Adeu, Pep Guardiola! Moltes gracies per tot! UPDATE

Remember this guy?
Now he's THIS guy. In four years.

BREAKING: New coach is Tito Vilanova!

Pep Guardiola’s coaching career with FC Barcelona began in 2007, when he was announced as coach of the B team. He grabbed that team by the scruff of the neck, led it to a championship and promotion. When Joan Laporta subsequently announced, a year later, that he was to be coach of the first team, there was a lot of reaction, most of it bewildered.

He was to helm a club that had gone silverless for two seasons under its beloved coach Frank Rijkaard, and what the hell could some guy who was just running the B team do?

Only win every trophy that the club contested that season, 6 of them, the vaunted Treble (Copa del Reig, La Liga and Champions League) and an award from doctors, as jaws had to be re-set from hitting the floor.

That man, that great coach who is Blaugrana and cule to his core, announced today that he is leaving the club at which he started as a ballboy, for very simple reasons of fatigue and loss of the enthusiasm necessary to give as much as he does for the team that he loves.

We all knew that this day would come, because Guardiola himself warned us that it would. In thinking of Guardiola’s tenure, I recall the first time I had gelato at this little place just off La Rambla, called Patagonia. It was a double-dip of chocolate and vanilla. It was so good, I began taking smaller bites, to delay the onset of the bottom of that cup coming up. So it was with Guardiola, who told us all, time and again that he wasn’t a coach for the long-term.

From the onset, his contracts were structured as one-year deals, so that he could follow his famous “feeling.” He always said that only he would know when it was time to leave, but that when he chose to leave, it would be for the good of the club.

Now is that time.

We can leave whether he is correct about his decision for another post, another time. For now, this is the time, and the place, to say “Thank you” to the coach who has made our beloved club the stuff of legend, who fashioned the team that we so adore into something that generations will speak about with reverence. Because unlike great clubs that did everything except win silver, Guardiola’s Barca won silver, but it did more than that.

He came in and jettisoned Deco and the great Ronaldinho, and people questioned the moves, but he knew. He also wanted to sell Samuel Eto’o, who convinced him that he could be part of the program, so Eto’o stayed. Then he took players who were jaded, a damaged locker room, and in the span of a pre-season, fashioned that mess into a Blaugrana fist, one that pressed, passed, ran, defended by attacking and brought concepts of total football into bright, shining life. In 2009, facing a Manchester United side with suspensions and injured players, a United side that boasted the great Wrongaldo, Guardiola’s Barca grabbed an early smash-and-grab goal against the run of play, then proceeded to play the style that the world now knows as tika-taka, until the littlest giant, Lionel Messi, headed home for an insurmountable lead.

“Sure, that was this year, but let’s see next year.” The next year, he did it again, winning the Liga, and being stopped in Champions League only by a freakin’ volcano, in a hotly contested Champions League semi-final tie against Inter Milan and Jose Mourinho, one that cules will say was unjustly ajudicated in both legs, but still, there is only the result.

He began to integrate B team talents into the first team, with the likes of Pedro Rodriguez and Sergi Busquets, who many now consider one of the best DMs in the world. He brought up Thiago Alcantara, Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello, and has more talent waiting in the wings, talent all reared in a system that values more than physical ability — intelligence, calmness with the ball, vision and further, foresight. In a favorite quote, Guardiola said that “The key is that these are the best players in the world. Without this, there are no coaches who can perform miracles, less so, me.”

But in the argument that many have offered, that anybody could with with Lionel Messi, that isn’t entirely true. Rijkaard had a ton of world-class talent, but lost that buy-in that you need from players to make them believe. But more than money, players want victories. And after two trophyless seasons, Guardiola took over a team that wanted to win. His timing was, then as now, perfect.

Later, when Jose Mourinho vaulted from Inter Milan to the Evil Empire, and people said “Heh, now there’s a REAL coach in La Liga. It’s go time.” And Guardiola did it again, laying a legendary, now-iconic manita on Barca’s most hated rival, and winning the La Liga and Champions League titles, losing the Copa del Reig in a memorable, and memorably violent final match.

And then came this season, his fourth, a season studded with injuries both minor and catastrophic, medical issues that threatened Eric Abidal and his faithful assistant Tito Vilanova, conspiracy theories and pretty much everything that you could shake a stick at. This season was, for me, his best coaching job because he took a tired, damaged side and fashioned it into something remarkable: a club that, in spite of everything that was going on, was only a few goals away from doing it all again. Ultimately, the fatigue, the injuries were too much to overcome, but it was the spirit and fire instilled in this club by this man, that enabled the group of players we enjoy watching so much, to come so close to beating the odds.

Now, the day that Guardiola warned us would come, is here. His “feeling” tells him that it is time to step down as head coach of FC Barcelona, for a much-needed sabbatical from the game. The real reasons that he stepped down are his own, so I will not speculate on them. But what I will say as a cule and a proud, proud socio, is thank you, Pep Guardiola. Thank you for the wins, the joy, the tears of joy and sadness, the amazing way that you took a group of coddled millionaires and made them into a family. It was only a family that would go to war for each other like that, in the way that they picked each other up, a new person working magic when someone else couldn’t. Thank you for reminding us again how beautiful football can be, played by players whose genius was fully unleashed by a system that wasn’t created by you, but that you utilized, tinkered with and adapted to their individual skill sets.

Thank you for the way that you brought beauty to the game, as an aesthete but also a radical who messed with established notions, who ran press conferences like a boss, who put up with so much until finally it was enough and you lashed out at the coach who became your nemesis, putting the verbal smack down in a glorious (and almost certainly calculated) way that energized your charges — they responded by putting the smack down on the pitch.

As with the way that this season ended, cules can’t be sad about your decision, because you always have to respect the decisions of people who are in full control of their personal lives. And from each and every ending is a new beginning. But also, it’s the joy that you brought to us all with your band of swashbuckling midgets. So for all that, for every last bit of that ….

Moltes gracies, Pep Guardiola!.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. footballfan
    April 27, 2012

    What does the press conference say?

  2. K_legit in Oz
    April 27, 2012

    Wait, Tito will take over as coach?

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

      Tito—didn’t see that coming. Hope his health isn’t affected.

  3. AJ_10
    April 27, 2012

    My second comment on BFB and I was Hlebbed.
    Anyway, Thank you Pep for four glorious years of beautiful football and trophies. May Barcelona and you continue to succeed.
    Gracies Pep!!

  4. barca96
    April 27, 2012

    i thought tito was going to quit but he is taking over?

  5. K_legit in Oz
    April 27, 2012

    Wait, so Pep is not even staying till the end of the season?

      • barca96
        April 27, 2012

        If I was there I would ask Pep if he is leaving this way cause what happenrd the past week

    • Ryan
      April 27, 2012

      That’s what it looks like. It was Tito who mentioned that they still had games to play and a strong Athletic to deal with before the end of the season.

      • mega_tajh
        April 27, 2012

        And to clear up any confusion, Pep Guardiola will continue until the end of the remaining season, with Vilanova taking over at the beginning of the 2012-13 term.


  6. providence
    April 27, 2012

    thank you Guardiola,i love you!!!

  7. providence
    April 27, 2012

    … who did you leave to punish EE and Hitler for us?

  8. Gogah
    April 27, 2012

    goodbye pep, and i can’t thank you enough for the spectacle.
    maybe it’s a good thing you’re leaving. I can finally move on from this obsession.
    Tito is the best guy to succeed. It makes the bad news much more bearable. He definitely has the skills, knowledge and tactical nous, whether he has the charisma to demand the respect from the players remains to be seen.
    A sad sad day for all cules.

  9. providence
    April 27, 2012

    guess tito and bielsa will do!! plus room ideas from pep, but hope he goes national teams not club sides. PEP OOOOOOOOH,OK such is life so Thank you!!!

  10. DontPanic
    April 27, 2012

    Thanks Pep.

    I imagined Tito might take over after Pep, but that was before he was diagnosed with cancer. But now? Not sure if that is good for his health. I’m surprised.

  11. barca96
    April 27, 2012

    If I was there I would ask Pep if he is leaving this way cause of the losses past week

  12. blitzen
    April 27, 2012

    Gutted, grateful, and relieved all at once.

    Thank you for everything, Pep. I hope you come back someday.

    Tito Vilanova – perfect choice. The team is in good hands.


  13. mega_tajh
    April 27, 2012

    Man with Tito becoming the coach, I feel sorry for his eyes….Being directly closer to Mou and all..

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      Maybe all we BFB’ers should chip in and buy him a pair of ski goggles to wear during the clasicos. 😀

  14. nzm
    April 27, 2012

    This is a great outcome with Tito taking over. It’s the best solution in case Pep decides he wants to come back for the following season. It means that no other big-name coach will be asked to step aside, and I doubt that any big coach would take a year-to-year contract.

    So sad that Pep is leaving, but you can see the relief in his face. He’s smiling like a huge load has been lifted off him. Time to get a life, Pep!

    Very much looking forward to seeing the continuity with Tito.

    Visca Barça i visca Catalunya.

