‘My legacy is exceptional’: Pep Guardiola refuses to be defined by Champions League

Pep Guardiola has claimed his legacy at Manchester City is “exceptional” whether or not he wins the Champions League.

The Catalan needs one more victory to secure a fifth Premier League trophy in six seasons and became the first manager to do a domestic treble in 2018-19, as well as setting a top-flight points record of 100 the previous year.

But this is his seventh attempt to win the Champions League with City, who lost the 2021 final and host Real Madrid on Wednesday after drawing 1-1 in the first leg of their semi-final in what Guardiola accepted is one of the most significant games of his reign.

Guardiola believes his side do not need to do anything incredible to beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side but feels he will be remembered more for the quality of football his side have played.

“My legacy is already exceptional already,” he said. “We have been here many times, we are not stupid to know how important it is. It is one of the most important [matches], with the competition and the rival.

“I’ve told the players to enjoy the moment, we are incredibly lucky to be here. It’s in our hands. It depends on us. We don’t have to do anything exceptional, [just] win one game to reach the final and we’ll do everything. I have incredible feeling about the players: whatever happens, thank you so much to them for getting us here again.

“My legacy: there has been a great generation of players that has been here. My legacy: maybe we could have a book about it one day but you won’t be judged on whether we won the Champions League or not. The legacy is we had a great time and played great football and the best legacy you can have is you have performed well and played well.”

City will be without the injured Nathan Ake but Kevin De Bruyne, who was an unused substitute for Sunday’s win at Everton, is fit.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

City beat Real 4-3 in the first leg of last season’s semi-final and Guardiola would happily settle for a repeat scoreline.

He added: “We’d like to have the game we had last season, I’d sign for it right now but I don’t think it will happen.”

Real have won the Champions League a record 14 times and Guardiola searched for an explanation as to why they are the kings of Europe. “If I knew that I would know the method of beating them,” he said. “Basically the reason is they have always had great quality players, without players of that standard, they would not be able to achieve that.”