Guardiola’s Manchester City is a perfect synthesis
The synthesis and overcoming of Pep Guardiola.
It took Guardiola’s Manchester City seven years not to play for or win the Champions League. He could have triumphed even in previous seasons, and we’ll see if he can pull it off this season, where he’s (least to say the least) the over-favourite; Instead, it took seven years for Manchester City to become it the perfect teamseven years at Guardiola (and over €1bn in signings alone) to shape the squad Light Blue in his image and will. However, there is little to say about yesterday’s game and after yesterday’s game: an all-encompassing, radical, unstoppable domination, extended in space and time.
One could write about individuals, about Bernardo Silva and the usual Kevin De Bruyne, about Gündogan and Courtois – a paradox: the goalkeeper of the team defeated 4-0 was the man of the match with Bernardo Silva and that alone would be enough to grasp that play together. But it’s like there’s a team of 11 players, Real Madrid, on one side, and on the other a perfect organism far superior to the sum of its individuals, who moved like a formidable man. An organic team, well-rounded, perfect at every stage, as dominant as only Guardiola’s Barcelona 2.0, that of 2011.
Even more complete than Barcelona, technically maybe less strong in singles, but with more arrows to his bow.
Two years ago we wrote that Guardiola no longer wanted to be Guardiola: no longer the prophet of the tiki-taka, the ideologue of the false nine, the doctrinal reference point for half the world. Yet retaining his imprint and his obsessive quest for domination and perfection, Pep from Santpedor has evolved: He understood that an Erling Haaland is much more effective as a center forward than Space, and that a roster of City players can and must be deadly, far more vertical than its teams ever have been. But also that a game can consist of many games within a game: games within a game that Guardiola’s City masters perfectly, with an adult and almost omnipotent superiority.
This team knows how to push, smother and smother, like in the first thirty minutes against Real, a bit in the old-fashioned Barcelona way, with less technique but with even more athleticism and physicality; But he also knows how to come through and defend without conceding, not even a crack, at most a couple of outside shots; Finally, he knows how to restart with counterattacks combining technique, intensity and speed, overturning the front with impressive pocket moves in a few seconds. To this day, this city has no technical or tactical weaknesses. And even the psychological ones, expressed in inimitable psychodramas, a mirror of his trainer, seem like a distant memory.
Manchester City was not only the favorite team of this Champions League, It was THE team in this Champions League. Of a different category than everyone else. And as I said from another level, a next level compared to the same teams of Guardiola. Today, Pep has become an absolute coach, not just the pinnacle of ‘sackism’, a certain ‘Dutch school’ – to explain it in limiting but useful terms – and dominant football in general; not only that, but also the representative of a football in total in the sense that it has everything: pressing, solidity, possession, intelligence, attack, defence, verticality, horizontality.
Sure, it took over a billion and more than seven years. How many Champions Leagues would Ancelotti have won with such a transfer budget and one passive around 650 million in the club treasury? How many would Mourinho have won, maybe even Allegri? But today is not about that. Pep stayed at City for seven years to fail to achieve that result, a Champions League final he had already attended (and lost to Guardiola, i.e. in the end) but failed to do so reach this level of play:
that of a neoclassical production that touches on the actual canon of the music and perhaps helps to define it perfection.
You can’t be that much of the results list these days, both because City are too gorgeous a beauty and because of this team He’s recomposed the (blunt) dichotomy between players and scoreboards: he’s gotten over it as in a Hegelian synthesis involving opposites, thesis and antithesis. For example, if he finishes as European champions, this Champions League will not have the same weight in terms of football history as that of a Di Matteo at Chelsea: certainly worth one for the fans, for the annals, for … the statistics, but you are no worth for value in the history of the sport.
At the end of the game, Alessia Tarquinio asked Ancelotti for explanations and possible reasons for the beating received. He tried to induce mental breakdowns or failures in approach. But Ancelotti answered very clearly: no, there was no collapse of his team, it wasn’t his Real’s fault. Of course, “the ball could have been controlled a little better”, but then again simply: There was a stronger opponent who was too (more) strong. You can only surrender to this city in words and on the field.
However, there is one thing Inter must not do in view of June 10th. If the Nerazzurri want a chance, they need to play the game of their lives and in any case it might not be enough; That’s the feeling so clear it’s almost a certainty This city can only lose with its own hands or for arrogant intervention in the case. And yet we fell in love with football because the ball stays round despite everything; and we have seen many David defeat Goliath.
If it’s true that perfection is out of this world and everyone has a weak spot, anything can happen in Istanbul. At least in theory. In practice, Inter fans set up altars to the moirés of football and begin to pray. It will really be necessary.