Argentina legend and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi has revealed that Pep Guardiola did a ‘lot of harm’ to football during the manager’s time at Barcelona.
In a rare interview with Movistar Plus–a Spanish TV station–Messi stated that Guardiola’s football style became attractive because of the success Barcelona achieved in the four years of the Catalan coach.
The duo worked together at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, two Champions League titles and three La Liga titles. The Barca team under Pep and Messi was seen by many as the perfect example of a complete team. They dominated the Spanish La Liga and Europe for years, with a possession-based game named tiki-taka.
According to Messi, Pep’s methods ‘looked simple’, as a result, everyone tried to copy it and have centre-backs who played out from the back or full-backs who come into midfield.
Speaking to Movistar Plus via Sportsbible in a rare sit-down interview, Messi claimed: “Guardiola did a lot of harm to football. It (his football style) seemed so simple and easy that everyone wanted to copy his style.”
Interviewer Jorge Valdano replied: “Exactly, in every division too, even in the third division, central defenders were running forward.”
Messi then responded: “Yeah, later I found a lot of Guardiolas around. That’s when you realise what we accomplished.”
When asked if Pep Guardiola was the best coach he’s ever had, 35-year-old admitted: “No doubt about it, Guardiola is special, distinctively the way he sees every match, the preparation for it and how he communicates (the strategy) to us.”
The seven-time Balon d’Or winner will captain Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina side in Qatar with La Albiceleste on a sensational 35-match unbeaten run.
The current Coppa Italia holders are in Group C at the World Cup alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.
They will start their campaign against Saudi Arabia on November 22 before taking on Mexico on November 26. Their final group game will come against Poland on November 30.