    • Messiah10
      April 27, 2012

      Pep is the greatest coach in FCB history. What a career. As a player and coach! He can come back anytime he wants and he’ll be welcomed back with open arms. However, I don’t see him coming back in a years time. My guess is that he’ll want a new challenge. He is so intelligent, cultured, and sophisticated that he will want the challenge of coaching another league in another country. Most likey, the EPL. He loves the EPL and has stated this before. I could see him taking over for SAF in a years time or becoming the assitant for a year or two before SAF retires. It would be a great fit for him. Chelsea don’t deserve him. To small of a club. I thought Tito would take over but I wonder whether he can demand the respect from the players as a head coach. Don’t get me wrong, they respect him, but as an assitant. If the assitant role is anything close to it is in the states, then their primary role is to help the coach tactically and mentor the players as a friend or father like figure. It’s been hard for coaches in the states to move from assitant to head coach in the same team because the job requires a totally different approach and the players have to adjust to the realtionship changing. Most assistants move to another club to become the head coach. Just a thought.

  15. psqd
    April 27, 2012

    The king is dead! Long live the king!

  16. April 27, 2012

    Thank you to Pep for everything he’s given us. Spectacular football and a beautiful team we’ll always remember.

    And now with Tito, he’s ensured that this era isn’t ending, but entering a new phase.

    Gracies Pep.

  17. mega_tajh
    April 27, 2012

    The Question now is who will become Tito’s assistant?

  18. K_legit in Oz
    April 27, 2012

    From my fb newsfeed:

    “Dear Jose Mourinho, I hope you remember when you poked in a man’s eye about a year ago and later in the press conference you said, “I don’t know who Pito Vilanova is”. Well, that man now has the job you were rejected for.”

  19. nzm
    April 27, 2012

    Last fall, Pep announced to the board that he intended to leave at the end of this season. So they’ve known for a while.

    • blitzen
      April 27, 2012

      The players didn’t. They kept saying they were sure he would renew. I feel so bad for them. In one week they have lost the league, the CL, and the coach they love.

      • elacule
        April 27, 2012

        that’s what gets under my skin, too. that’s a lot for them to go through all at once, after already giving so much and feeling like he would stay with them.

      • nzm
        April 27, 2012

        That’s why I said that he announced it to the board.

        But at least the players have the continuity with Tito – someone they already know well.

        You can bet that Pep will keep in contact with Tito – it’s in his blood. He won’t be able to keep away. He’ll form a Cruyff-like liaison with Tito.

        • Messiah10
          April 27, 2012

          I think Pep announced this right now to motivate the boys for the CDR final. They’ll want to send him out on a high. I can’t wait for the final now. It will be amazing!

  20. barcelunya
    April 27, 2012

    Thank you Pep for your unparalleled contribution to football these past for years.

    It’s only natural for him to take this break after four years of non-stop exertion. The culé in me is sad and a little distraught but the human being has the compassion to understand why he’s doing this. I think about his young children and almost want him to take time off.

    Man of pure class. és i será (hope that’s Catalan!)

  21. mom4
    April 27, 2012

    Tito’s appointment makes this a much easier pill to swallow.
    Tactically we’re in good hands. Guess we get to find out how strong Tito is to deal with the rest of the non-technical crap that aged Pep so quickly.

    Barcastuff says the players didn’t even know it would be Tito but heard it at the presser for the first time.

  22. mega_tajh
    April 27, 2012

    Also we get to see Tito in a suit!!!! (hopefully)

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

      Maybe he’ll be one of those track suit coaches.

  23. Laurentiu88
    April 27, 2012

    so..what do we know about Tito?

  24. K_legit in Oz
    April 27, 2012

    wow i am very excited for this…but i am sad for Pep leaving…damn so many conflicting emotions!!

  25. Helge
    April 27, 2012

    Nobody saw that replacement coming, right? (at least not the press)

    I wonder why… it’s actually the most obvious choice. I like it a lot!
    Probably everybody though Tito would not work without Pep.

    Moltes Gracies, Pep, for giving us the best years of our life 🙂

  26. elacule
    April 27, 2012

    as the presser goes on, he looks younger and happier every few moments. his color is even getting better.

    his smile talking about Leo and Abi and Keita glowed.

  27. K_legit in Oz
    April 27, 2012

    Oscar Garcia as the assistant?

  28. mega_tajh
    April 27, 2012

    My only concern is that I hope the pressure in being the boss does not get to Tito since he was always the assistant before. He may need a while to adjust but I’m interested in seeing him in this new light.

    We hardly know much about him and his personality, is he assertive to point as Pep or will he carry his quiet demeanor we know him now into as the coach.

    Barcastuff: Messi, who is not at the press conference, is affected by Guardiola’s exit. He already talked with the coach personally.

    Know many tears were shed….

  29. K_legit in Oz
    April 27, 2012

    I hope the board has faith in Tito and perseveres with him even if we don’t get off to the best start next season..

  30. Helge
    April 27, 2012

    by the way, never said it before, but I really love the name TITO VILANOVA, sounds sooo cool ! 🙂

    Also, with Tita as our new head coach, the door for a possible return of Pep in one or two years will always be open. I bet he would gladly work with Pep in as soon as Pep feels good enough again.
    The so-called candidates in the press, Blanc, AVB, even Bielsa – they would not have accepted a one-year-deal, as a sort of placeholder for Pep.
    Ok, maybe Pep does not want to return ever again, but Tito’s appointment leaves the door open for him, more than any other appointment would have done!

  31. Gogah
    April 27, 2012

    As the saying goes:


  32. Helge
    April 27, 2012

    damn, I cannot access the stream 🙁

  33. I didn’t think I could possibly be happy any time soon for a while, let alone tonight. But then just like any great sports movie, always with the dramatic flourish. Turning our tears into smiles with a grand shocking surprise straight out of left field. What a remarkable man. How does he even do it? Pep has become so much a symbol- of Barcelona, of Catalonia, of idealism and honor and humility and principle, of choosing the right over the easy, of being his own man in a world where you could be cynical about the intentions and motivations of everything else- you’d think it was impossible for a man to live up to that every day, every moment. But even as you leave you do it with proper narrative.

    Just when we’re depressed that you’re going be gone, worried the next manager might break with continuity and the system, scared Rosell and the board might interfere and hire a bad choice, you go announcing Tito as successor so it’s almost like you’re not even gone. Just a phone call away and remaining in spirit. It’s better than any fiction could ever be.

    Well I guess what this means is that the very specific culture starting from the Pep era will remain in the club. The youth teams all playing the same formations and styles, the best young players getting to play in an age group above their bracket to be challenged, the B team getting a mix of older veterans to stay in a high division so the youth get more competitive football, the culture of intense fitness and training (note the fruits eaten even post-game and the constant training of technique), the tailored and technological routines for individual players like Messi and the emphasis on discipline, the very tight emphasis on conservative possession and rabid pressing. Maybe Pep will come back someday, maybe we will keep on having managers from the same school like Tito Vilanova and Luis Enrique and the like.

    It seems we will be keeping our faith with this culture and an even more defined identity, the way we have stuck with a general Cruyff template since the Dream Team era. Which is only a good thing. Deviating from identity hasn’t done us well since the Dream Team era, and the success of this era seems to have validated various specific aspects enough to become an identity-template for Barcelona from now on the way that the success of the Cruyff era validated specific aspects from then (youth, passing, possession, etc) to remain keystones until this date. Which can only be a good thing. If, for example, discipline and pressing and constant running become part of ‘Barca play’ as permanently as passing, possession and flair became in that era. Or if the setup of youth teams continue in this model (aiming to mix with experienced players and stay in high competitive divisions) as an institutional policy, not merely a coach-mandated thing. That’s only a good thing for us. Pep has left us with a wonderful legacy. Not only trophies, beauty, love and memories, a sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves. But he’s even left the club in a great situation to go ahead in the future.

    • Messiah10
      April 27, 2012


      Thanks for eloquently saying what I felt. Amazing how all of us feel a part of something so much bigger than any 1 individual or team.

  34. nzm
    April 27, 2012

    Pep’s record:

    Games: 242
    Wins: 175
    Draws: 46
    Losses 21


    • mega_tajh
      April 27, 2012

      and it doesn’t even seem like 21 losses, I rarely remember them.

  35. mega_tajh
    April 27, 2012

    Well from what I’m reading on Tito, it seems he has extensive knowledge about the youth players and was key in the who and when to promote.

  36. BarcaRoja
    April 27, 2012

    Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…

    Thank you Pep! Welcome and good luck Tito!

  37. lovelymofo
    April 27, 2012

    For me, this blog and group of commenters is all tangled up with Pep. I started reading the Offside Barça page right when Pep was appointed coach. I remember everyone’s doubts, that first loss in Liga, and how it all turned to wonder and that rallying cry of “In Pep We Trust.” Very sad he’s leaving, but can be nothing but grateful for what he’s achieved with this group of players. Incalculable.

    Best of all luck to Tito Vilanova! Look forward to his continued work at the club.


