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Pep Guardiola


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Josep "Pep" Guardiola i Sala (born 18 January 1971 in Santpedor, Barcelona, Catalonia) is a former Spanish football midfielder and current FC Barcelona manager. He spent the majority of his playing career with Barcelona, and was the captain of Johan Cruyff's dream team that won Barcelona's first European Cup. Guardiola also played for, among others, Brescia Calcio, A.S. Roma, Al-Ahli and Dorados de Sinaloa. As an international, Guardiola played for both Spain and Catalonia. After retiring as a player, Guardiola became coach of FC Barcelona Atlètic. On 8 May 2008, Barcelona president Joan Laporta announced that Guardiola would succeed Frank Rijkaard as the first team manager. He signed his contract on 5 June 2008. In his first season as manager, Barcelona won the treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

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Guardiola: We did nothing wrong

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola could find no faults in the performance of his players despite a 1-1 draw at Rubin Kazan.

Barca dominated the match but could not put any of their chances away in open play and had to rely on a second-half David Villa penalty to tie things up at one a piece.

Rubin took the lead through a penalty from Cristian Noboa and nearly won the match when Obafemi Martins hit the woodwork late on.

Despite the high drama, Guardiola felt that his side did enough to claim all three points from their Champions League encounter against Rubin - a team they have now failed to beat in three straight contests.

"The team attacked well and did everything to win," he said in a post-match interview.

"I am pleased with the players. We did nothing wrong and only needed to just put one of our chances away. I felt that we created enough opportunities to win.

"They [Rubin] played well defensively."

On a more positive note for Guardiola, injured star Lionel Messi came on in the second-half to mark his return to action after three games out.

"We will try to help him continue improving on his road to a full recovery," Guardiola said.

"We are happy to have him back."

Barcelona play RCD Mallorca on Sunday at the Nou Camp.

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Guardiola hails perfect Barca victory

Barcelona chief Pep Guardiola could not stop purring after his side’s 8-0 destruction at Almeria.

Lionel Messi and Bojan Krkic claimed five goals between them, while Andres Iniesta, Pedro and an Almeria own goal saw Barca stroll to victory at a canter.

In his post match press conference, Guardiola revealed to the club's official website: "That behaviour, such solidarity, that we all do everything, that's the way.

"We scored nearly every time we went forward, unlike other days. It is not easy to describe a game that finished like that. I want to congratulate the team on their effectiveness".

"Everything we did is our own merit. That's the way. We have shown once again that if we do certain things, show solidarity, that we all do everything, we control the game. The talent does the rest."

Noting that Almeria had the league's third best defensive record, the Barca tactician lavished praise on his team's deadly instincts in front of goal.

"There's no doubt that today was the exception, the important thing was stability, we always knew the goals would come".

Guardiola also gave credit to stopper Andreu Fontà, who got a rare start ahead of usual centreback Gerard Piqué as well as goalscorer Bojan.

He said: "I congratulate Andreu on his performance. Gerard had some trouble with his leg. And there was the risk he'd get booked. But I trust Andreu and took a gamble on him. He had an extraordinary game, congratulations to him.

"He (Bojan) never lost his confidence, and neither did we lose faith in him. He was a vital part of the league championship last year. He made the two goals he scored. We know he's there when we need him."

Real Madrid and Barcelona have now amassed an equal 33 goals in the league so far this campaign.

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Almeria 0-8 Barcelona

Lionel Messi struck a hat-trick and Bojan Krkic bagged a brace as Barcelona strolled to an incredible 8-0 victory at Almeria.

Pep Guardiola's side raced into a 5-0 lead before half-time in a hugely one-sided contest.

Messi opened the scoring after 17 minutes and Andres Iniesta took advantage of poor defending to score the second just two minutes later.

A Santiago Acasiete own goal made it 3-0 before the half hour mark, Pedro made it four 10 minutes prior to the interval and Messi added his second in Barca's very next attack.

Substitute Bojan added two in the second half and Messi completed his hat-trick as Guardiola's side ran riot in Andalusia.

Barcelona came into this match on the back of five straight Primera Division victories, but the Catalans were still a point behind Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid, who were in action at home to Athletic Bilbao straight after this match.

Almeria, meanwhile, were struggling at the wrong end of the table, having won just once in the league all season.

Reports in Spain suggested that coach Juanma Lillo, a friend and mentor of Guardiola, would lose his job if his side lost this match.

But any other outcome seemed highly unlikely as the game got under way.

David Villa saw an angled shot saved by Diego Alves and drilled the rebound wide as Barca almost took the lead after just two minutes.

