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Guardiola lusts for football's ultimate dream team

01 February 2016, 18:42

Munich - Pep Guardiola is a perfectionist who has won more major trophies than virtually any other coach in Europe.

He starred in one dream team and now lusts to control another.

The Spaniard's remarks about overweight Bayern players and reports that he has clamped down on their movements on days off should be a warning to Manchester City's stars about what to expect from next season.

The 45-year-old Guardiola makes no secret of his desire for success and his record backs him up.

His four-year reign at Barcelona is known as the club's golden age after he transformed a misfunctioning side into what is widely regarded as the best team ever to play the game.

Even then, Guardiola was linked to English sides like Manchester United.

Yet in January 2013 Guardiola signed a three-year deal, worth a reported 22 million euros ($24m), to start coaching Bayern from the 2013-2014 season.

Bayern already dominanated the Bundesliga having won the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble in 2013. They soon became almost unbeatable at home.

This season Bayern have lost only one Bundesliga game and are already eight points ahead of Borussia Dortmund in second.

In the last two years they have swept five trophies, but the most-desired Champions League has so far eluded Guardiola's reign.

The team is so successful that ex-Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann said it would be better for the Bundesliga if Guardiola goes, as it would make the league "more exciting".

And a mole in the Bayern camp caused a media frenzy last week after telling Kicker magazine that players were happy that the coach had asked for more professionalism because some players were overweight.

Guardiola already insists Bayern stars remain in Munich on their days off to save their energy for his bid to take the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

"A few players were carrying a few extra kilos and that is why I said we need to be more professional," Guardiola said as he rejected reports of dressing room unrest.

"You can't win titles when the players aren't professional."

The Guardiola perfectionism also showed after his team routed Arsenal 5-1 last year and complained that 66 percent possession was not good enough.

"What I want, my desire, is to have 100 percent possession," said the coach.

Guardiola was born in Santpedor, an hour's drive from the Catalan capital, and he was nurtured through the Barca youth team, serving as a ball boy before legendary Dutch coach Johan Cruyff spotted his potential.

"Cruyff built the cathedral. We only maintained it," Guardiola once said of the man he described as his most important coaching influence.

Guardiola became part of Cruyff's dream team at Barcelona, which also comprised Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov and Ronald Koeman, making his name two decades ago as a tenacious midfielder known for his tough-tackling and astute reading of the game.

Guardiola eventually went on to build Barca's second dream team that included Argentinian prodigy Lionel Messi.

He infused the team with a fluid passing and pressing game that tormented opponents. In the first year alone, they won six trophies, beating Manchester United 2-0 to win the Champions League.

After another Champions League in 2011 and two more La Liga crowns, Barca's reign in Spain under Guardiola was finally ended when Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid won La Liga in 2012.

An exhausted Guardiola, who had become worn down by the political machinations at the club, promptly resigned, saying there wasn't any more he could do.

"We were playing brilliantly but I was on my knees and had no new tactical ideas left. That was why I left," he said.

Although capped 47 times for Spain, Guardiola, who is openly secessionist, has always said his heart is with the Catalan team -- an unofficial squad that plays friendly matches.

"If a Catalan state had existed, I would have played for Catalonia, because I was born in Santpedor", he said.

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