  38. mega_tajh
    April 27, 2012

    I wonder if Pep, in a year or so can help Messi out with his NT before WC 2014, then come back to us after making Messi a WC Champion.

    Dream scenario right?

  39. nzm
    April 27, 2012

    Man – what a 21st birthday for Isaac Cuenca to remember.

    • keith
      April 27, 2012

      well, its the day you’re supposed to grow up and become a man; maybe a perfect way.

      • Messiah10
        April 27, 2012


        Really? Who told you that? If so, I missed the boat. I’m 33 and still waiting! lol

  40. April 27, 2012

    Thanks for the wonderful memories over the last four years. You will be dearly missed. The ideal coach, the ideal man.

    Thanks Pep.

  41. Srini
    April 27, 2012

    Pep goes (perhaps only for a while) but he assures that continuity remains. I accept his decision.. it is just the context which hurts.. the losses in the Liga and the UCL make it difficult to understand and accept it entirely. If he had done that if say we won the UCL again, who would have complained about this sabbatical and handing over reins to his joined-in-the-hip assistant? Not me, surely.

    I suppose it is all dialectical.

    • April 27, 2012

      Perhaps you’re right, but I’m going to really miss his wise, wise words. Never puts a word wrong, there’s so much you can learn from this man and his example, and apply it to your own life.

      I sincerely hope he writes a book or commentates or something. Raul’s spot on: Football needs Pep.

    • messi_fan
      April 27, 2012

      Based on what I’ve read it seems like he made his decision a while ago (October last year).

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

      Yes, the thought that persists with me is that this could have been handled better. But, we are dealing with humans and emotions and perhaps it could not have been.

  42. April 27, 2012

    I went from tears to a grin in the time it took RoSELL to announce Tito Vilanova. It explains the meeting between he and Vilanova even beFORE his final meeting with RoSRLL. I didn’t see it coming. Nobody did. But it’s the perfect solution, because Vilanova is the perfect choice, and it was almost certainly engineered by Guardiola.

    And don’t kid yourselves: the players knew before anyone else. Don’t believe Tweets and quotes. Absolutely nothing that we know about Guardiola would lead us to believe that he would tell the board and NOT tell his players first.

    His Keita quotes were spectacular.

    I am really happy for Guardiola. He has done so much, then gave us the gift of continuity. Recall how things were without Vilanova. He does more than we realize.

    But I’m most happy because G is leaving on his own terms. That is what he deserves.

    • Helge
      April 27, 2012

      Could you translate this part of the presser?

      @barcastuff quoted single sentences, but I would like to know the whole story (not complete presser, only the part that changed your tears into a grin).

      I also had tears at the beginning of it, although I barely understood anything.

      • barca96
        April 27, 2012

        Guardiola: “Keita has been my ethical and moral barometer. I watched him to see if I was doing a good or bad job.”

        Seriously what is up betweeen these 2 grown men? 😆

        • Messiah10
          April 27, 2012

          Makes me hope Rosell and Tito think twice before selling Keita. If Pep thinks that much of him than I dare say Tito does too. I doubt Tito will give Rosell the green light. You never know though.

    • Messiah10
      April 27, 2012


      What didn’t you see coming? Pep leaving or Tito becoming head coach?

      • Messiah10
        April 27, 2012

        For me it was a no brainer. Tito was the obvious choice for Rosell. Politcally, he puts to rest the pressure he’d have been under to pick THE replacement for Pep. Let’s face it. The replacement for Pep who was not in-house would have been facing an absurd amount of pressure to fullfill Pep’s legacy. To keep with the “Mes Que Un Club”, tiki-taki, high pressing, possession oriented philosphy. To maintain winning silverware as if it’s expected. Now that Tito is coach, the continuity stays and if it doesn’t work out in a year or 2 Rosell can replace Tito with his own coach. Rosell is the ulitmate politician. No doubt about it.

  43. mega_tajh
    April 27, 2012

    So lets have a BFB wager.. How long will it take Tito to lose his full head of hair?

    • Messiah10
      April 27, 2012

      HAHAHA. LMAO. Nice one mega_tajh!

  44. April 27, 2012

    There will definitely be a number of tribute videos coming out over the next few days (if they don’t, it will be a travesty) – but I wanted to remind everyone of Pep’s brilliant, brilliant acceptance speech last year. He said it all here. What an absolute inspiration. Life is all about those moments when you feel that amazing joy.

    And right now, while I’m crushed, I’m thinking back to all the good times with immense gratitude – thinking of the banquillo, of the sense of impending doom too many times in 07-08 as the team passed and passed and never got anything done and gave up stupid goals, and then thinking of the brilliant joy that was the 6-2 and so many more wins. Supposedly small games like the 3-2 vs Osasuna in January 2009 that proved that this was a dramatically different team.

    Anyway, if you haven’t watched this, people, please do. Subtitles in English available.

  45. keith
    April 27, 2012

    tito already has an eyeful of motivation to beat EE!! can’t say in honesty that I’m fully confident but its going to be an incredibly exciting 2012/13! if cuenca and tello mature and bring us some real danger on the wings…

    gracies pep! visca barca!

  46. barca96
    April 27, 2012

    Rosell, please build a statue for Pep.

    Im sure he won’t pull a Jordan on us

  47. mom4
    April 27, 2012

    So Pep leaves to spend some quality time away from football with his family, friends, and what is left of his hair follicles.

    We are left with a newly promoted assistant coach whom we all love, trust tactically, yet know nothing about whether he has the steel to deal with the pressure of the big chair.

    On other sites primarily, I saw the name Tito bantered about by the fans. Silly people I thought, Tito is not on any of the press’s lists. Presumably he works with Pep and follows Pep. Besides he has been sick for so much of this year and the stress of the job would be dangerous. Silly me. So my mind hasn’t even had time to wrap itself around this possibility.

    As such, I have that warm-fuzzy feeling of comfort with the whole familiarity and continuity of it all along with a vague uneasiness.

    Wonder if Pep will phone Shrek for advice about hair replacement although I think he looks great either way.

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      I think that we can count ourselves lucky that Pep isn’t off to another team, because I believe that Tito would most likely have gone with him.

      • blitzen
        April 27, 2012

        Exactly! That’s why I never thought of Tito as his replacement because I assumed he would go where Pep went…like Ruth & Naomi.

        But if Pep is taking a year or two or who knows how long off, then Tito is the perfect choice!

  48. just listenin
    April 27, 2012

    Thanks Pep! What can one say?…

    If you really want to take the measure of a man, they say look at his friends and those that surround him. The outpouring speaks for itself. You would be hard pressed to find as emotional and truly meaningful parting as this, these ripple effects are rare… it speaks volumes for the man.

    How could you be more proud of the club you support? If you ever wondered what “Mes que un Club” meant – days like this should clear it up.

    Thanks Mister for the joyous ride, and for setting the stage for the next one. Don’t unfasten those seat belts yet folks… welcome Tito. How can you not love this club?

  49. Manish
    April 27, 2012

    I cried today.. it will be so strange not to see Pep in the sidelines.. urging our team forward.. Thank you so much Pep.. I’ll miss you.. 🙁

  50. April 27, 2012

    Thank you so much Pep. You deserve all the praise that I’m sure Ray Hudson will heap on you during his next broadcast. I’ll save my joy over Tito Vilanova’s selection for later, because right now all I can do is think of everything Pep did and sit here in awe. So grateful right now.

  51. mom4
    April 27, 2012

    Honestly, between renewing Abi despite knowing what he was up against and promoting Tito, I begin to question if my distrust of our board and president could maybe be just a teeny bit unfair.

    • Mila
      April 27, 2012

      2 words, mom4:


      I understand all the financial troubles etc., but the shirt was sacred. They sold it.

      • Messiah10
        April 27, 2012

        I didn’t want to see anything on the Blaugrana either except maybe UNICEF. However, it would’ve been changed by another president because the financial clout it provides is 2nd to none except Manchester United. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Rosell. I may be more cynical about this, but it’s an obvious choice for Rosell. Tito gives him the backing of the club. By club, I mean Cules and Soci’s. If it doesn’t work out he can blame Pep for it and then bring in his own man. I’m not trying to sound like I had it all figured out. It just makes sense politcally for Rosell. For me it makes since w/continuity and philosphy

  52. Momo
    April 27, 2012

    An absolute legend of a man for Barca, completely changed the way the game is played. His passion for the club was something to behold…

    Thank you for every thing Pep Guardiola

  53. April 27, 2012

    Thank you Pep for everything, a great leader and example for everyone to follow in the way he carried himself. Best of luck to him.

  54. Rittick_cule
    April 27, 2012

    Just want to thank Pep for what he did for our beloved club. Also so proud of the way he conducted himself. I was in tears when the video “Gracies pep” was being shown. Spare a thought for the players who have followed his vision blindly for the past 4 years. When the new team was unveiled in 2008 he said to all the culés to fasten their seat belts and get ready for a ride or something on these lines and hasn’t it been one hell of a ride!!! Thanx for everything Pep, Hope you come back one day!! Visca el Barça

    • Rittick_cule
      April 27, 2012

      And i must add that i am really happy for Tito, this announcement eased my pain to some extent.. wish him best of luck!!! It was probably the best decision as he knows the players, system and the philosophy!!!

