Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal the unlikely inspiration for Pep Guardiola


Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has revealed the unlikely inspirations behind his success in the dugout, as he admitted he has looked beyond football as he looks to sustain the club’s trophy hunt. The Spanish master has ackowledged that he looks to the all-conquering tennis superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as role models in his quest.

The 53-year-old’s legacy as one of the standout coaching talents of his generation is already secure, having achieved landmark triumphs in three separate countries as a manager. Following on from making his name at Barcelona as a player, he arguably assembled the greatest club side in history during his time in the hotseat at Camp Nou following retirement.

His transition from a midfield maestro to a legendary figure on the touchline has seen him emerge as one of the most influential coaching talents in history. Taking tactical inspriation from the seminal work of former Blaugrana boss Johan Cruyff, he instilled his trademark style at Barça en route to two Champions League titles between 2008 and 2012.

After leaving Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta behind over a decade ago, he further proved his managerial prowess with three Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich in Germany. One of the crowning moments of his coaching career came last season, however, as he finally ended Manchester City’s wait for a European Cup as part of a historic treble.

Now, Guardiola has opened up on the figures who he looks up to on a day-to-day basis. Having already won five Premier League titles while in England, alongside last year’s continental heroics, the coach has explained that he has drawn inspiration from a wide range of figures within sport as he attempts to mastermind more success.

“Yeah, incredible athletes. [Roger] Federer, [Novak] Djokovic, [Rafa] Nadal,” he said, as he detailed the sporting greats who have had influence on him. “The biggest dynasties in the NBA. It’s not easy in the NBA to have a team like the Chicago Bulls with [Michael] Jordan.

“I’m not comparing with that, don’t misunderstand me. The NBA has a lot of clubs with two or three in a row, Guardiola continued. “In Spain, in Italy, always it’s difficult, to arrive in Europe, being there for a long time, domestically, especially this Premier League. It’s nice, it means a lot for all of us.”

As for the ways in which the former Barcelona boss is helping the club to sustain its success from within, he also opened up on the importance of City being alligned under one overriding ethos. He admitted: “I have to speak with one or two people, no more than that. But underneath the CEO and Txiki [Begiristain] we have important people.

“The academy has important people, in every department, trying to be the best, improving to be the best. That doesn’t mean that when you hire someone who’s exceptional that you can learn from him but he can learn from what the club is. It’s a process.

Guardiola added: “I’m a better manager now than eight years ago. I know the Premier League better, I know my players better, I know my opponents better. I learn many, many things from my assistant managers. So that is a process. But I cannot waste time talking with 20 people.”

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