Describing the man Pep Guardiola and what he has achieved in the world of soccer – both as a player and as a gaffer – would be an uphill task to anyone as one would always wonder which detail to include and which to leave out. Since coming into the game, Pep, as he is fondly called, has revolutionized that way soccer is being played.
His high pressing, possession-based style of play popularly referred to as “tiki-taka” has proven successful for him and his teams and also to all who have applied the tactic. It has also been embraced by soccer enthusiasts as the way forward in the game of soccer. But soccer is not all there is is to know about this former midfield maestro. Read on to learn more.
Pep Guardiola’s Bio, Age
Guardiola was born Josep Guardiola Sala in Santpedor, Spain. The mercurial manager was born on January 18, 1971, to his parents – Valentí Guardiola and Dolors Sala. His father, Valentí worked as a bricklayer until he retired at the age of 66 while his mother was a homemaker. Guardiola was the third of the four children born in the family. He has two older sisters – Francesca and Olga Guardiola – and a younger brother, Pere Guardiola. Pere is a professional football agent and is known as one of the best hands in the business around the world today.
Pep Guardiola’s educational history is not known and facts about his early years are equally scarce, however, it is known that his sojourn in soccer began at a very tender age. (more on this will be discussed later). He is of Spanish descent and holds the Spanish nationality.
Soccer Career – As a Player
Guardiola played the best part of his soccer career at Spain’s La Liga side, FC Barcelona as a defensive midfielder. He began as a ball boy before he transited to becoming a professional soccer player. He joined the youth of Barcelona (popularly called the La Masia) at the age of 13 under the tutelage of Johan Cruyff and in six years, his dedication and industry would see him move up to the senior side in 1990.
The trophies started coming soon enough as he helped the team win the Spanish La Liga four times in a succession (from 1991 to 1994 while adding the Euro Cup in 1992 and reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 1994). That Barcelona team as managed by the legendary Dutch, Johan Cruyff was dubbed “The Dream Team”.
On a personal level, he earned a call-up to the Spain national team and was named the best under 21 soccer player at that time by a renowned Italian sports magazine, and won the Bravo Award. He won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics with the Spanish national soccer team. Injuries blighted his fortunes as he marshaled the Barcelona team midfield which led to his decision to leave FC Barcelona in 2001 at the age of 30 after helping the team win 16 trophies.
His fortunes in Italy with Serie A sides, Brescia and Roma after 71 games was mixed as a combination of injuries, poor form, and ingestion of banned substances meant that he would retire from playing soccer in 2006 after stints in Qatar and Mexico.
Upon hanging his playing boots. Pep Guardiola set his sights towards coaching having been appointed head coach of the FC Barcelona B team. This was the unraveling of who would turn out to be the best manager in the modern game of soccer. After just one year with the B team, he was handed the reins of the senior team in 2008, which included the likes of Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Xavi, etc.
Even though he lost his first La Liga match, FC Barcelona would go on to win the title that season in style – with a run of 20 matches unbeaten, including winning his first EL Classico match – a 6-2 drubbing of arch-rivals, Real Madrid. That season saw FC Barcelona win the Champions League, Copa Del Rey, and La Liga, completing a treble.
This was just the beginning of a trophy-laden coaching career for Pep Guardiola. His team retained the league title the next two seasons, including a UCL trophy in 2011 (his second as a coach and second against Manchester United, with the first coming in a 2-0 victory in 2009). He left Barcelona at the end of the 2011/12 season as the most successful coach in the club’s history after a haul of 14 major trophies in 4 years. He also left them with a brand of soccer (tiki-taka) that would endear them to soccer lovers all over the world.
Some of his record as coach of Barcelona includes being the first coach to lead a Spanish side to a treble, amazing the best points tally after a single season in La Liga and major leagues in Europe at the time (99 points). He also became the youngest coach to win the UEFA Champions League in 2009 and was named FIFA Coach of the Year in 2012, among others.
He moved to Bayern Munich on a 3-year contract in 2013 after a long break from soccer and its related activities. At Bayern, his success story continued as he won his first trophy – the 2013 UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea FC, who was coached at the time by his former LaLiga rival, Jose Mourinho. He followed that by winning the Bundesliga in the three seasons he spent in Germany and the DFB-Pokal twice.
His next destination was England with Manchester City and he went trophyless for the first time in his career as a manager in his first season there. The 2017/18 season would see a change in fortune as he won the English Premier League title and the Carabao Cup, smashing an array of records as they left every other team in their wake. He finished the season with a 100 points tally, eclipsing the previous record he held at Barcelona.
Salary and Net Worth
Following his EPL triumph with Manchester City of England, the club offered Pep Guardiola a contract that has easily made the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich gaffer currently the best-paid manager in the world. The Spaniard signed a new three-year contract which will see him remain in the club till 2021. The contract is reported to be worth around £60 million which will see him jump the pile to rank as the highest paid coach in world soccer. His current net worth is estimated at $41.8 million.
Family, Kids, Wife (Cristina Serra)
Pep Guardiola married his longtime girlfriend, Cristina Serra in 2014. He met his wife when he was just a teenager (about 18 years old). At that time, he was a male model for Spanish designer, Antonio Miro and they met in her family’s clothing store, and from there, their friendship endured as it blossomed into a relationship.
He tied the nuptial knots with his sweetheart while he was in Germany with Bayern Munich in May 2014. They had a quiet wedding ceremony which was attended by close friends and family in the municipality of Matadepera, a town close to Barcelona. They have been blessed with three children: Maria, Màrius, and Valentina Guardiola.