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17.06.2008 13:06

A life for Barça

Jesús Carrillo

History says that Josep Guardiola Sala was one of the finest players ever to appear for FC Barcelona. And that history is now set to continue as he takes over as first team manager.

Guardiola arrived at FC Barcelona in late June 1984 from Gimnàstic Manresa. La Masia, the residence for young Barça talents was his home for many years. In 1990/91 he was promoted to the first team as Johan Cruyff showed keen interest in a player that had been playing in the Under 18 side a year earlier, and had just been introduced to the B team. He played in four first team games that year, dividing his time between the professional side and the reserves.

Unforgettable 1992

18_setembre_1991_Copa_Europa_Barxa_-_Hansa_Rostonck.jpgAfter winning the league (1991), Guardiola became a regular in what came to be known as the Dream Team, and which won the League and Champions League. Guardiola rounded off a fantastic 1992 with a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics.

Two more leagues

The side went on to win two more leagues, playing spectacular football, and with Guardiola as a central playmaker. After the 1994 European Cup Final defeat, the team underwent major restructuring, with the famous ‘quinta del Mini’ of youth players coming up to form part of the first team from 1995 onwards.

08-08-00_GUARDIOLA-OVERMARS_00.jpgAfter Koeman left, Guardiola inherited the number 4 shirt, which he would continue to wear for the remainder of his club career. The next two seasons (1994-96) were not great for Barça, but Guardiola was still getting better and better by the day and was by now the team leader and also a regular member of the Spain squad.

More titles under Robson and Van Gaal

Robson replaced Cruyff and Guardiola and Jose Mari Bakero were playing under a different manager for the first time in the pro careers. Guardiola became captain in 1996/97 and in three years under Robson and Van Gaal the side won two Leagues, two Copa del Reys, one Cup Winners Cup and one each of the Spanish and European Super Cups, an incredible track record for Guardiola.

Goodbye to Barça

COMIAT_GUARDIOLA.JPG2000/01 was Josep Guardiola’s last at Barça, his final match being the return leg of a Cup semi final against Celta at the Camp Nou. Llorenç Serra Ferrer and his substitute, Carles Rexach, were his two last coaches.

He moved on to Italy, to play for two separate periods at Brescia, and also at Roma under Capello. Guardiola’s career ended with globetrotting spells in the Qatari (2003/05) and Mexican (2005/06) Leagues, along with Juanma Lillo.
A life for Barça
In numbers
Josep Guardiola played a total of 384 games for FC Barcelona. He scored 10 goals in eleven seasons with the first team, playing 263 League games, and scoring five times 5; 35 in the Cup and scoring twice; 14 in the Spanish Super Cup, 48 in the Champions League, 7 in the Cup Winners Cup, with 1 goal, 15 in the UEFA Cup, 1 in the European Super Cup and 1 in the Intercontinental Cup.

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