18 January

Pep Guardiola

On this day in 1971 one of the football world’s most succesful managers, Josep Guardiola i Sala – or Pep to his friends – was born.

The young Guardiola joined Barcelona as a promising youngster aged just 13 and made his first appearance against Cadiz at the age of 19 in 1990.

He became a pivotal member of Johan Cruyff’s El Barça del Dream Team which won the European Cup for the first time, beating Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992 and won six La Liga titles – including four successive titles between 1990/91 and 1993/94 as well as another two in 1997/98 and 1998/99.

After more than 263 appearances in 11 years at the Camp Nou, he moved to Brescia in 2001.

His time in Serie A with both Brescia and Roma was not the happiest time of his playing career. His appearances were limited and by 2003 he had moved to play for Al-Ahli in Qatar.

Following a six month stint with Sinaloa in Mexico, Guardiola was made coach of the Barcelons B team in June 2007.

He led the team to the Tercera Division title in his first season and the then Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, announced that Guardiola would take over the role of first team coach from Frank Rijkaard at the end of the season.

In his first season in charge, the Blaugrana won La Liga, the Champions League, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana, Uefa Super Cup and the Fifa World Club Cup – no mean feat for a rookie manager!