Pep Guardiola says he is “so satisfied” with the success of former assistant and current title rival Mikel Arteta, and that he learned a lot from their time working together, while stating that he plans to learn to cool and become a “good 90kg grandfather” when he eventually retires in “a few years”.
The Manchester City spoke reflectively on many aspects of his career and management in general in an illuminating interview for BT Sport podcast Mike Calvin’s Football People. Guardiola said he plans another sabbatical when he eventually leaves City, like that in New York in 2012-13 but in a different country and just with his wife, but that he wants to move back to his home of Barcelona.
Asked first about Arteta’s own complimentary words on the same podcast from his time with Guardiola, the 52-year-old said the feeling was more mutual. The Catalan also stressed that no one who worked with Arteta at City ever doubted that he would be success, despite his initial “tough” spell at Arsenal.
“I’m so satisfied about his success,” Guardiola said. “Because still he doesn’t know how much me, I learn, being alongside to him in this two years, two and a half when we were together, so the important thing is that everybody I would say that we work with him… when he start in Arsenal there was a tough period, because the results didn’t come, anyone of us had no doubts if Arsenal could rely on him at the end could take like right now this season and we are going to see in the future.”
Arsenal are currently top of the league and eight points clear of City, with the two to play at the Emirates on 15 February.
At 52 years of age, Guardiola has meanwhile already passed the age he initially thought about retiring, but said that life landmark won’t be coming for some time yet. He did speak expansively about plans that he has given considerable thought to.
“I will go back home, I think in Barcelona, but like in that moment I think will be a few years. My kids will be already independent, with my wife, maybe we do another sabbatical year in another place, not in New York but in another place, but alone, with her and myself.
“But I will be back to Barcelona, I miss 25 degrees, 11 months, I miss the food, the sea, the smell of the sea, open the curtains in the morning and you see that light in your eyes, a lot of friends I miss, come back to the stadium from Barcelona to sitting there and watching the games, the club of my heart and enjoy the football there, and do many, many things that still right now I’m not able to do, like learn to cook for example, and travel to places I’ve not been, play golf every single day, eat as much as possible to become a good 90kg grandfather, these kind of things I will do.”
::Listen to the Pep Guardiola interview in full in the latest edition of BT Sport podcast, ‘Michael Calvin’s Football People’ - out tomorrow across major podcast platforms. Every Thursday, award-winning journalist and author Michael Calvin interviews ex-players, managers, owners, referees and more, providing unique insights into the game: btsport.com/pods