  55. April 27, 2012

    Till the last second I was like”Pep will renew,Pep will renew”.Was devasted when it became official that Pep will not be continuing.Tears trickled down.But when Zubi announced that Tito will be the next coach,I was overjoyed.AS I said on twitter,everyone would be diiging for info on Tito.In Tito we trust

    It has been a rollercoaster ride all these 4 yrs as Pep has promised in his first presser.Pep is a perfectioneist.The best coach a club can have.I recall an incident where I was chatting with a cousin of mine after our CL win last season.I’m afraid that he’s more of bandwagonner.Says he’s a fan of the team and does’nt even know Puyol!!.I asked about who Barca’s coach was and he responded that he does’nt think a coach is responsible for a team’s victory!.He said he did’nt care what Pep does and then says he’s a big fan of Barca?.I was infurited and started slamming him.Poor guy,I did’nt even give him a chance to defend himself.He literlly said that Pep is in no way responsible for the team’s success.As I cannot break ties with him,from then on I stopped discussing football with him.

    Coming back,there are many historic moments to chose from this Pep Era.My favourite is his infamous rant aganist Mou last season before the S/F against RM.Surely,who COULD EVER forget that?

    Thank you Pep for everything.The joy of football you’ve given the fans.I don’t there’s anyone who can be as perfectionist as Pep.We’d miss him a lot.And goodluck to Tito.(sorry if I have any typos.It is just so emotional and I have’nt got proper words to describe Pep).

    Visca el Barca!.In Pep we trust.In tito we trust.In players we trust!!!

    • Helge
      April 27, 2012

      My favourite is the UCL final 09 in Rome. The whole location, the inspirational video, the opening ceremony with Andrea Bocelli… This song ‘Now we are free’ has become the most emotional song for me, associated with all the pictures from the final 09.

      • April 27, 2012

        Yeah,Rome final was also the best.And Pep breaking into tears after our first CWC win.Gosh,there are many more.It’s hard to choose from.

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

      Awwwww Blitz, didja hafta go and do that. Holding it together just fine until… 🙁

      • mom4
        April 27, 2012

        I think we could dig up a few volunteers for that.

  56. BarcaOwl
    April 27, 2012

    Sniff. Anyone got a box of Kleenex to spare? There’s something in my eye.

      • BarcaOwl
        April 27, 2012

        Heh, thanks for making me laugh, blitzen. I needed that. As for Mou’s finger, I’d rather have a white-hot poker in my eye than that.

        Happy that there’s some form of continuity, but sad that Pep’s leaving. But I can’t deny that he’s earned a break from the stress many times over.

    • Messiah10
      April 27, 2012

      Thanks Kxevin. That was AWESOME! My favorite part is the overhead shot of him being thrown up in the air by the team. Very cool. The look on his face is priceless. I’ll miss him a lot. Was getting emotional watching that video. What an Amazing 4 years! Just amazing.

  57. tutomate
    April 27, 2012

    I’m incredibly sad today, wanted to find solace among my BFB friends if that makes any sense. Anyway I love Pep and I hope one day he decides to return to football in some executive capacity at FCB. Untill then,
    Adeu Pep, ets el millor.

    • Messiah10
      April 27, 2012

      That was fantastic. Love how he just comes out and says we’re crazy! No holding back. The translation was excellent as well. Wish there was more for the many articles and video’s I miss.

  58. Barcaleya
    April 27, 2012

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Pep!!!!

    Not enough words to thank you for all the happiness you have given us in four years. You deserve the break and we know that you will still be guiding the team and that you will do your best to keep the team where it is right now.

    **I am sooo very sad, tears are falling at work in front of my officemates….but I’m happy it’s Tito taking his place**

  59. Salia
    April 27, 2012

    We as cules should feel honoured to have had Pep representing this club as player, captain and our most sucessful manager in these incredibly quick 4 years. And now we should embrace every last touch, pass, dribble and word of the Guardiola Era. It feels as just yesterday that Guardiola was preparing us for the ride, boy what a ride it has been. The amount of admiration our club has won over these 4 years has been unbelievable. I mean if you told me that we would be playing like this in the awful last season of Rijkaards then Id tell you to go back to sleep. This era, this manager, these players they are all unrepeatable. We should now support these players as best as we can, even though it hasnt been the best of weeks for the club for our standards, but one that determines the bandwagoners and the cules and without these sort of weeks we would never know who is a cule. The only thing we can do now is wish Pep the best of luck in his pesronal life and the rest of his managerial career, whether that is at Barca or anywhere else. This is the least we owe him after the football we have been lucky enough to witness.

    Watching Real Madrid against Bayern the other night just made me even more proud of the philosophy, Pep but above all, the club. The only thing which reduced my tears a little bit after coming back from school and hearing Guillem Balague on talksport was the fact that Tito Vilanova is our new coach. Personally I always wanted someone from inside the club and someone who the players are familiar with.

    In about Five games time, which include the cup final so that Pep can leave on high, looking foward to the Vilanova Era

  60. messifan
    April 27, 2012

    Thank you, Pep! A man of principle and class. Best of luck with your new endeavors.

    Visca Barca!!!

  61. blitzen
    April 27, 2012

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    Gracies, Pep.

  62. sd
    April 27, 2012

    This was something that had the potential to destroy this team but Pep turned it around on its head. Pep will never be replaced and will become a Cruyffiesque figure without the controversies for Barcelona. I hope to see him return as president one day.

    We should look to the future now and I think Tito is a great choice. Tito being named coach was the best thing that could have happened. It ensures continuity in more ways than one – style, players, youth team integration. This can still get better though. Barca needs to keep its most intelligent players and staff in the system. Oscar Garcia is looking for a challenge outside of the youth team and I believe he should join the first team coaching team as an assistant to Tito Vilanova. It will allow him to get more experience, learn new things as well as bring new ideas to the table without him having to leave us. It will also groom him to potentially take over one day from Tito in accordance with FCB’s philosophies from promoting from within as best as they can.

  63. I don’t know what else to say. Like the lyric of the song that club has chosen for his farewell video (Coldplay – Fix You).
    “tears stream down your face and I…” 😥

    Thank you so much, Pep Guardiola. For all the lessons, joy, laugh, happiness you have brought to our life.
    I will miss you so so much. Hopefully you’ll come to Barça games at Camp Nou so I can see your face again, my beloved coach.
    We love you so much.

    I’m happy the board made a quick decision and choose Tito Vilanova. Yes, they still suck for putting a QF logo on our shirt, but apparently Rosell’s board is not as bad as I thought. 😛

  64. sd
    April 27, 2012

    I really hope Tito gets everything he asks for from the board. I hope he has as much power as Pep does and won’t be denied control over sporting matters. To be fair as controversial; Cruyff, shirt sponsorship, as this board and Sandro may have been they have been excellent when it comes to sporting matters; Cesc’s price, Afellay, Sanchez’s price, not involving themselves too much with sporting matters and leaving things to Zubi and Pep. I hope they will do the same with Tito.

  65. msayoufi
    April 27, 2012

    I have been a Culé for 26 years and i have never been prouder of being one like i am now. Guardiola gave so much and we can’t ask for anymore. He needs a break. He has a family and a life and it is time for him to take care of himself and his family. I am not sure why some question his motives, but i can understand that it is human nature to want more: more trophies, more wins and more GLORY! But, let’s stop being selfish for a moment and take the man for his word. He is simply tired. Let’s unite around Tito and give him a chance, just like we gave it to Pep. I have no doubt that he will be a great coach, but let’s not forget that he is Tito and not Pep. Let’s not try to compare and let’s just accept his decisions and style.

    Thank you Pep! VISCA BARCA!

    • April 27, 2012

      I can’t even begin to describe how much of an impact Barca has had on my life. And it’s all been engineered by this guy. And today he’s leaving. But he’s leaving behind his legacy.

  66. elacule
    April 27, 2012

    i’m sure you all have seen this, but worth watching some again –

    it was made last year around the time of the CL final.

    “Seduits per en Pep”

    part 1:

    part 2:

    part 3:

    there are parts of it that i watched over and over last summer.

    he is such an inspiration to people around him, the players, sure, but so many others. i feel such a mix of things – thankful i got to find out before it was over, but sad that i became aware of him well into his incredible run. i will miss him so. as i’ve been so sick, and watched my friends’ lives kind of continue on without me, i have felt such a lot of inspiration and joy in witnessing his grace and style and humanity. so thankful. so deeply, incredibly thankful.

    it makes me cringe and eventually get really angry when i read nasty comments about him – how can people not get it? anyway. just thought you might like to be reminded of this film.

    thanks for being out there all you BFB culés. it helps a lot to read your words, and know that i’m not the only one so moved by this moment.

    visca el barça!