Victor Valdes saved from Pablo Piatti at the other end, but normal service was resumed shortly afterwards as Messi came close after seven minutes.

But the Argentina winger, fresh from scoring the winner against Brazil in a midweek friendly, was not to be denied for long.

The 23 year-old played a sublime one-two with Villa on the edge of the box, moved into space and beat Alves with an unstoppable angled drive to make it 1-0.

Two minutes later, Iniesta made it two after some poor defending from the home side.

The Spain midfielder saw his cross blocked, but raced onto the loose ball to beat an exposed Alves.

The third was an even bigger gift from Almeria, as Acasiete stuck out a foot to divert Maxwell's low cross past his own keeper after 27 minutes.

Pedro then latched onto a pass from deep and poked the ball past Alves, who had come racing off his line, to make it 4-0.

Almost every Barca attack was ending up in a goal at this stage and from the next one, Messi made it five.

Pedro advanced into the area and squared for the Argentinian, who saw his initial effort saved by Alves, but gratefully poked home the rebound for his second of the night.

Guardiola looked almost embarrassed on the sidelines and made two changes at the break, with Seydou Keita and Thiago Alcantara replacing Xavi and Iniesta.

Piatti then hit the bar for Almeria as Barca's intensity dropped.

But Bojan, who minutes earlier had replaced Pedro, made it six with a quality finish shortly after the hour, when he was set up by Messi on the edge of the box and found his way between two defenders before clipping the ball past the hapless Alves.

Messi then sealed his hat-trick six minutes later, when he poked home from close range after Alves had parried Villa's first-time shot.

And five minutes after that, the Argentinian strode forward unchallenged from the centre circle to set up Bojan in the area for a simple finish to make it 8-0.

There were still 17 minutes left and Barca could have reached double figures, but Villa missed a great chance to write his name on the scoresheet with 11 minutes left and the game ended 8-0.

The Catalans moved provisionally two points clear of Madrid at the top of the table, while Lillo looked set to leave Almeria following the Andalusians' humiliating defeat, which left them in the bottom three with just nine points from 12 games.

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Guardiola: We're superior to Madrid

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola expressed his satisfaction after his side's 5-0 demolition of Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.

The much anticipated El Clasico ended up as one of the most one-sided encounters between both sides in recent times.

A double from David Villa and goals from Xavi, Pedro and substitute Jeffrén Suárez sealed the convincing victory over their bitter rivals.

And speaking after the match, a rightfully proud and delighted Guardiola was still reveling in his side's triumph.

"How we did it - that makes us proud. Now just let us sit back and enjoy that win - we'll reflect and look at the whole game, but now it would be wrong not to revel in the win," the 39-year-old was quoted as saying in the club's official website.

"Games like that happen very rarely indeed".

Guardiola also admitted his side have been a level above Madrid in his time as coach, in which he has won all five meetings with Barca's biggest rivals.

"In these two years we have been superior to Madrid - that's true. With time, we can enjoy these things more," he said.

"And we will enjoy this for a few days now as well."

The Barca coach claimed he felt similar sensations when Barca beat Madrid 6-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu in his first season in charge.

"The sensations are similar, but that win virtually gave us the league, whereas there is a long way to go this time," he said.

"We already have an internal satisfaction," he added.

"If we were going on holiday then we would be happier. But we haven't won anything yet and we have to keep going - I would like to be 10 or 12 points ahead of Madrid, but it's not possible."

Barca's last big win was an incredible 8-0 victory at Almeria, which led to the sacking of coach Juanma Lillo by the Andalusian club.

Asked if there could be a repeat of that outcome with Madrid and Mourinho, the Barca coach smiled and said: "I don't think so."

The Spanish coach then went on to dedicate the victory to former coach Carles Rexach and club legend Johan Cruyff as they were the pioneers of the Barcelona's style of football.

"Cruyff and Rexach were the first to get that way of playing started. That's the track to take and those of us who have come after them must be loyal to that.

It's an idea that we shouldn't betray - it has been implanted in this club for a long time now".

Despite being in celebratory mood, Guardiola refuses to get overly carried away by the win and insists that the title race is still very much on.

"There are still a lot of games left to play in this league. We were the better team tonight, but both teams are at a very high level.

"We are only two points ahead and Real Madrid remain an impressive team".

In conclusion, the Barcelona coach paid tribute to his players - in particular Lionel Messi and Dani Alves.

"Messi is the best of them all. In all aspects of his game he is just the best".

"Alves is an enormous help for the balance of the team. I hope we reach an agreement soon (on his new contract) - he's better off here than anywhere else he could go to".

The victory puts Barcelona two points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga standings.

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