Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola (Josep Guardiola)
Real name:
Josep Guardiola Sala
Birth date:
(53 y.o.)
Place of birth:
Santpedor, Spain
5'11 ft ()
165 lb (75 kg)
Birth Sign:
Chinese zodiac:

Biography of Josep Guardiola

Even adversaries consistently regarded Pep Guardiola as a thoughtful and principled athlete, while admirers hailed him as one of the finest midfielders of his generation. However, injuries, which plagued him throughout his career, prevented Guardiola from realizing his full potential.

Upon becoming a coach in the mid-2000s, he began his tenure at his beloved Barcelona, where he had once achieved his most significant triumphs on the pitch. In his debut season, 2008/2009, Pep steered the team to a treble, securing victories in the domestic cup, league championship, and the Champions League. In subsequent seasons, replicating this monumental feat proved elusive, prompting him to move to Bayern Munich in 2012. However, the team's inconsistent performances fueled rumors questioning the Catalan's competence.
Esteemed Coach Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola
Esteemed Coach Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola
In 2016, Guardiola transitioned to Manchester City, promising the club's supporters an enthralling style of play. Under his guidance, the team effortlessly clinched top spots in domestic competitions, but the Champions League remained elusive. By 2020, whispers about Guardiola's curse and imminent resignation grew louder, especially since he seldom remained at other clubs beyond four seasons.

Yet, the determined Spaniard once again forged his own path: not only did he renew his contract twice, but he also led Manchester City to a coveted "golden hat-trick" by summer 2023, securing his second career treble with a Champions League victory.

Early Years

Josep Guardiola Sala was born on January 18, 1971, in the Spanish municipality of Santpedor, situated within Catalonia. He grew up with two elder sisters and later welcomed a younger brother to the family, Pere. Josep's mother was a homemaker, while his father worked as a bricklayer.
Pep Guardiola in Childhood
Pep Guardiola in Childhood
From an early age, Guardiola harbored a passion for football. "I can't recall when I started playing, but as far back as I can remember, I've always had a ball at my side," he reminisced later. Recognizing their son's budding interest, his parents enrolled him in the local club, Gimnàstic de Manresa.
Josep Guardiola in His Youth
Josep Guardiola in His Youth
It was in 1984 that agents from Barcelona spotted young Pep. Although the lanky teenager didn't make a striking first impression during the selection, he was nonetheless admitted to the club's esteemed youth academy, La Masia.


Guardiola first stepped onto the pitch in 1990 during a match against Cádiz. It was then that coach Johan Cruyff decided to transition Josep from his position on the right midfield flank, establishing him as a central midfielder. By the 1991/92 season, the young player truly began to shine. The team secured victory in the European Cup, and some Italian publications hailed Pep as the best youth player in the world.
Josep Guardiola in 1992
Josep Guardiola in 1992
Furthermore, in 1992, he made his debut for the Spanish national team and was named its captain. The team clinched gold at the Olympics, and Guardiola was awarded the Bravo Trophy, presented to Europe's best young players.

In March 1993, Guardiola netted his first goal during a match against Real Valladolid.

For three consecutive seasons up to 1994, the team consistently topped La Liga. However, their fortune waned afterward. Post Cruyff's departure, Barça slipped to third and fourth positions.
Pep Guardiola: Goals, Skills, Assists
Everything pivoted with the advent of Bobby Robson's leadership. In the 1996/97 season, Barcelona clinched three prestigious awards: the Copa del Rey, the Supercopa de España, and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

A mere six months later, Pep was named Barcelona's captain. However, he spent most of the subsequent season sidelined due to injury. Other clubs, like Roma and Parma, expressed interest in acquiring Guardiola. Yet, instead of transferring, Josep extended his contract until 2001.
Guardiola on the pitch (2000)
Guardiola on the pitch (2000)
Those three years at Barça proved challenging for Pep. He often disagreed with the methods of coach Louis van Gaal, though he endeavored to avoid public confrontations. Additionally, lingering injuries took their toll: surgeries forced Guardiola to miss the 1998 World Cup with the national team and part of the 1999/00 season. In the 2000/01 season, Barcelona settled for fourth place in the league.

In April 2001, Pep announced his departure from the club. Over 12 seasons, he clinched 16 trophies with the team. Additionally, during those years, he made 47 appearances for the national team and scored 5 goals.

Brescia and the Doping Scandal

The athlete continued his career with Brescia and was named its captain within six months. However, Guardiola soon faced disqualification after the substance nandrolone, considered a doping agent, was detected in his samples. Josep vehemently denied any intentional doping and attributed the test results to substandard dietary supplements.
In 2001, Guardiola joined Brescia
In 2001, Guardiola joined Brescia
Pep returned to Brescia in the spring of 2002, but the doping accusations were not completely lifted until seven years later. Due to the disqualification, he missed several matches. Yet, in the summer of 2002, he transferred to Roma. At Roma, Guardiola mostly remained on the bench, leading him to rejoin Brescia a year later.

This stint also didn't last long, as in 2003, Pep moved to Al-Ahli, turning down an offer from Manchester United in the process. At the Arab club, he distinguished himself as one of the league's top players. By 2005, he caught the attention of clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea.
Towards the end of his playing career, Guardiola was with Al-Ahli
Towards the end of his playing career, Guardiola was with Al-Ahli
Pep declined all offers, opting instead to undergo a condensed coaching program in Madrid. In 2006, he combined his studies with playing for the Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa. However, this experience could not be termed successful: the team progressively dropped down the league, and Guardiola was plagued by injuries. In the fall of the same year, he announced his retirement from playing.