    • elacule
      April 27, 2012

      p.s. – i really wanted it to be that Pep would stay one more season, and then step down. i really respect him, though the timing and intensity of this moment feels potentially hard on the players in a way that might have been handled differently. but what do i know?

      it seems like Mourinho’s relentless nastiness played into Pep’s exhaustion. there is being a rival, and then there is being a nasty, lying, manipulative, eye-poking scumbag who encourages great players to lose their sportsmanship and become ugly. i wish it hadn’t turned out this way, but, well, this is the story unfolding.

      • April 27, 2012

        I’m sure there has been a more apt description of Mourinho and his approach, but not that I have read recently:

        there is being a rival, and then there is being a nasty, lying, manipulative, eye-poking scumbag who encourages great players to lose their sportsmanship and become ugly.

        But I don’t believe that Mourinho had anything to do with it. I think it was just the cumulative effect of everything. He always claimed that it would be about this long. I think that even had those few goals that separated this club from Liga and Champions League ambition gone in, he still would have left. Recall that his decision was made before any outcomes were evident.

        A man just gets tired. We see, cheer, are proud of the beauty. But the work behind that beauty, I can only imagine.

        But a coach also senses when it’s psychologically time to leave, when he feels the players won’t be as responsive to his style of management. In our own way, we are wound every bit as tightly as Mourinho winds his players, just in a different way. You could see many of the stress fissures this season.

        • kinukinu
          April 27, 2012

          Remembering how unhappy and unhealthy Pep looked during Clasicopalooza, I’m certain that a lot of irreparable damage was done. But even if the clasicos hadn’t elevated the tension to such levels, Pep would have stayed for, at most, one more season. A year from now we’d be having the same conversations. It was just time.

  67. rocherto
    April 27, 2012

    First off I must say that I am a some what new supporter compared to many cules. I got into this game during the 06 world cup. After that I. Chose barca as my team because of the values and character of this club. Something that I could easily identify with. I am now fully invested in this and feel myself to be a cule even though I have never been to Catalonia. I love you all and enjoy all the emotions good and bad we have shared over the years.

    Kxevin great post well said I think you covered it all for me.

    I remember when Frank Rijkard was dismissed and along came this well dressed youth coach. I was like ooookaaaay. Then he gets rid of deco, ronaldinho? Whaaaaaaaat? Not so sure about this guy. As we all know the rest of the story so I won’t ramble.

    What a great ride. It is all about the journey not the destination.

    That being said. The journey continues. Strike that the ADVENTURE continues. We are an ever changing team. We adapt and overcome. We are barca “more than a club”

    Thank you Pep for everything. I where my barca Jersey with pride. I wish you all the happiness you deserve. You have left us in good hands. And we will continue this experiment with a true friend and leader.

    From the bottom of my soul

    BARCA BARCA BARCA!!!!!!!!!

  68. Dani_el
    April 27, 2012

    Nothing will ever be the same. I used to watch Barcelona matches with my brother in TVE in the Dream Team era. It was interesting from time to time to see what they were up to since 2004. But I became a fan in 2008 after the Atleti match. I have never seen so much efectivity in such a beautiful way of playing, posession, attack, pressing. Thanks to Pep and this team I started to like football again. They gave us a lot of joys. I feel we will remember this in decades to come.

    So Tito it is. I hope he does well to our club. It represents continuity, as Pep says the decision-making came from those two, but it is heartbreaking to see Xavi’s face. Someday I hope he will get the chance to be in Pep’s shoes.

    I hope Tito chooses Oscar García from Juvenil A as his second in command, I would really like to see that couple.

    • Problem
      April 27, 2012

      Anybody cares to translate? I have a feeling Google doesn’t capture the entire meaning…

      • April 27, 2012

        Guardiola wants to recapture that magical feeling that he got from taking over the first team after winning promotion with Barca B, when anything was possible. But along the way he lost it, so he’s leaving.

  69. Blau-Grenade
    April 27, 2012

    Sad day that Pep is leaving. Look forward to having him back after his break. Hope he continues to be involved with the club in some way.

  70. Kimcelona
    April 27, 2012

    I am pretty late but I just came in from a lecture. I was anxious last night but I was already preparing myself but all that preparation went out the window when I read the news.

    I feel like I lost my puppy. Its probably embarrassing for a grown lady to be crying over football but thats how much Pep and the team he molded has touched me and had me invested. Its trange because when Rijkaard lwas let go I didnt shed one tear. I was sad to see him go but I was awaiting new beginnings. Now, not so much..

    BUT I do feel a little better knowing that the team will be taken over by someone who knows just as much about the club and was Pep’s right hand man.

  71. Kimcelona
    April 27, 2012

    I also forgot to say, Gracies Pep! With lots of love..

  72. April 27, 2012

    Today was a day we all knew was coming but none of wanted to see arrive.

    It’s so rare that the inevitable is the conclusion of a path in life that has produced so much joy.

    It’s hard. Hard to imagine the club without this honorable man leading it on the pitch. It’s hard to imagine. But I think he’d expect us to just that.

    Gracies Pep.

  73. Roz
    April 27, 2012

    So if we win the Copa and EE take La Liga, is El Classico in the Spanish Super Cup Tito’s first official game?

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      Well…it would be….if he hadn’t been banned for one Supa Copa game for slapping Mou in retaliation.

      Holy Moly – who’s gonna coach Barca for the first clasico if they win the CdR and have to play RM in the Supa Copa?


  74. kinukinu
    April 27, 2012

    The more I think about it, the more I believe this was the right time for Pep to leave. It’s likely that Pep would have led Barca to a comeback season if he had stayed. But if he didn’t, there would be the danger that 2 losing seasons in a row would quickly erase his glorious achievements in the minds of many. Instead, his dignified departure has all but erased any perception of failure this season and he goes out on his terms.

    • elacule
      April 27, 2012

      i think you’re probably correct.

      it is clear he made the decision long before last week, even though many people will question the timing of announcing it so quickly on the heels of letting go of 1 and very probably the 2nd trophy. I wonder why they didn’t wait until just before the CDR, and talk with the players before hand, to prepare them so they’d know there would be continuity and all. dunno.

  75. TITO
    April 27, 2012

    “I promise you that we’ll work hard. I don’t know if we’ll win, but we will try very hard. Fasten your seat belts, you are going to enjoy the ride” – Pep Guardiola (2008)

    I haven’t felt so sad and happy in the same time since Oleguer left us.

  76. TITO
    April 27, 2012

    Actually, Tito will probably sit out the first game of the season 🙂 cause of that Special Five incident. Or am i wrong?

    • kinukinu
      April 27, 2012

      You are right-he will serve a 1-match ban in the next supercopa that he participates in. Wonder if that gets reset since he’s in a different position?

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      Yes – just responded to Roz above with the same thought!

    • hansh
      April 27, 2012

      So, why are we calling Mourinho Special five now? Seems like I missed this one.

      • TITO
        April 27, 2012

        He called himself Special One, but i started call him Special Five since the manita. I dont know if someone else call him like that.

  77. Jafri
    April 27, 2012

    Goodbye Pep… 🙁

    See you in a year or two?

    … Wish he’d left after a trophy or two more… The Liga, the CL, would have been perfect parting gifts for all he gave the team.


    • mega_tajh
      April 27, 2012

      But wouldn’t it be nice that the last trophy he can win this season with us is also the one that started it all? The CDR will be on hella of a party if we win it. It is also the only trophy he has only won once while with us. Everything he has won are in doubles.

  78. olbucky
    April 27, 2012

    What’s your favorite Pep moment?

    Mine was when he won the first Club World Cup and started crying and Thierry Henry came over and hugged him. It was as if he just embraced what the whole first year of winning those 6 trophy’s really meant. How historic it really was. GREAT MOMENT IN THESE AMAZING FOUR YEARS!

    • April 27, 2012

      This is mine, as well. Never before or since have we seen such raw emotion from him. It wasn’t the trophy itself, even though it was certainly a hell of a match. It was the way that the trophy was won, and what it signified. It also showed that he wanted EVERY trophy that he could get a shot at, that they all Mattered.

      • Same. I cried so much seeing him cry then. In hindsight it was the moment Pep went from being just coach of the club I loved to a hero I loved for himself as well.

        • ‘As well’ makes it seem like I didn’t before. I mean in a way that is different even from the players. Pep was a personal hero for the past four years. Probably the single most influential one in my life at that.

  79. April 27, 2012

    This has been a hell of a day for me. It started with something that I pretty much knew was coming actually arriving, then the elation that came with the news that Tito Vilanova was going to assume the reins, with all that implies (which is much, I think. He fancies running even more than Guardiola.) And last but not least, my other love (though nowhere as deep), Montpellier, qualified for Champions League.

    Gah, wouldn’t it just break my heart if Barca was in a group with them!

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      Amazing re Montpellier. Belhanda had a terrific game.

      They’ll most likely get Real Madrid. It will be the year for the French teams to meet Madrid, and we’ll get Arsenal and some Russian/Ukranian/Scandinavian combination. 🙂

      • April 27, 2012

        Adding to the goodness, the MHSC shop FINALLY ships worldwide, so I can get my Montpellier shirts fix, which in a veeeerrry small way makes up for my not buying any Barca shirts now and for the foreseeable future.

