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.

237 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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

      Kxevin,

      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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcenY7wR_W0

  5. 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!

  6. barca96
    April 27, 2012

    Rosell, please build a statue for Pep.

    Im sure he won’t pull a Jordan on us

  7. 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!

    • April 27, 2012

      Haha, nice one Blitz. Ruth and Naomi….

  8. 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?

  9. 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.. 🙁

  10. 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.

  11. 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:

      QATAR FOUNDATION

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

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

      That’s why I said teeny bit 🙂

    • 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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!!!

  15. 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.

  16. TITO
    April 27, 2012

    I’ll try to do my best. Thanks.

    • BarcaOwl
      April 27, 2012

      🙁

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

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

    • BarcaRoja
      April 27, 2012

      Xavi needs a group hug 🙁

    • mom4
      April 27, 2012

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

  17. BarcaOwl
    April 27, 2012

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

    • blitzen
      April 27, 2012

      Mou’s finger?

    • 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.

    • tutomate
      April 27, 2012

      Thanks.

    • BarcaRoja
      April 27, 2012

      *sigh* cried again 🙁

    • 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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**

  20. 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

  21. messifan
    April 27, 2012

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

    Visca Barca!!!

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. April 27, 2012

    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. 😛

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. April 27, 2012

    I don’t know what to say. Thank you Pep. For everything.

    • 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.

  28. 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: http://www.totalbarca.com/2011/interviews/video-seduits-per-en-pep/#more-82509

    part 2: http://www.totalbarca.com/2011/interviews/video-seduits-per-en-pep-part-2/

    part 3: http://www.totalbarca.com/2011/multimedia/video-seduits-per-en-pep-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.

  29. 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!!!!!!!!!

  30. 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.

    • Problem
      April 27, 2012

      Thanks. 🙂

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. Kimcelona
    April 27, 2012

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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?

      😀

    • sd
      April 27, 2012

      Xavi will. Xavi will.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    • hansh
      April 27, 2012

      Thanks!

  39. 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.

    Sigh.

    • 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.

  40. 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!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJtcb20qieQ

    • 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.

    • April 27, 2012

      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.

    • April 27, 2012

      ‘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.

  41. 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.

  42. Ray Hudson
    April 27, 2012

    From Julius Ceasar….

    ANTONY
    Here was a Caesar! When comes such another?

    First Citizen
    NEVER, NEVER!!!

    • tutomate
      April 27, 2012

      Shakespearean Tragedy indeed.

    • tutomate
      April 27, 2012

      Is Tito Marc Anthony?

    • 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!’

  43. 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.

    • April 27, 2012

      It also means that Keita is a good, good man.

    • nzm
      April 27, 2012

      Indisputably.

    • 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.
      Respectfully,
      🙂

    • blitzen
      April 27, 2012

      WHY WON’T YOU LOVE????? 😛

    • 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.

  44. 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

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