Friends Reunite As Guardiola, Koeman Face Off

By Tony Nwanne

Former Barcelona team-mates Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman are reuniting this Saturday at Eastlands, as Manchester City and Everton square up for the first time in the Premier League this season.

And Everton manager Koeman is relishing the chance to pit his wits against his City counterpart, who was just setting off on his glorious playing career with the Catalan club when Koeman signed for Barca in 1989.

“I have all good memories of Pep,” said Koeman. “We have a really strong friendship. Now it’s a bit easier because he’s living in Manchester and I live close to Manchester.

“Sometimes we have time for dinner and to talk about football and life. We have spent many hours together talking football.

“He was really interested in how we play in Holland. I see a lot of that in teams managed by Pep, about Barca and Dutch football and I like that because it’s the most difficult way to win – play offensive football.

“Sometimes it’s a risky way to win titles. Most other managers win titles but not with that football.

“The surprising thing with Pep was when he was manager of Barca I saw the best Barca team in every aspect of football.

“The standard there was, and is, always high but he made it 200 per cent better in every aspect.

“I know the people of Holland really enjoyed watching Barca and then Bayern Munich because it’s a different way of football.

“We like to see a team play attractive football, to dominate. Sometimes that’s risky but that’s football that I like.”

Sign up for our Newsletter

Enter your email and stay on top of things,