Coaching Career: Barcelona

In 2007, Guardiola returned to his beloved Barcelona, this time as the coach of the B team. Under his guidance, the squad achieved promotion, and by the 2008/09 season, Pep took over as the head coach of the main team.
Guardiola coached Barcelona until 2012
Guardiola coached Barcelona until 2012
He began with personnel changes, agreeing to the sale of certain players and signing new ones, like Gerard Piqué. The results were quick to show: Barcelona achieved a treble, winning the domestic cup, the league title, and the Champions League. In the latter, the team convincingly defeated Manchester United.
FC Barcelona – The Guardiola System (2008-2012)
That season is remembered by Barcelona fans as one of the most successful. Guardiola set a record as the youngest coach to lead a team to a Champions League victory.

The following season saw the addition of Zlatan Ibrahimović and victories in the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. Pep became the first coach in global football to achieve such feats.
Pep Guardiola and Zlatan Ibrahimović
Pep Guardiola and Zlatan Ibrahimović
However, fortune didn't favor his side in the Champions League, as they only reached the semi-finals. Unable to handle the chain of defeats emotionally, Guardiola was fined €15,000 after shouting at the referee during a match against Almería.

The 2010/11 season brought Barcelona another Champions League title and a Spanish Super Cup. A year later, they lifted the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. In January 2012, FIFA recognized Guardiola as the best coach. Nevertheless, in April of that same year, he announced his departure from Barcelona, citing exhaustion as the reason.

Bayern Munich

After his successful tenure with the Spaniards, Pep took a year off, spending time in New York. In early 2013, it was announced that he would be taking over as the coach of Bayern Munich. Under his guidance, the Munich side won the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, and secured the Bundesliga title. However, Bayern's Champions League campaign was markedly less successful, and Guardiola took personal responsibility for the team's shortcomings.
In 2013, Guardiola became the coach of Bayern Munich
In 2013, Guardiola became the coach of Bayern Munich
The subsequent season, 2014/15, was marked by a series of disappointments for the team – losses in the German Super Cup, the domestic cup, and the Champions League. A year later, Bayern continued to show inconsistency in their performances. In the Champions League, the German side only managed to reach the semi-finals. By the start of 2016, Pep decided to leave the club.

Manchester City

In February 2016, Guardiola signed a three-year contract with the English club, which would see him earn a salary of €20 million per year. Pep's tenure at the team started with a series of victories, with their first loss coming against Tottenham Hotspur.
Guardiola has been coaching Manchester City since 2016
Guardiola has been coaching Manchester City since 2016
However, City's performances started to falter thereafter. Media outlets began branding Guardiola as "one of the biggest frauds." However, he vowed to improve in the next season and proved it by guiding the team to a Premier League championship and subsequently renewing his contract with the club until 2021.

By the 2018/19 season, Manchester City was utterly dominant in England. The team clinched the Community Shield, the Football League Cup, the Premier League title, and the FA Cup, achieving a domestic treble, an unprecedented feat.

The subsequent two seasons also witnessed Pep's men winning the Football League Cups. Yet, the Champions League trophy remained elusive for the team. Rumors began circulating about a so-called "Guardiola curse", suggesting his team couldn't capture the trophy because all of Pep's luck was used up during his Champions League wins with Barcelona. Regardless of such rumors, in November 2020, the coach extended his contract with the club for another three years.

Personal Life of Josep Guardiola

Pep has always been notably consistent in his personal relationships. He met his future wife, Cristina Serra, in a clothing store when he was just 18 years old. They decided to tie the knot in 2014, and by that time, the couple was already blessed with three children - two daughters and a son.
Josep Guardiola and his wife Cristina Serra
Josep Guardiola and his wife Cristina Serra
Wherever his career took him, his family always accompanied him. However, in 2019, Pep's wife, along with their youngest daughter, moved from England back to Spain. Back in their homeland, Cristina pursued her passion for fashion, developing her own clothing boutiques.
Pep Guardiola with his wife and children
Pep Guardiola with his wife and children
Josep has always held a deep connection with the history and culture of his homeland. He is an ardent admirer of Catalan poetry and even walked the runway for local designer Antoni Miró. In 2002, the celebrated Catalan was honored with an award for his contributions to preserving cultural identity. Nine years later, Guardiola was also bestowed with the Honorary Medal of the Parliament of Catalonia. He has never shied away from expressing his support for the political independence of the region.

Josep Guardiola Now

The 2022/23 season put an end to the rumors surrounding the so-called "Guardiola Curse." Under his leadership, Manchester City completed a treble. The team conquered each tournament in succession: first, the FA Cup, then the Premier League championship. And finally, on June 10th, 2023, they emerged as victors in the UEFA Champions League, beating Inter Milan in the final. This marks the second treble in the history of English football.
How Pep Reached His Final Form
For Pep, this accomplishment is also the second of its kind in his career, setting a record as no other manager has achieved this feat with two different clubs:
I think the stars were aligned – the cup belongs to us. It wasn't our best performance in the final. But, perhaps, if we are lucky enough to make it to the final in the future, we will look better.
After the triumph, the manager expressed his intention to take a brief hiatus before diving back into his work with renewed vigor. Manchester City extended his contract until 2025, promising Pep a significant raise to his current €23 million annual salary. This adjustment positions Guardiola as one of the highest-paid football managers in the world.

Interesting Facts

  • Guardiola is known for his thoughtful approach to work: when he became the coach of Bayern Munich, he dedicated 5 hours a day to learning the German language.
  • While Pep was at the Dorados club, he financially supported the lowest-paid employees by giving them bonuses from his personal earnings.
  • Besides football, Guardiola is a big fan of golf and hockey.
  • Josep is a huge admirer of the band Coldplay. He often uses their songs during training sessions.
  • In 2023, Guardiola made a cameo appearance as himself in the popular series "Ted Lasso." with Jason Sudeikis.