  80. Ray Hudson
    April 27, 2012

    From Julius Ceasar….

    Here was a Caesar! When comes such another?

    First Citizen

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

      His life was gentle, and the elements
      So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
      And say to all the world, ‘This was a man!’

  81. dean
    April 27, 2012

    Guardiola: “Keita has been my ethical and moral barometer. I watched him to see if I was doing a good or bad job.”

    Anyone has a clue what he means?

    Man it’s hard coming to terms with him leaving…

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      It means that Keita had more than one Keitee-face. 😀

      It means that Keita was not shy to show Guardiola how Pep was performing, either by his expressions or his actions. Keita was Pep’s job appraisal man.

        • blitzen
          April 27, 2012

          You like Keita, don’t you Kxevin? Come on, today of all days you can admit liking a player. 🙂

          • April 27, 2012

            My stance hasn’t changed on players. ANY players. But you knew that, wisenheimer.

          • mom4
            April 27, 2012

            I went from tears to a grin in the time it took RoSELL to announce Tito Vilanova.

            He cares. Players come and go, coaches come and go, but the club…
            The club is made up of people and he cares.

            Your allowed to love, Kevin. Always remember that.

          • nzm
            April 27, 2012

            I think that we need to meet in Chicago, give Kevin a group hug, and teach him to love. 😀

          • April 27, 2012

            It made me happy to know that my club was going to be in good hands with Vilanova. Potentially better ones than Guardiola’s, for this next phase of the club.

    • Blau-Grenade
      April 27, 2012

      Keita has been able to put in exceptional performances, and yet, sometimes his play has not been suited for the game plan. It is always the coach’s job to get the best out of players, and I can see why Pep used Keita’s performances as a barometer for his own job performance.

  82. hammeronmessi
    April 27, 2012

    one my acquaintances make this analogy.

    in the streets of Cairo Indiana Jones is facing a bandit who has a whip in his hands.the bandit is showboating with the whip.indie has no time for this.he pull out his gun shot the bandit and pour water in all the excitement.

    unlike indie the hero, football romantics always pray for a whipping man who can generate excitement with their passion and new ideas.PEP G was the whipping bandit who break all the norms,but unlike the bandit in the indie film he was the hero who executed all his moves with the deadly accuracy.

    adios PEP,i have nothing but admiration,respect and gratitude for you

  83. Laurentiu88
    April 27, 2012

    thanks Pep for all these amazing years. I got to see some football. I got to see some team.

    great comments… it helps getting through this together with this community. each time when i realize what has happen today i feel like I lost a true love… heartbreaking. most of us were like Messi today… too weak for this.

    oh and some irony. it seems that maybe Barca will officially loose the championship at home at our next game. still, it may be that our stadium will sing louder than ever. 🙂 being a barca fan is the greatest thing there is……

    Pep! Pep! Pep!

  84. messifan
    April 27, 2012

    Now, I’m curious to see how Tito will use Cesc. I got the impression that Cesc’s transfer was heavily influenced by Tito’s input. At the beginning of the season, Pep made a comment about how Tito told him that when Cesc was a kid, he liked to run from midfield to score goals.

    And I read a comment somewhere about how Tito, who coached Messi briefly as a kid, was surprised to see him scored fewer goals during Rijkaard’s time. Thus Messi’s position has been gradually changed. I’m guessing his role will continue to evolve next season.

  85. ciaran
    April 27, 2012

    I’m interested in seeing what direction Tito will look to take us.
    I mean, he would have to have a similar philosophy to Pep but has to have different ideas tactically.
    Will he continue the experiment with 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 or will he stick to what he was brought up with – the 4-3-3?
    Will he be strong enough to force rest on Messi?
    Will he trust the young players as much or more perhaps?
    What will he look for in the transfer market?

    I’m looking forward to seeing what he wants from the summer and I’m glad that he has a pre-season in Europe.

    A little part of me did want Bielsa for the basque connection, I love Llorente and Javi Martinez, but pumped for Tito.

  86. blitzen
    April 27, 2012

    In the long-term I see Pep coming back to club. Maybe not as coach. I really think that in a couple of years they should offer him the position of Director of Youth Development. All the youth team coaches would report to him, and he would have final say over training styles, schedules, acquisitions & promotions. He would work closely with the first team coach over who the best prospects for promotion are.

    I think it would be a perfect fit for him. Eventually.

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      Or challenge Rosell in the next election… teehee!!! 😀

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      It will be impossible to find a finer testimony to Pep than this of Graham Hunter’s.

      Thanks for the link, blitzen – it has me choked up too.

  87. TITO
    April 27, 2012

    Some comments are over the line, at least for me. It’s not like he is dead or something. He is just taking some time off, and he will be back, i’m more than sure on this.
    I remember his last days as a player in our shirt when things weren’t going good for him, and the crowd somehow started to lose patience. He was just losing the ball over and over again, and than came that game, i can’t remember against who it was, BUT, he lost the ball in the middle of the pitch, similar to Messi, which led to a goal from the opponent. Than the crowd started to whistle at him, and he was just standing there, helpless, knowing that his time has come to step down as our player. And he did.
    Than came Italy and all that bullshit around him which later was proved to be false accusation. It was clear to me that he was only trying to spend some more time of his life playing football, and that’s it, he was not enjoying it. Than came Qatar, and in the end he returned to his home, like he never left.
    It took some, but he did returned. And did what he did. That’s why i’m confident that he will come back, in a year, two, three at most, but he’ll return.
    I know he brought us something that we will never forget, but i will just try to notice the importance of the project started from Rijkaard and than followed by Pep. The core of this team was made by Rijkaard, don’t forget that. To me at least, the joy that Pep brought is equal to the joy that Ronnie brought, the revolution inside the club and finally, to get out of that misery that was following us for so many seasons, like a curse.
    I just wish that Ronnie of 2005-2006 was part of this team along with Eto’o and Messi in this form as our front three.
    It still remains a question for me what is the best thing that happened to Barca(this millennium) – Ronnie, Messi or Pep, or all of them.
    We all had our doubts when Pep took over in 2008, let’s see what Tito of 2012 will do.

  88. hansh
    April 27, 2012

    So… where does Pep go from here? Will he again be coaching at Barca in a few years? Will he have a different job with the club? Will he leave the world of football for good? Will he coach somewhere else?

  89. April 27, 2012

    At RMFB, we get a bunch of Barca supporters who post (more than you would imagine). We also have a RM supporter that likes to post in poem form. To cut a short story even shorter, a Barca supporter asked for a poem and they wrote a small one. It was a fun to read, so i thought i would share:

    I won them all
    Step by step
    I showed the world
    Who was pep

    tiki taka
    My son and daughter
    tiki taka ..
    Its me and no other

    I will miss you all
    But look no further
    Messi will roll
    For I made them stronger

    Farewell for now
    Cant stay any longer
    In my mind you are
    In my heart forever

    We won them all
    Step by step
    We showed the world
    Who was pep
    I am pep

    Enter tito
    Exit pep

    [By nomz]

    Best of luck to Tito, Adios Pep!

    • April 27, 2012

      This is making it very hard for me to hate you guys now. This makes me very happy, and has me grinning from ear to ear. 😀

      This and Sergio Ramos’s miss.. :mrgreen:

      • April 27, 2012

        AWESOME! A massive thank you to the writer. As I always say, “Hate the club, but respect the fans, who are all in the same boat.”

    • Blau-Grenade
      April 27, 2012

      Hey Bassam, thanks for sharing. That is a great poem. Like Kxevin said, we may be supporting different clubs, but in the end we are all fans, and we are very similar.

    • blitzen
      April 27, 2012

      This is very cool. Thanks to you and the author.

    • Chiu
      April 27, 2012

      Brilliant poem from a Madridista. Appreciate it!

    • April 28, 2012

      Yes Nomz frequently regales us with his wordsmithery. Good of him to write a poem for Pep. Just goes to show that we can, no we must, be able to respect individuals from our archrivals’ clubs.

  90. April 27, 2012

    It’s funny, with this change all of a sudden I feel that Barcelona is once again the underdog. The rebel alliance, if you will, instead of the all conquering Empire.

    It’s been a tough week, but somehow it just feels… right.

  91. My Madridista friends are also really struggling with the idea that Raul decided a week ago to not renew at Schalke and move on outside of Europe at the end of the season. And Del Piero is leaving Juventus, and Scholes finally stepping down (again) at United.

    From Sid Lowe’s article on the Chelsea second leg:

    Something strange happened in the dying moments of the semi-final. Fernando Torres had just scored the goal that ended Barcelona’s hopes of reaching the European Cup final, his eighth in 11 matches against the Catalans. But no one left and no one whistled; no one stayed silent. Instead, the chant went up. Soon it was going round right the stadium: Ser del Barça és el millor que hi ha! Being Barça fans is the best thing there is!

    Not so very long ago, that would have been unthinkable. There was sadness here, but no depression: the pessimism and self-destructive streak that has damaged Barcelona over their history was absent. There was little anger from supporters; instead, gratitude for what this team has achieved and what it might still achieve. What it represents.

