood, his sabbatical in New York, his respect for Johan Cruyff and social meetings with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Dutch football legend Cruyff, who died of cancer in 2016, coached Guardiola at Barcelona and was a mentor to him when he began his own coaching career.

"He helped me to love this game, to love football and, to love it, you have to understand it," said the former midfielder. "He gave us secrets, because they were things nobody else saw. The way he saw football was totally different; he had a lot of power in that way.

"Obsessive, demanding, stressful. He was like a brutal father. He was so rough - so tough, you cannot imagine. Nothing was easy, and there was a time when I could not stay with him any more, but he was fair."

One of Guardiola's favourite songs is the 1970 hit Your Song by Elton John.

He said: "One of my dreams is to have a concert from Elton John, especially this song. I first heard it was when I was 18 or 19 and started to play in Barcelona.

"I met him when we played Watford at the end of last season and it was a huge pleasure.

"If he has organised a concert here, please, I will be there."

REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2018, with the headline 'I'm a mancunian for life, says Guardiola'. Print Edition | Subscribe