Gràcies, Pep: a goodbye letter to Pep GuardiolaBy: Ade C. | April 28th, 2012
It’s been 24 hours since you announced that you would not be renewing your contract with Barça for next season. I’m glad that work and a bad internet connection have given me all this time to gather my thoughts, because I’m afraid that my first reaction would have been embarassing for us both.
My emotions, in video form.
But I am calmer now. This is not the first time I’ve had to say goodbye to you, and you’re not the first coach I’ve regretfully seen walk away. And we could all see that this was coming, since well before this season.
So, no regrets. How could we regret anything in these past four seasons? You’ve brought this team more joy and success than we could have dreamt when they plucked you out from Barça B and set you at the head of the first team. Hanging above my bed is the blaugrana scarf that commemorates the ‘Barça of the 6 Cups’, and on my vanity there’s a postcard with your picture in it from your first year as a coach.
You’ve aged 10 years in these four seasons, Pep. One just needs to look at you to see just how much you’ve given to this team, how much of yourself you’ve put into your job. If I were selfish, I’d want to chain you to the bench so you could never leave, but you deserve better than to see your life-expectancy cut drastically for our enjoyment. The same relentless intensity that has brought you so much success burns you out, and after all you’ve done for us, how can we begrudge the one time you’ve decided to put yourself first?
So, no more begging for you to change your mind. I’ve trusted your decisions all throughout these four seasons (even as I puzzled over your line-ups), and I will trust your decision now.
Thank you, Pep, for all you’ve given to this team, both as a player and as a coach.
Thank you, Pep, for making sure your legacy will last a little longer (yes, I don’t believe for a second that Rosell would have chosen to let Tito step up without your influence).
Thank you, Pep, for those 13 trophies you’ve led the team to win in these four seasons. May they be 14 by the time you leave.
Thank you, Pep, for the 24 youth team players who’ve made their debut with the first team since you started as Barça coach. Thank you for trusting them, thank you for giving them a chance, thank you for nurturing them, thank you for making us remember what a treasure we have at La Masía.
Thank you, Pep, for being loyal to the Barça style. Thank you for letting the world see how beautiful football can be when it’s played well, thank you for keeping it fresh, thank you for not giving into the temptation of more pedestrian tactics even in the face of criticism.
Thank you, Pep, for keeping it classy. Thank you for being humble in victory, for being graceful in defeat, for never stooping as low as your rivals wanted, even in the face of almost intolerable provocation. Thank you for your smiles during press conferences, for your gentlemany habit of never underestimating a rival, for the lessons that taught us all.
Thank you, Pep, for not letting it all go to your head. Thank you for remembering to put your players first and to keep yourself in the background. Thank you for admitting to your mistakes when you made them, thank you for defending your players from all criticism, even at your own expense.
Thank you, Pep, for being brilliant. Thank you for teaching us more about football and tactics with a simple sub than many other coaches will show in a whole season. Thank you for letting us rediscover the intricacies of shifting formations, even if I suffered many a breakdown trying to make sense of it all.
Thank you, Pep, for not letting us forget than Barça is more than a club (and more than a coach, more than the players, and much more than the president and the board).
Thank you so much for everything, Pep. I wish you the best of luck. And if you ever want to come back… well, you’ll always be welcomed at Can Barça. *discreetly pushes box of ‘Pep for President!’ flags behind the sofa*
And now… eyes on the future!