5 superstars sold by Pep Guardiola

Ibrahimovic and Henry were spat out of Barcelona by Pep Guardiola
Ibrahimovic and Henry were spat out of Barcelona by Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has successfully established himself as one of the best tacticians of his generation. The former Barcelona stalwart effortlessly transitioned from a world-class midfielder to a masterful coach in the late 2000s. Known for his peculiar style of football, Guardiola is famous for using a preferred set of players, explaining his sky-high expenditure.

Pep Guardiola has spent some serious amounts of cash on certain players

After taking over as Manchester City boss, the Spaniard basically received a blank chequebook to buy whomsoever he fancies. Pep Guardiola has done exactly that, spending more than a billion euros on transfers in the past five seasons. To put things in perspective, 12 of his 13 most expensive signings have come at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's latest recruit, Jack Grealish, is his costliest transfer to date. The Englishman was purchased for a record-breaking fee of €117.5m. Apart from the numerous defensive signings including Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, and Joao Cancelo, Pep Guardiola has also spent a lot on offensive players. Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Barcelona is his second most expensive transfer of all time.

There are bound to be some big-name departures, with so many incomings under the watchful eye of the Catalan. On that note, let's take a look at 5 superstars who were sold by Pep Guardiola:

#5 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona to AC Milan)

Ibrahimovic spent a solitary season under Guardiola
Ibrahimovic spent a solitary season under Guardiola

The aforementioned Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the few proven stars to have been brought by Pep Guardiola and then dispatched later by the Spaniard himself. Ibrahimovic moved to Camp Nou in the summer of 2009 in one of the most high-profile transfers ever (more on it later).

Having signed a bumper five-year deal with the Blaugrana, Ibrahimovic was initially the focal point of a very potent Barcelona attack. Pep Guardiola soon shifted the big Swede to the flank to accommodate the upcoming Lionel Messi.

Ibrahimovic was subsequently dumped out on loan to AC Milan the very next season due to differences with his manager. While Pep Guardiola has stayed silent on the matter, the erratic forward has been very vocal about his spat with the Catalan. Ibrahimovic is back with AC Milan at the ripe old age of 39.

#4 Thierry Henry (Barcelona to New York Red Bulls)

Henry was sent to the MLS after his Barcelona spell
Henry was sent to the MLS after his Barcelona spell

Another elite forward who was exiled from the riches of Camp Nou on the orders of Pep Guardiola, Thierry Henry, had joined Barcelona prior to the Spaniard's arrival. Citing his dream of playing for the Blaugrana at the time of his departure from Arsenal, Henry signed a four-year deal with the club.

Initially, the Frenchman was an integral part of Pep Guardiola's legendary sextuple-winning squad. He was part of a deadly trio, containing Samuel Eto'o, Messi, and Henry himself. However, the emergence of La Masia graduate Pedro, restricted the reliable attacker to just 15 league appearances.

In 2010, having lost his place in the first team, Henry was sold to New York Red Bulls on a free transfer. While Pep Guardiola moved on from the Frenchman in no time, the 33-year-old's career spiraled down soon after. He retired in 2015 at the age of 38.

Also read: Most valuable Premier League XI at the moment (September 2021)

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Edited by Henno van Deventer
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