The question on the lips of football followers is can Pep Guardiola, the present coach of English Premier League champions, Manchester City ever win the UEFA Champions League, UCL again considering his failure to lift it in the 2020/21 final against Chelsea Football Club penultimate week.
Guardiola won the Champions League when he was in Barcelona Football Club of Spain twice before moving to German giant, Bayer Munich Football Club after one year sabbatical period.
In his days in Barcelona, he won the La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League, Super Cup, World Club Cup, including individual award as FIFA Coach of the year, amongst others.
In Germany, he replaced Jupp Heynckes with the arrays of stars in the Bayer team which dominated the Bundesliga despite that Guardiola couldn’t get to the final of the UCL, let alone win it in his three years sojourn despite winning the Bundesliga title throughout his stint in Bayer.
However, Guardiola won the UEFA Super Cup for Bayer after he defeated Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, when Manuel Neuer saved Romelu Lukaku’s penalty. Guardiola inherited a Bayer team that won the UCL a year before he took over the team. Guardiola went ahead to win the FIFA World Club Cup as representative of European Champions League, defeating Raja Casablanca of Morocco in the final.
Meanwhile, he made several attempt to win the UCL, all to no avail. Bayer was eliminated in the semi-final to Real Madrid by 0-5 on aggregate in 2013/14. Bayer lost the first leg by 0-1 and the 2nd leg by 0-4.
In 2014/15, Bayer was stopped by Guardiola’s former club, Barcelona in the semi-final, they were defeated 3-0 and in 2015/16, the team crash out again at the semi-final stage, losing to Spanish Atletico Madrid.
Guardiola was engaged by Manchester City in 2016/17, replacing Manuel Pelegrini. In his first season, he was eliminated in the round of 16 by French’s Monaco FC on an away goal rule after a 6-6 aggregate draw. That same year, Guardiola did not win any trophy.
Before the last UCL final against Chelsea, the farthest Manchester City have gone was the semi-final when they were stopped by Tottenham Hotspur in 2018/19 season by 4-4 aggregate while in 2019/20 they were eliminated by Lyon of France in a single elimination quarter-final by 3-1.
Meanwhile, some critics believe that Guardiola might not be able to win the UCL again, after his past attempts with top club like Bayer with the arrays of star. The surprising thing is that the team Guardiola couldn’t win the UCL with, later won the trophy four years after he left.
Some claimed that as long as Barcelona and Argentine Lionel Messi is not in his team, it will be difficult for him to win the UCL again. How true is this? But what could be responsible for Guardiola’s inability to win the UCL again even when he managed to get to his first final since leaving Barcelona and with his array of stars in Manchester City against an under-rated Chelsea team. Could it be his tactics or he is losing it? The question is, can Pep ever win the UCL again, only time will tell.