Should Sergio Aguero fear for his Manchester City future under Pep Guardiola? The Spaniard’s hit-list of big names suggests the Argentine certainly shouldn’t think of himself as invincible at the Etihad Stadium.
City’s top scorer of the last five seasons found himself a surprise substitute for the trip to Barcelona in midweek, and Guardiola wasn’t exactly apologetic for the decision when he spoke about it after the game.
Not one to succumb to to such primitive ideas as playing with a recognised striker, let alone one with 304 career goals under his belt, Guardiola will feel under no pressure to listen to outsiders and restore Aguero to his starting XI. To be fair, when you’ve won 21 trophies in seven seasons, as he has been quick to remind people, you might feel justified in sticking to your guns a bit.
Besides, Pep has previous in this regard and it worked out alright. Check out these big names he ditched at the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich…
A Barcelona legend and genuinely one of the most entertaining talents of all time, Ronaldinho was quick to be shown the door when Guardiola took over as Barca boss in 2008.
A big call by a man who was then a total novice at this level, and it proved to be the right one as a more focused and disciplined squad went on to win the treble in Pep’s first year.
Ronaldinho’s party lifestyle was seen as a big factor in Barcelona’s downfall since the 2005/06 season, and in fairness he never really showed anything like that form again. Good work by Guardiola on this occasion.
Initially not fancied by Guardiola – who clearly has an agenda against strikers for, you know, the crime of not all being Andres Iniesta-style midfielders – tried to sell Samuel Eto’o in his first pre-season in charge at the Nou Camp, though it didn’t work out.
The prolific Cameroon striker then hit 36 goals in all competitions to help the Catalan giants to the treble, including the opening goal against Manchester United in the Champions League final.
That wasn’t enough for Guardiola, though, who shipped him off to Inter Milan that summer. Doesn’t exactly bode well for Aguero…
Eto’o’s replacement at Barcelona also didn’t last long after a fall-out with Guardiola. The Swede spent just one season in La Liga before returning to Italy with AC Milan, and he’s been one of Guardiola’s most vocal critics since then.
Not ideally suited to Barca’s football under Pep, Ibrahimovic has gone on to show that he’s a player whose talents perhaps justify altering your tactics around. That’s not for Pep, though.
‘When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari. If you drive a Ferrari, you put premium petrol in the tank, you hit the motorway and you step on the gas. Guardiola filled up with diesel and took a spin in the countryside. He should have bought a Fiat.’
‘Jose Mourinho is Guardiola’s opposite. If Mourinho brightens up the room, Guardiola pulls down the curtains and I guessed that Guardiola now tried to measure himself with him (Mourinho).’
‘As a coach, he was fantastic. As a person, I’ve no comments about that, that’s something else. He’s not a man, there’s nothing more to say.’
Unquestionably one of the best all-round midfielders in the world for much of the last decade, but Yaya Toure is another big name who just hasn’t ever managed to win over Guardiola.
Toure’s crimes, presumably, are being bigger, stronger, faster and more of a goalscorer than Andres Iniesta, because that means he’s not Andres Iniesta.
First offloaded after two seasons as a jack-of-all-trades at Barcelona, Toure was also immediately banished from Pep’s first-team upon his arrival at City this summer.
A legendary figure at Bayern Munich and in German football in general, but Bastian Schweinsteiger also bore the brunt of Guardiola’s axe at the Allianz Arena.
In fairness, he held on for longer than some others have managed, but it quickly became quite clear that the midfielder was not going to be as much of a regular in Guardiola’s Bayern sides.
After two seasons, he was gone, and now the poor guy is suffering after being frozen out by Guardiola’s nemesis Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
If he can’t win over either side of the football spectrum then he might as well retire now, TBH.
Not a good enough goalkeeping playmaker for Guardiola’s liking, Joe Hart’s distinguished career at Manchester City counted for nothing as he was shipped off to Serie A outfit Torino at the end of the summer transfer window.
The England international may have won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and the FA Cup in his 348 appearances for City, but if he’s not Claudio Bravo, then he’s only going to drag Pep’s City down.