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5 footballers who supposedly dislike Pep Guardiola

Wednesday 6th December 2017

Josep Guardiola Sala is remembered as a creative, calm and composed central midfielder. Since entering into management with Barcelona in 2008, he has won a whopping 21 trophies. Throughout his remarkable managerial career, however, the Spaniard has had several strained relationships with players.

Here are five footballers who are probably not Guardiola's biggest fans. 

Yaya Toure

Players dream of working alongside Pep Guardiola. That dream became a reality for Yaya Toure. 

At 23, the Ivorian midfielder was emerging as one of the world's brightest prospects at Olympiacos, with several European giants interested in his services. After a horrendous spell at Monaco, a €10m transfer to Barcelona was finalized. Under Frank Rijkaard, Toure turned into the trusted defensive anchor behind Xavi and Deco. However, the situation changed dramatically when Guardiola took over.

After managing Barcelona's B side, Pep wanted to make his mark on the first team. He sold influential players such as Deco and Ronaldinho to make room for younger talent in Busquets and Pedro. Busquets' presence would prove Toure's downfall. The Spanish midfielder established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet in 2009-10. As a result, Toure's game-time suffered, playing less than 1500 minutes that campaign.

The Ivorian was aggravated, leading to a move away from the Nou Camp to join Manchester City. He quickly became an integral player for the Premier League side. History eventually repeated itself, however.

Toure was reunited with Guardiola at the Etihad. Seven years after his Barca demotion, Yaya was once again back on the bench. Following Pep's decision to neglect the midfielder from Man City's Champions League squad, Toure's agent stated that the Spanish coach had embarrassed his client by omitting him from first-team duties. Guardiola demanded an apology before allowing Toure back into his set up. Weeks later, the Ivorian presented a public apology on behalf of his agent. Unlucky, mate!

"Whenever I asked him something, he always gave strange answers," Toure told ONA FM. "He pretty much ignored me until City's offer came in. That's why I eventually opted to leave. I didn't speak to Guardiola for a year.

"If he had talked to me, I would have stayed at Barcelona. I did not want to go and wanted to end my career at Barcelona. However, he had no faith in me."

Samuel Eto'o

Was Samuel Eto'o good enough to play for a Guardiola side? Pep didn't think so. In his first media briefing at the Nou Camp, the Spaniard announced that Eto’o had no place on his team-sheet. The striker stayed that summer though. 

Eto'o went on to win two back-to-back trebles - one in Catalonia, another at Inter Milan - scoring 52 goals across the two campaigns.

Despite Guardiola winning La Liga and the Champions League in his first season as a top-flight coach, Eto'o feels he was treated unfairly by his former manager. 

"He shook hands with me when I was at Inter and I played against Barca, but this was just for the cameras and TV. Behind the scenes before the match, he did not greet me." the Cameroonian casted the entire seen after 2010 CL final.

Joe Hart

Although an integral part of Man City's first ever Premier League title-winning side, Joe Hart featuring for the Citizens is now a distant memory - much like his ability to keep a clean sheet.

During his time at the Etihad, Hart won four Golden Gloves and was also named the Premier League's best goalkeeper in 2012. As soon as Guardiola arrived at City, however, Hart's position as undisputed number one was immediately under threat.

Claudio Bravo, one of the world's most expensive keepers, joined City, leaving Hart free to link up with Torino on loan. The following summer, instead of giving the England international a second chance, Guardiola signed Ederson for a whopping £35 million. Hart then had to settle for a loan deal at West Ham. He has since proclaimed that his treatment under Pep was unfair.

"I'm not going to second guess why he wanted to get rid of me. The only thing that came of it is that I need to leave. Why he did it or what the intentions were I don't really care because it makes no difference to me, it makes no difference to my life.

"It would be a lie to say I didn't want to spend my whole time at Man City, I would happily played for them for the rest of my career and not played abroad, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down."


The centre-half was fortunate enough to join Bayern Munich in time for Heynckes' treble-winning season. He established a mean defensive partnership with Jerome Boateng, conceding only 15 league goals when the Brazilain was on the pitch. Munich broke records that campaign for fewest goals conceded in a Bundesliga season and most clean sheets. Dante was the heart of the defence. 

Unfortunately, in his first game under Guardiola, the centre-back scored an own goal after a miss-communication with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Consecutive errors forced Pep to sign Mehdi Benatia as a quick replacement. Dante was later sold to Wolfsburg for an undisclosed fee.

“He doesn’t speak to you so as a player you don’t know where you stand.

“There are coaches who are world-class from a tactical point of view, but who aren’t good on a human level and this is the case with Guardiola.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic's war of words with Guardiola has grabbed the headlines all over the continent. It all started during their time together with Blaugrana. Barca signed Zlatan from Inter for £59m, with legendary striker Samuel Eto'o going the other way. It proved a bad move by Guardiola, reminding of the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Ibrahimovic was shifted out wide, as Lionel Messi drifted into the middle to claim the false nine position. Guardiola preferred the Argentine over Zlatan. Messi had more pace, agility and could drift past opponents in a split second. Ibrahimovic's ego wouldn't accept it.

The now Manchester United striker claimed that Guardiola had bought a Ferrari and treated it like a Fiat. He also called him a coward, saying he had no balls. 

Harsh Vardhan

A pilot in the making residing in India, Harsh is also an ardent follower of European football and his heart resides in Manchester, particularly the blues. He has deep passion for writing, with special admiration for combined-elevens, while also contributing to the sports column of a local daily.

Total articles: 67

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