Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is now eight years into the job at the Etihad, and with his contract running until 2025, there is naturally speculation over whether it might be his last at the club. Whatever happens in 2025, he will not be returning to Spain, or taking on the Spain job, according to his biographer.
It seems highly unlikely Guardiola would ever manage another club in Spain that isn’t Barcelona, given his ties to the club, leaving either a return to the Blaugrana or taking over at La Roja as his primary options. Marti Perarnau, who has written three books on Guardiola, was asked whether it was due to football reasons or political reasons that he would not do so.
“I don’t think due to sporting reasons, but social reasons, yes. Because political reasons within football would make little sense. You don’t manage a team because of politics, that is, because you are favourable to this or that person’s policy. I think I would rule it out more for social reasons. There is an obvious rejection, there is a very significant part of the Spanish people who think differently than Pep and, therefore, there is a rejection, but it is social. I don’t think it’s political. I also don’t think it would enter the mind of the Spanish Federation to have him, but for the same reason. It would be provoking an unnecessary conflict, neither one side nor the other wants that. Why are you going to get into that mess? That’s how I see it.”
Guardiola has been a vocal advocate of Catalan independence, and their right to vote in recent years, which is one of the hot-button topics in Spain and Catalonia. He has also advocated for Catalan as a language to be admitted into the European Union, and was even included in a report by Spanish police in a terrorism investigation.
Perarnau also told Marca, that the idea of Guardiola as being obsessed with the beauty of his football teams was entirely bogus in his eyes.
“I don’t believe one [label] or the other. I see very dogmatic labels for and against; a lot of exaggeration in either position. For example, when talking about aesthetics… I, knowing Pep as I know him, [the labels] deeply shock me, because I believe that Pep always wants to win and win… and is not concerned about aesthetics. I see labels of that type and they shock me deeply, both in ‘Guardiola journalism’ and in journalism advocating for the ‘old school’. Both are very far from reality. Pep is much simpler.”
Due to the fact that Guardiola was in charge of arguably one of the most attractive football teams in the history of the game, and at Barcelona he perhaps doubled down on his ideas rather than adapting them more than anywhere else, it is perhaps natural that he has earned that tag in Spain at least. Yet there is no doubt that Guardiola has been pragmatic at City, and often his desire for the ball is in part to defend with it.