Saturday, February 25, 2012

Josep Guardiola

Josep "Pep" Guardiola i Sala (born 18 January 1971) is a Spanish football manager and former player. Guardiola played as a defensive midfielder and spent the majority of his playing career with FC Barcelona, whom he currently manages. He was part of Johan Cruyff's dream team that won Barcelona's first European Cup. Guardiola also played for Brescia Calcio and A.S. Roma in Italy; Al-Ahli in Qatar; and for Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico while attending managing school. While playing in Italy, he served a four-month ban for a positive drug test although he was cleared of wrongdoing twice on appeal in 2009 before the Courts of Justice of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and the Federal Anti-Doping Courts of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). As an international, he played for Spain and friendly matches with Catalonia.

After retiring as a player, Guardiola became coach of FC Barcelona B. On 8 May 2008, Barcelona president Joan Laporta announced that Guardiola would succeed Frank Rijkaard as the first team manager. He signed his contract on 5 June 2008. In his first season as manager, Barcelona won the treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. In doing so, Guardiola became the youngest UEFA Champions League winning manager ever. The following season, Guardiola and Barcelona won the Supercopa de España against Athletic Club Bilbao, the UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk, and the FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes, bringing the manager's tally to the maximum of six trophies in six competitions in one year, thus completing the first ever sextuple.

On 8 September 2011, Guardiola was awarded the Catalan Parliament parliament's Gold Medal, its highest honour.

On January 9, 2012 Guardiola received the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award.

Personal Life
Pep Guardiola was born in Santpedor, to Dolors and Valentí. He has two older sisters, Francesca and Olga, and younger brother, Pere who is an agent for Liverpool striker Luis Suárez. Guardiola has a wife, Cristina Serra, whom he met the first time in a clothing store when he was 18. The couple have three children: Maria (born 28 December 2003), Màrius (born 2001) and Valentina (born 5 May 2008).

He is a close friend of water polo great Manuel Estiarte, whom he has known since 1992. His close friends also include Raúl, Luis Enrique, Tito Vilanova, Juan Manuel Lillo, and Johan Cruyff.

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