Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola can change the dynamic of English football.
Xavi, who played under Guardiola for four seasons at the Camp Nou winning three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in that time, feels the Catalan coach has had a bigger effect on the game than anyone else in the last decade.
Guardiola left Bayern Munich for City in the summer and guided the English side to 10 wins in his first 10 games, although last week’s 3-3 draw with Celtic brought that impressive run to an end before they suffered their first defeat of the season to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday.
“Pep improved all of us [at Barca], he shows you the ‘why’ behind what he asks,” the 36-year-old said at the ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition in Amsterdam.
“He transmits so much. His way of understanding the game is the same as Barca’s. He’s been the most influential person in world football in the last 10 years. If anyone can change the dynamic of English football, it’s Guardiola.
“He’s influential, obsessive, a perfectionist. City are going to learn a lot with him and they’re going to enjoy themselves — in just a few months you can already see a style [developing].”
Xavi’s ex-teammate Carles Puyol was also speaking at the event in the Netherlands and he was also full of praise for Guardiola.
The 2010 World Cup-winning defender, who is now retired, believes his former coach has had a profound effect on the way football has progressed in the 21st century.
“Pep’s a perfectionist; he’s really demanding,” he said. “He always wants to learn and that’s why he’s revolutionised modern football.”
Guardiola will return to Camp Nou later this month when his City side take on Barcelona in the Champions League on Oct. 19.
He has been back once before since leaving his job in Catalonia in 2012, losing 3-0 with Bayern Munich in 2014.