There are few mentoring relationships in football as genuine and unwavering as Johan Cruyff and Josep Guardiola. Cruyff’s support for Guardiola’s decision to step aside therefore comes as no surprise. Particularly since Cruyff himself knows of the emotional and physical strain that comes with being a manager of a club like FC Barcelona, suffering a heart attack while in the job himself.
“I think it’s good because it is a consuming task. Work has been done extremely well and it takes strength to continue, especially in a very difficult time because there are changes. Everyone lives as he likes and Guardiola has taken the decision after a lengthy period and now takes a rest and I think it’s well deserved.”
How much should be read into the next area of questioning is debatable. I’m sure many have harbored a hope that being only 41 years old, Guardiola is more than young enough to one day return to sidelines of the Camp Nou. The Dutchman believes Pep will return to the club in some role or another, but is unsure if it will be in a second stint as manager.
Finally Cruyff gave a few words of advise, possibly even caution, to Tito Vilanova, stressing the importance for him to make this opportunity his own. “When you are in charge you have to see how it goes. It depends on the philosophy, Laporta, Bergiristain, and Guardiola are no longer there. There are different views, new opinions, and ever detail is important. Ever year you have to look at a piece, Abidal is sick, Villa will return up front and he has a lot of quality. Villanova has to guide things.”