Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has nothing but praise for Pep Guardiola ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League encounter and believes the current Manchester City boss will go down in history as one of the greatest ever.
Guardiola enjoyed a hugely successful spell in charge of Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, before guiding Bayer Munich to three consecutive Bundesliga titles between 2013 and 2016.
He left Bayern for City during the off-season and Luis Enrique already sees his compatriot’s impact at the Etihad.
“I take it as a habit to value my friends more than enemies. Pep is a good friend. It is easy to value him. I think he is the best coach,” Luis Enrique said at a news conference.
“When you coach at this level if you win everything it is easy. When you lose you are bad. Pep could have suffered from that when he took charge of Barcelona.
“When he took the chance it was a 180 degree turn for the team. It made Barca a really recognisable team with and without the ball. Pep’s Barca were a spectacular team for four years.
“I have not seen his training sessions, but I have seen his philosophy and ideas. Basing everything on how you attack is very attractive as a football lover. I am sure he will go down as one of the most important coaches in the modern era of football.”
He added: “We are attack-minded coaches. I cannot imagine a better game for any football fan, not just a Barca or City fan. But coaches don’t play the game. Players decide the outcome.
“I was lucky enough to share a dressing room with Pep as a player. It’s a privilege to do the same thing as managers at top level. Games against friends are even better to try to win them. But knowing Pep doesn’t mean I know how he will manage his team.”