Messi won the titles, not Guardiola — Felix Magath questions Manchester City manager's UCL failures since Barcelona exit

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath has ripped into Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola's tactics. The German claimed that both the Catalans' UEFA Champions League titles were solely down to the ability of Barcelona skipper Leo Messi, and not Guardiola's perceived brilliance.

The Cityzens' coach was regarded as one of the best coaches in world football during his time at Barcelona after he won everything there was to win with his former club. The Blaugrana amassed a staggering six trophies in a year, and remain the only side to have done so.

Overall, Guardiola's tenure at Barcelona yielded 14 trophies from 2008 to 2012. His unstoppable juggernaut statistically remains one of the greatest football sides assembled to date — and Leo Messi was at the heart of this incredible team. Messi won four successive Ballons d'Or during Guardiola's spell at the club.

Messi and Guardiona ta the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2010
Messi and Guardiona ta the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2010

However, since that glorious period of the Catalan's career, Guardiola has failed to reach a single UCL final, let alone win the competition.

Without Messi, this system has never worked — Magath questions ex-Barcelona coach Guardiola's tactics

Former Bayern coach Magath
Former Bayern coach Magath

Speaking on fellow ex-Bayern Munich coach Guardiola, Felix Magath believes that Messi is the reason for his success as he is a player "who can decide a game out of nowhere". The German told Sport Bild;

"[Leo] Messi won the titles [UCLs], not [Pep] Guardiola. Without Messi, this system has never worked as successfully for Guardiola, otherwise he would have won the Champions League with Bayern [Munich] or Manchester City long ago."

Magath continued,

"Tiki-taka only works if you have players who are technically superior to their opponents. For the spectator, holding the ball, as I call it, is just boring and a top team doesn't really need it. In my opinion, Guardiola generally too often gets lost in trying to win a game in advance. That tactic often ends in wrong decisions, which prevent success."

Since his departure from Barcelona, Guardiola came close to winning the UCL with Bayern Munich but saw his side eliminated from the semi-finals on more than one occasion.

He failed to reach even the penultimate stage with Manchester City despite spending more than he has at any club the former Barcelona coach has managed.

After winning two consecutive Premier League titles with City, Guardiola's side lost their English crown to Jurgen Klopp's unstoppable Liverpool side by a record margin of 18 points.

The Catalan would hope to make amends to a torrid season which also saw them crash out to underdogs Olympique Lyon in the quarter-finals of the UCL.

Also read: Barcelona legend Carles Puyol opens up on Lionel Messi's exit from the Nou Camp

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Edited by Sai Teja
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