Barcelona wanted to sell Pep Guardiola as they considered him to be a ‘lanky beanpole who couldn’t defend’, according to Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.
The Manchester City manager joined Barca’s La Masia academy at the age of 13 and ended up spending 11 seasons in the first team, making over 250 senior appearances.
The 45-year-old won six La Liga titles with Barcelona as a player before he returned as manager to guide the club through one of the greatest periods in their history.
‘As a player at Barcelona they wanted to get rid of Pep because they thought he was a lanky great beanpole who couldn’t defend, who had no strength and couldn’t do anything in the air,’ said Cruyff.
‘So he was blamed for all the things he wasn’t good at, while I thought they were all things he could learn to do well.
‘What all those people didn’t see was that Guardiola had the fundamental qualities needed for the top level: speed of action, technique, insight.
‘Those are phenomena that very few people exhibit, but in his case they were present in spades.’