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The story of Guardiola and Arteta as you didn’t know it

Date: April 14, 2024 Time: 20:27:26

“I always noticed Arteta’s enormous involvement in City’s success when he was my assistant; after the team’s important goals he jumped like a stung man,” Pep Guardiola once admitted. “And only in games with only one team did he always sit motionless. This is Arsenal. “So I thought that Mikel had a very strong connection with this club.”

We talked about how Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta met and got closer, whose exciting confrontation became one of the most intense in the English Premier League.

To beat Arsenal, Guardiola appointed Arteta coach for a week

Guardiola values ​​the character and intelligence of people, which is why he always surrounds himself with like-minded people who have their own vision of everything. “An intelligent person will not ask the opinion of singers,” philosophizes Pep. And the Manchester City coach is also used to believing in both the players and the coaching staff: when he invited Arteta to City in 2016, he trusted him 100%. This came just two months after Mikel ended his playing career at Arsenal.

Shortly after Arteta’s arrival at the Emirates, Guardiola’s men faced the Gunners and Pep took a risk. He called the new assistant into his office and told him, “You will lead the team in this game. I think you can handle it, it’s all up to you. Do what you think is right.” The coach understood that Mikel definitely knew the London team better than him, because he had recently been on the field with these players. The City players were a little surprised when Pep said: “Arteta is at the command this week”. But everything turned out well: the “citizens” won the match 2:1.

Pep and Mikel lead City

Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Guardiola’s move was surprising from every point of view: it instilled confidence in an assistant who wanted to grow and the team felt that Mikel was not just a specialist who places chips. Many City players noted Arteta’s enormous contribution to his formation and development in the team; His advice sometimes proved invaluable. He helped a lot, in particular, that the second coach speaks six languages. Also in this play there was a “good cop, bad cop” approach, in which Mikel acted as the bad guy, sometimes transmitting the essence of desires or demands in a very harsh way.

“Mikel has always been very convincing. Every word he said had great meaning,” recalls former City midfielder Leroy Zane. – Once we played against Brighton and they put me in the full-back position. Arteta came up to me and said: “Leroy, I know you hate playing this role, but be smart. “You are young and you still have a lot to do and improve.” He inspired me to endure and work, he prescribed every maneuver of the match, every detail. That roadmap helped me a lot. He is an incredible person and mentor.”

Pep consulted Mikel before the Champions League semi-final with Chelsea in 2012

Pep has known Arteta since young Mikel was taking his first steps in Barcelona’s youth system, and Guardiola was the team’s captain at the time. The current Arsenal coach will remember his debut with Barça for the rest of his life, since at the age of 16 he replaced Pep in one of the friendly matches. “I played with Rivaldo, Figo, Kluivert, Luis Enrique, all the superstars. But my main hero was Guardiola, because of his great play and his incredible human qualities. He helped me a lot during the transition from youth football to adult football,” Mikel admitted. The young midfielder did not wait several years to have the opportunity to break into the main team of his native team and went to PSG.

This is how it went:

Things did not go well for Arteta at Barcelona. Guardiola prevented it

Even though the players’ paths diverged, they stayed in touch. Guardiola was impressed by British football, so he often called his compatriot, who first played for Rangers, then Everton and Arsenal, and was interested in her impressions. One day Pep needed specific help from Arteta. In 2012, Barcelona faced Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals and the Catalan coach asked Mikel about the Londoners’ weaknesses. Guardiola did not expect to hear such a detailed and in-depth response from Arteta with the tactical subtleties and playing characteristics of the Bleus; Then they talked for more than an hour.

The fate of that epic confrontation was largely decided by Lionel Messi’s missed penalty in the second leg, and Barça lost to the future winner of the trophy. But Guardiola was still impressed: after that, he and Arteta began to exchange ideas more frequently. Three years later, Pep and Mikel crossed paths in a Champions League match, when Mikel’s Arsenal lost to Guardiola’s Bayern in Munich (1-5). After the game, the coach had a long conversation with the midfielder in the stands and confessed to Arteta that one day he would like to coach the English team.

“I dream of doing the same thing I did in Barcelona when I arrive in England. I want to achieve what everyone thinks is impossible in this league. I would like your experience and support to help me with this”, these words from Pep touched and sank into Arteta’s soul.

Mikel spent the best years of his playing career at Arsenal

Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Arteta’s apartment looks like a football fan’s home

Overall, Arteta trained as a manager while still playing for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger, the team’s coach, did not say much during the break: he believed that one of the players should turn the team on. Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and other great Gunners captains did this on several occasions, and then Arteta took over the task. During practices, he interacted more with the coaching staff than with the players, spending a lot of time with video analysts and discussing the strengths and weaknesses of upcoming opponents. For this reason, Arsenal called him Brigadier.

Most players tend to only worry about themselves, but Arteta was really happy when he got involved in everything. Guardiola was exactly the same towards the end of his playing career. Pep is still the same football geek, capable of learning something new every day. There is a story that shows that Arteta is cut from the same cloth.

Arteta during a clash with Pedersen

Photo: Barrington Coombs/Getty Images

During the first season of City, Mikel’s wife, Argentine television presenter and actress Lorena Bernal, worked and lived in Los Angeles with their two children. For this reason, there were always many friends in Mikel’s apartment, so as not to get bored. And everyone was speechless when they saw the walls, on which tactical diagrams hung, hundreds of stickers, notes and football matches from different parts of the planet were constantly played on two giant screens. If there was no live broadcast of the match, I would play the old recording, Wenger style.

In his last year at Arsenal, the Londoners’ official website asked the midfielder to imagine the creation of Mikel Arteta’s FC and the ideas behind it. “My philosophy will be clear,” Arteta said. “I guarantee everyone will be 120% committed, that’s the first thing.” If not, then you won’t play for me. When it’s time to work, you have to work hard. If I’m having fun, I’ll be the first to go into chill mode. “I want my football to be expressive and spectacular.”

The Londoners not only took Mikel from City:

“This is great”. Guardiola rejected the manager’s standards, now he is dragging Arsenal down

Many years later, Mikel did not deviate from these principles. Like Guardiola, he opts for brilliant offensive football and his team does not have toxic people in the locker room. Everyone was amazed by the ease with which he got rid of top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a couple of years ago, but the coach did not doubt his decision for a second. And it turned out that he was right.

Arteta never hid behind other players: in 2017, Guardiola’s assistant was involved in a player fight in the Manchester derby, where he broke his eyebrow. It is also difficult to forget how the Spaniard grabbed Morten Gamst Pedersen by the neck in a match against Blackburn in 2008. Pep always dreamed of such a daring and intelligent rival, who could be his best friend off the field. After all, only in battles with strong personalities can you grow and improve.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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