Pep Guardiola has recently described Manchester City’s latest title win as the “toughest” of his career, but it is not his favourite.
The Catalan coach has ranked his first ever La Liga trophy with Barcelona in 2009 as his fondest memory in the dugout; a season in which they beat rivals Real Madrid 6-2 just four games before the campaign concluded.
Guardiola’s fondest title moment: Five key things to know…
- Man City clinched back-to-back Premier League titles on Sunday.
- The Citizens finished the season just a point above Liverpool and became the first side to retain an English title in 10 years.
- Despite this, Guardiola has chosen his maiden campaign in the Camp Nou dugout as his favourite title-winning season.
- Barca clinched the 2008/09 title nine points ahead of eternal adversaries Los Blancos.
- Guardiola has cited the 6-2 win against Real at the Bernabeu just four games before the campaign finished as a key reason for his preference.
A brace from Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry, as well as goals from Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique ensured a comprehensive victory at the Bernabeu a decade ago for the Catalan coach.
Maximum reward against Juande Ramos’ side put Barca seven points clear of the capital club at La Liga’s summit with four matches remaining, and the club would ultimately hold out for Guardiola’s first piece of managerial silverware.
Fast forward 10 years, and the current City coach has picked up a plethora of awards and accolades across the continent, but he insists there is no greater feeling than clinching that first title in 2009.
When asked by reporters if this season’s title win with City was the most enjoyable, Guardiola replied: “Well, I wouldn’t say that because the first league with Barcelona, when we won 6-2 at the Bernabeu, was incredible for me.
“I was in my first year as coach in my hometown, with the club of my heart, with the club I love the most.
“But this was my most difficult, because of them [Liverpool], because of their quality.”
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Guardiola’s toughest title
After thrashing Brighton 4-1 on Sunday, City picked up a second consecutive Premier League title, but only just, as one point separated them and Liverpool after an epic 38-game campaign.
The Reds accumulated the third-most points of any team in the history of the competition, meaning that any season before 2017/18 would have been enough to secure a first league title for 29 years.
As such, Guardiola has described this campaign as the most difficult of his managerial career, heaping praise on Jurgen Klopp’s side for pushing them all the way.
“To win the title we had to win 14 games in a row,” said Guardiola. “This was the toughest title in all my career, by far. I have to say congratulations to Liverpool of course, thank you so much.
“Last season Manchester City made the standards. They helped to push us and to increase our standards from last season.
“To compete against this team pushed us to do what we have done. It’s incredible, 198 points in two seasons.
“Normally if you get 100 points the tendency is to go down but Liverpool helped us to be consistent.”