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12th Oct 2020

Former Bayern boss claims “Messi won the titles, not Guardiola” in blistering attack

Felix Magath has launched an attack on Pep Guardiola, saying Lionel Messi was the driving force behind his two Champions League titles at Barcelona

Reuben Pinder

TLDR; Pep is a bald fraud

Former Bayern Munich boss Felix Magath has launched a scathing attack on Pep Guardiola, saying the two Champions League titles he won at Barcelona were down to Lionel Messi’s brilliance more than Guardiola’s coaching.

Guardiola conquered Europe twice with Barça, first in 2009 and then in 2011, with Messi scoring in both finals playing in the false 9 role which has since become synonymous with Guardiola.

But since then, at both Bayern Munich and Manchester City, Guardiola has failed to win Europe’s most prestigious trophy. One school of thought behind Guardiola’s relative failure in Europe compared to his domestic success is his tendency to overthink his tactics in knockout ties, as he did against Lyon in August this year.

Magath highlighted that as one of Guardiola’s main flaws as a coach.

“Messi won the titles, not Guardiola,” he told Sport Bild. “Without Messi, this system has never worked as successfully for Guardiola, otherwise he would have won the Champions League with Bayern or Manchester City long ago.

“Tiki-taka only works if you have players who are technically superior to their opponents. For the spectator, holding the ball, as I call it, is just boring and a top team doesn’t really need it.

“In my opinion, Guardiola generally too often gets lost in trying to win a game in advance. That tactic often ends in wrong decisions, which prevent success.”

Magath is probably best known in England for taking Fulham down and his unorthodox style of management. But he has an excellent record in the Bundesliga, winning back to back doubles with Bayern Munich between 2004 and 2006, and winning the German league title with Wolfsburg in 2008-09 with Edin Džeko and Grafite up front.

So he’s not exactly unqualified to comment on other managers. But you’d imagine Pep wouldn’t be too impressed to hear this sort of criticism from someone who once told Brede Hangeland to put cheese on his injured knee.