    And I’d seen that sentiment represented all over the internet even long before we lost the league and CL, some weeks ago. Ed Alvarez had mentioned, I think, that Messi would never get a standing ovation at the Bernabeu the way Ronaldinho did because of what he represented. A Madrid fan in the comments responded to the querulous Barca fans by saying that yes, Madrid fans never would- because Messi and this era represented Barcelona finally stepping out of a victim mentality and inferiority complex of sorts (paraphrasing his language) and becoming the Great Team of Spain in a way that they had never really become in identity even during the Dream Team era and the Ronaldinho era. Dominating so massively and so relentlessly for so long that it made a collective generation of Cules shed the most self-destructive parts of their stereotypical pessimism and victim mentality, almost forgot (the emotional weight of) the times of being second-best- and all with such joy and beauty, holding on to such principles and high ground, that the trademark flightiness (not opposite of loyalty- many fan bases are extremely loyal but also flighty) and insecurity was gone. People were reveling in the joy and thankful.

    Eras in club histories do throw on to the self-identity of fans. I think Ed or Phil once wrote about how the stereotypical Madrid fan in the 90s and their self-identity was completely different from that during and after the first Galactico era of money, Zidane and co. I think it was an article about Raul leaving Madrid and how for many of the older fans Raul from his days debuting was the last remaining symbol of the 90s Madrid senorio and identity. If for once we’ve grown comfortable with the mantle of winning and always been shown an example of grace, gratitude, appreciation and perspective when losing, for this many years- and four years is a long time, for someone like me who just started college that feels almost like a lifetime- then that’s as great a legacy as the many other legacies he’s leaving us. (And there are many, imo- the memories and love of course; the trophies and a team to be telling your grandchildren about; a way of doing things about the club; hopefully a culture of coaches that will include Tito, maybe a return of Pep, maybe Enrique, maybe in some years Xavi; the way of doing things at youth level and in first team like I mentioned in the previous comment).

    • Blau-Grenade
      April 27, 2012

      There are no words for what happened in the stadium that night. Enough said!!!

  92. IamXavi6
    April 27, 2012

    Hi guys,

    I’ve been away from here for a while. Anyway, just wanted to say, I think this is a great move for all. Pep, to my knowledge, almost walked away after winning the CL in 2009. He’s right in saying that this position is probably the most scrutinised in world football (more than Madrid) – to me because you have to represent and play a certain way, as well as still win games.

    He owes us nothing. This club has been around for 112 years, and is bigger than any indivudual player or staff member. 4 years IS a long time – and I fully believe he’s 100% genuine, he’s worn out. I don’t believe it had anything to do with the losses (to me, so funny, english media, 2 losses in a week and suddently the club just becomes defunct.. lol) – he was going to go either way this seson – and who can blame him.

    Tito is the logical choice – he’s played at B level, coached all the kids, and has had significant input to this current playing group. It’s going to be a relatively seemless transition for the players AND the club. While I hoped Enrique would get the role, look for Tito’s new assistant to be a Koeman, Enrique, or similar. This club will promote within now for quite some time.

    Positives of this move:
    Bandwagon fans will drop off. Please, go, leave! cules stick together, real fans and people with common sense know that things come in cycles – did people think this would go on forever?!! lol – we may have some tough times ahead, but so did Madrid for the lsat 5 years! so do every big club, peaks and troughs people, peaks and troughs.
    – New start for the staff, a fresh face – and, in some ways, less pressure. Less pressure as people expect the club to drop away in this transition peroid…and even if they do, they will still have my support…always!

    I could keep going, I’ve supported this team for over 25 years – I’ve seen it all, from lowly periods to the glourious 1992 win, and then all the in between moments – Dinho, Deco, Kluivert, Pep playing, Hagi, etc etc – the figo pig throw, etc. Nothing makes me more prouder to announce I support this team and always will. Now, I do so, even more than ever.

    Thankyou Pep – thankyou Barca. And everyone here, thankyou – be so happy for what we’ve achieved…WORLD football domination for 4-5years, the envy of EVERY club, Madrid throwing 300+ million in trying to topple us! people hating us! oh, what a glorious run!

    And now, for the next chapter…I think opptimism and paitence is key. This is more than a club, it’s a way of life, and this should be celebrated and cherished.


  93. tiaali
    April 27, 2012

    Hear, hear to all!!

    I have been very sad these past couple of days, but today I feel at peace with this, not just because of the decision to leave Tito in charge (I honestly don’t know a lot about him, but if Pep says he can do the job then that’s all I really need to know), but also because I can empathize with Pep. I, too, have felt burned out, even by doing something that I longed and for which I worked for a long time and know how the negative starts outweighing the positive in an accelerated way until you can’t stand it anymore and all you want is out. That’s why I know that he has chosen to leave at the right time, while there’s still some love and passion left. He shall be missed because no one will replace Pep, no matter how good a coach Tito or anyone else is. Pep’s legacy of “idealism and honor and humility and principle”, as outerspacedout so eloquently put it, will stand forever.

    Thank you, Pep. Your team, with you as the Director, have created one of the most beautiful symphonies with which the world of football has regaled the rest of us mortals, and for that we can be nothing but grateful. As this season draws to a close, we now anxiously wait for what will surely be a Grand Finale, and you can be sure that each of us will be more alert and awake than ever to be able to savor every second of it. Will there be an encore? I don’t think even you have the answer. I hope you find what you are looking for in your time off, and recharge and find again that child’s passion you once had, and with that I have no doubt that your Magnus Opus is yet to come. I have a feeling this ending might only the beginning….

    Gracies per tot!!

    Fins ara, Pep!!

    Benvingut Tito!! Never forget…After Mozart, the universe gave us Beethoven.

    Visca el Barça!!!

  94. sd
    April 28, 2012

    This is how lucky we have been to have Guardiola coach our favourite team. What other coach in the world would generate such an amount of writing and tribute:

    Published 2 years ago but republished:

    It is amazing that a coach of any team could bring together a sporting entity by leaving so unanimously. I don’t think any coach has ever had such an impact on their sport in such a short time as Pep has.

  95. kinukinu
    April 28, 2012

    For the past few days, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that there was something so familiar to me about the emotions I was feeling during Pep’s recent dilemma of whether to stay or go. Somehow, I understood intrinsically why he had to go, but I didn’t know why.

    And then it hit me. Last fall, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life: to put my dog–my beloved companion of 14 years–to sleep. He was old, so I knew it was looming at some point in the near future, yet when the time came, I realized that no amount of realism and sanity could prepare me for what I would have to do.

    When you make the commitment to get a pet, you are committing to take on the care of another being for a finite amount of time. You are actively choosing to experience the joy and pain of loving a creature that will inevitably leave you too soon. And if you are lucky enough to have that creature in your life for a full lifespan, you must also accept that one day it may be up to you to decide when it is time to let them go.

    Anyone who has ever been through this knows that the hardest part is not coping with the sadness and loss, but rather the sheer weight of having to decide when is the right time to end the life of another.

    There’s no clear-cut answer, which is why it’s so difficult. Some people will wait until the animal is in so much pain that there is clearly no longer a quality of life. I chose to act before it got to that point. My boy, though old, was very spirited and energetic–even a week before he died, he was mistaken for a puppy. But he had a very fast-growing tumor that was ultimately going to suffocate him by causing fluid to build up in his chest. The vet had said that he had anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to live, depending on how fast the fluid built up.

    A day came when I decided to act on the first signs of slight difficulty breathing, even though he didn’t seem to be in pain just yet. When I took him to be put down, he was still happy, eating, wagging his tail, and looking in my eyes. But it was just a matter of time. It was incredibly difficult to say goodbye, because he didn’t *look* like he was dying. It was impossible to believe. But the fact is, he was. I knew that if I waited for him to suffer, it would only be for my own peace of mind. I decided I had no right to wait til it was painfully obvious (the pain being his) in order to make it easier on myself. So I decided to end his suffering shortly before it began.

    I couldn’t bear the thought that wanting to have him with me just a little while longer might lead to me waking up in the middle of the night to find my little boy terrified, gasping for air, not knowing what was happening to him. Trying to buy a few more minutes or hours, when I knew it was over, seemed pointless and selfish and cruel.

    So, as much as I wanted to stretch every last minute I could have with him, I realized the cost, for him, would be too high. I decided, instead, to let him go to a peaceful, beautiful sleep, with a wagging tail, a belly full of his favorite treats, and the dignity that he deserved.

    • dean
      April 28, 2012

      Wow absolutely beautiful post, dare I ask what your little guy’s name was?
      Pep has experimented, he has tinkered, he has philosophized and largely he has been successful until perhaps this season and mind you, I say that loosely. Through it all, he has ran himself ragged and as a perfectionist,he will not risk complacency and cannot accept stagnancy.

      At this level a sabbatical might be just what Pep needs to revitalize him, to kindle the excitement, that love for the moment which he alluded to in the video above where he accepts the Catalunian medal- the moment when he’s watching game-play of an upcoming team and then all of a sudden he understands their weaknesses, their strengths and his master-plan comes to together, he prepares his opening and the game begins. But after a while the politics, the pressure, the tension, you begin to lose grasp off why you began in the first place.

