Florentino Perez wanted Pep Guardiola to take over from Rafael Benitez at Real Madrid
Pep Guardiola could have been the man to have managed both Real Madrid and Barcelona if he had accepted Florentino Perez’s offer a year ago to be the next manager at the Bernabeu.
Guardiola managed one of the greatest Barcelona teams in the history of football and won two Champions Leagues and three La Liga title times during his 4 years with the Catalans.
It would have caused much controversy if he deiced to take up the Madrid job considering how bitter the rivalry is between the two teams. But luckily for Barcelona, Guardiola said no according to his close friend and biographer Marti Perarnau.
"Real Madrid called Pep Guardiola to try and tempt him last November, before they sacked Benitez. Madrid contacted [Josep Maria] Orobitg, Guardiola's agent, in order to try and contract him. But from the start, it was out of the question. I was there.”
It would have been one of the most sensational appointments of the season if Pep had crossed enemy lines. The reception he would have received at the Camp Nou would have been poisonous similar to the one Figo got when he made the switch to White.
But Madrid went with the option of Zinedine Zidane who had been the assistant coach at the club for some time and had experience in coaching the youth teams at Madrid. Zidane in his short spell as manager turned their season around and also won them the UEFA Champions League for the second time in three seasons.
His predecessor is now manager at Newcastle. He took the job when the club were in a relegation battle. The performances were more encouraging once he took over but they could not avoid the drop.
Benitez decided to extend his contract with the club after the positive performances and now Newcastle are top of the EFL Championship. While for Pep, the Spaniard took over at Manchester City after his three-year stint at Bayern Munich.
His team are currently top of the league but are winless in 6 in all competitions, Pep’s worst winless record as a manager. He played a second string side against Manchester United in the EFL cup and ended up with a 1-0 defeat.
Guardiola already played his former side once as City manager last week but was on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing at the Camp Nou. Now he welcomes the visit of the Catalans next week in the Champions League group stages.