      I doubt he will ever return but if he does he will always be welcome and his legacy will always be remembered. What defined him best was that he challenged the status quo, he was a risk-taker, never afraid to do or say anything, he started his term by getting rid of big names, and gambling on Messi the false nine, in the transfer market he tried every tactic once, some were poor but Alves, masch, villa and many others were immensely successful. Yet his greatest contribution off the field, was his love for building from within, bringing the canteranos through, which ensured continuity as we have so much to look forward too, players who will stay with us because they know the coach will give them a chance. An incredibly brave man and yet the press and many others will question him, how his departure was coinciding with Mourinho’s EE rise to power, how he was a coward, leaving and protecting his legacy. However your experience showed me perhaps it was the bravest decision he’s made since coming to Barca

  96. Liathano
    April 28, 2012

    Was clapping and cheering and crying with the rest as I followed the presser yesterday. Still choking back tears every time I read another Pep Guardiola headline. How can one prepare for a farewell such as this. So unspeakably sad.

    Thank you Pep for 4 unforgettable years, the best football the best team I’ll see in my lifetime. Thank you Pep for Tito! Best wishes whatever you choose to do next. I know you’ll come back to Barca one day.

    ps: just saw this comment from a nonBarca fan, made me laugh.
    “Don’t worry Barca fans, Pep will be back, he is just going out into space to find Ramos’s ball!”

  97. April 28, 2012

    When Pep took over, I didn’t think he would have much success. Not because of him in particular (as I knew nothing about his coaching achievements or methods with Barca B), but because Madrid had just won two Ligas in a row and it looked like we were on the up. I thought Rijkaard’s departure signalled the end of the Barca era of domination, and that Pep wouldn’t win much. But what Pep has achieved since has been nothing short of incredible.

    Many people have said that Pep had the benefit of having Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and other players who had already developed fantastic chemistry playing under Rijkaard. This is true, but it doesn’t take anything away from Pep. A smart coach takes the team he’s been given and takes it to the next level. And that’s what Pep did. Yes of course he utilized the strengths that been put in place by Rijkaard. He would be stupid not to. But like I said, he really took this team to a whole new level.

    Pep has introduced and developed some fine players himself. If I’m correct he’s the one who brought Pique back from Man U and Pique went on to become the best defender in the world at one point. He’s not the best anymore in my view but he’s still an elite defender, and for that Pep must take credit. And what about Busquets. I cannot stand the sight of Busquets, indeed I have a very strong dislike for him, but wow he is a fantastic player, and he makes a very difficult role seem easy. Again Pep gets a lot of credit for this.

    Has he shown weakness as a coach? I believe so, particularly in the transfer market, as the Chygrinskiy and Ibra transfers showed. But he also made some fantastic signings. In my opinion Alexis is the best signing Pep made for Barca. He’s only getting started, but he is a gem of a player, a rare breed, and Pep spotted him as someone who would add something extra to an already brilliant Barca team.

    He deserves a sabbatical for sure. Coaching a team like Barca is extremely exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. The photos above show how Pep has changed since then. He looked boyish when he arrived just 4 years ago and now he looks like a decade older. That’s what this job will do to you. Even if you get unprecedented success.

    Fine decision to stay in-house and replace him with Villanova. How do you think Villanova will do? Is there anything you think he might change tactically? I guess it remains to be seen, but it will be interesting how Tito does.

  98. Barka
    April 28, 2012

    Thank you for everything, Pep. You will be missed.

  99. Helge
    April 28, 2012

    By the way, probably everybody knows the complete name of Pep (Josep Guardiola i Sala), but I have not read Tito’s whole name so far, so here it is:
    Francesc ‘Tito’ Vilanova i Bayó

    • Helge
      April 28, 2012

      Sixty-four-dollar question:
      Why is his nickname ‘Tito’? Why not Cesc Vilanova?

      • Chiu
        April 28, 2012

        I bet nzm or dani_el could answer this, hahaha

  100. K_legit in Oz
    April 28, 2012

    Barcelona have closed a deal with Valencia left back Jordi Alba for €13M. Transfer to be announced at end of season. (via gentevalencia)

    13 mill 😐

    • Helge
      April 28, 2012

      13m only? That’d be a great bargain!

      He’s only turned 23 two months ago. So he could play as a starter for 8 years –> 1.5m / year. And I believe in him, he has what it takes to be a long-term solution for our LB side.

    • Ryan
      April 28, 2012

      Yes, but we haven’t had as much defensive stability with 2 attacking, short fullbacks. The Abidal/Alves combo worked so well because they complemented, rather than mimicked each other’s strengths.

  101. Lou
    April 28, 2012

    My favourite Pep moment was his half run down the touchline at Stamford Bridge after Iniesta’s goal. (Luckily Sylvinho was there to chase after him and remind him that he’d better get back to his technical area and make some defensive substitutions pronto).

    You could see that for a moment he just forgot that he was a coach and wanted to go celebrate with the players. It reminds me of those pictures of a skinny ball boy, who couldn’t stop himself from celebrating with his heros after they had won a big game.

    One of the things I most admired about Pep is the absolute joy he took from football. This year there have been fewer smiles. It’s painful but in someways I’m glad he gets the chance to leave now, before he loses any more of that joy.

    Thank you Pep.

    • Helge
      April 28, 2012

      I really hope that the players give him plenty of reason to smile again in his (for now) last game, the CdR final (I’m sure I will cry at the end of the match, whatever happens). I also like Bilbao and Bielsa, but they shall win the EL and be proud of that 😉

  102. Laurentiu88
    April 28, 2012

    off the topic a bit, but recently there has been a debate, due to Barca-Chelsea game – on whether the English team ‘deserved’ to qualify, to win etc.

    I guess this is a debate at the heart of our philosophy and more. I find this a very intricate debate and have been thinking a lot about it lately.

    i wonder what thought some of you may have on this matter..

    • Salia
      April 28, 2012

      I personally believe that Chelsea didnt deserve to qualiy but that may be the cule in me speaking.

      Chelsea fans would say that if we couldnt beat ten men then we wouldnt deserve to go through which is a fair point, they would also say that for the amount of spirit they showed they deserved to go through.

      The cule in me would say that for a team that had 4 shots on target in the tie and took 3 of them wouldnt deserve to go through compared to our 40 odd shots.

      But it all depends on your point of view and also th team you support LOL

      • Laurentiu88
        April 28, 2012

        yes, that is the whole debate.

        Mourinho made a point that it also takes courage and effort and so on. to defend for 90 min.; that all this is a great feature. This makes sense. Football is not only attack and possession as music is not only classical or rock but also pop or other genre.

        This may make one wonder what is the essence of this sport? If it is about these strengths than Chelsea deserves their win.

        We can restate this problem by thinking if deciding the winner of a game by the no of goals is fair. For instance Barca can say that this rule is not fair to the spirit of the game.

        So the q. is what is the essence of this game? IS it just to test some of these virtues? or is it about something else? maybe football is more than just winning (scoring more goals)? if so, what else is there? What is the RIGHT way to approach the game? or as Bielsa said, how should one be the best?

        if we ask this can we argue that possession and attack is the RIGHT way?

        we can use the Rawlsian method, and ask ‘if we did not know anything particular about our situation – what team one supports, what qualities one has – what kind of football would one prefer?
        or maybe an Aristotelian approach and ask what is the purpose of this game? is it only winning (scoring more goals)?
        or a pragmatic approach, where winning is everything and the strategies are simple valued as their results. if one can defend for 180 minutes and score because the opponent attacks than there are all its merits.

        • Ryan
          April 28, 2012

          I honestly didn’t think I’d read about the veil of ignorance in a farewell post to Pep! 😆

          Barca and Spain NT fans have to watch their teams live and die by their adherence to an attacking style, but it sure does help when it leads to winning games sometimes. But I don’t know about saying we deserved to advance this time… chances weren’t taken and we had three moments of sloppiness where we were punished. Considering how we’ve beaten EE in the past few encounters with clinical finishes rather than dozens of chances, I’d say Chelsea deserved to go through (although it does feel like a “smash and grab”).

  103. yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
    April 28, 2012

    Thank you for everything Pep.
    Just to give us more hope for the upcoming years, Sacchi & Capello
    both achieved phenomenal success for Milan, so when Pep is gone its not over, Tito is very well placed to do big things.

  104. K_legit in Oz
    April 28, 2012

    Chelski signed Marko Marin for 8 mill..STEAL

    • Helge
      April 28, 2012

      No, Marin hasn’t done anything over the last 2 seasons. He has developed backwards. It’s a good deal for Bremen imo.
      And with his lack of physical presence, I believe it will be a very hard spell for Marin at Chelsea in the EPL. I predict he won’t play more than 900 minutes a season. They’ve got Mata on his position who is WAY better. I know Marin was once called the German Messi, but that’s looong ago.

      • nzm
        April 28, 2012

        Agreed. He was likened to Messi, but faded to Germany’s Bojan.

        Such a shame – I really used to enjoy watching him play.

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